Ital­ian ap­peals court clears Google ex­ecs

Austin American-Statesman - - BUSINESS -

PARIS — An ap­peals court in Mi­lan on Fri­day over­turned the con­vic­tion of three Google ex­ec­u­tives on charges of vi­o­lat­ing Ital­ian pri­vacy laws. The com­pany hailed the de­ci­sion as a vic­tory for In­ter­net free­dom.

The rul­ing, by a panel of three judges, nul­li­fied a 2010 de­ci­sion in which the ex­ec­u­tives were found guilty and sen­tenced to six-month sus­pended sen­tences by a lower court judge who said they had been too slow to re­move a video from a Google-owned web­site in which teenagers bul­lied an autis­tic boy.

The orig­i­nal ver­dict raised alarms about threats to In­ter­net free­dom in Italy. Google and many other In­ter­net com­pa­nies have main­tained that they can­not, and should not, be re­quired to re­view the con­tent of user­gen­er­ated ma­te­rial be­fore it is posted on their sites. NEW YORK — In­vestors sent Washington a re­minder Fri­day that Wall Street is a power player in talks to avoid the “fis­cal cliff.”

Stocks fell sharply af­ter House Repub­li­cans called off a vote on tax rates and left fed­eral bud­get talks in dis­ar­ray 10 days be­fore sweep­ing tax in­creases and government spend­ing cuts take ef­fect.

The Dow Jones in­dus­trial av­er­age lost 120 points to close at 13,190, a de­cline of 0.9 per­cent. Other in­dexes posted com­pa­ra­ble losses. The Stan­dard & Poor’s 500 in­dex fell 13 points to 1,430. The Nas­daq com­pos­ite in­dex de­clined 29 points to 3,021.

The House bill would have raised taxes on Amer­i­cans mak­ing at least $1 mil­lion per year and locked in decade-old tax cuts for Amer­i­cans mak­ing less. Taxes will rise for al­most all Amer­i­cans on Jan. 1 un­less Congress acts.

House Speaker John Boehner had pre­sented what he called “Plan B” while he

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