London, Jul 27: Italian prosecutors are preparing to file charges against four Google executives who were seen taunting a teenager with Down's Syndrome in a video which was posted in one of Google's sites in 2006.
The prosecutors have indicated that they will press charges over the video, which shows four youths making fun of a disabled teenager in a classroom in the northern city of Turin. Magistrates who have recently ended a two-year investigation into the incident claim that the airing of the 191-second clip, which showed the youths making fun of the teenager before hitting him over the head with a box of tissues, amounted to a breach of privacy and was defamatory.
A Google spokesman said that the company had co-operated fully with the Italian authorities and that it was "disappointed" with the decision to send Google employees to trial.
"We believe that this proceeding is not about Google Video and what happened, but about the Internet as we know it - an open and free environment," Telegraph quoted the spokesman, as saying.
Google is understood to have removed the clip from the Google Video site within hours of administrators being notified of its existence in September, 2006.
Google has had several run-ins with governments around the world over its video-sharing site, which does not screen content before it is uploaded and relies on its users to point out offensive content.