Google hit by legal woes on several fronts

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Google executives convicted in Milan

Three Google executives were handed suspended six month prison sentences by a Milan court on Wednesday for privacy law violations relating to a video posted on Google Video showing the bullying of a handicapped boy. Chief legal officer David Drummond, global privacy counselor Peter Fleischer and former chief financial officer George Reyes were found guilty of violating Italy’s privacy law over the matter but acquitted on a second charge of defamation. The former head of Google Video Europe, Arvind Desikan, was acquitted on the single defamation charge. The executives intend to appeal.

Google investigated by European Comission

The European Commission is in the early stages of an antitrust investigation into Google following the receipt of three complaints, it said Wednesday. While the Commission didn’t identify the complainants, Google named them as U.K. price comparison site Foundem, French legal search engine, and German product search site Ciao, now owned by Microsoft. Google’s top antitrust lawyer Julia Holtz is hopeful the company can convince the Commission not to pursue a case, she said.

Google sued by Xerox for patent infringements

Google is also one of the defendants in a lawsuit filed by Xerox alleging infringement of patents on search and integration technology. The document management company alleges that its patent on automatically generating searches is infringed by Google’s AdWords and AdSense services, and by Yahoo Search Marketing, Yahoo Publisher Network and Y!Q Contextual. Other Google and Yahoo services, including Google Maps and Yahoo Shopping, are alleged to infringe another Xerox patent on integration of different information sources.

Yahoo and Twitter reach content sharing agreement

Yahoo plans to integrate information from another source, Twitter, into Yahoo homepages and email accounts. It also plans to put Twitter feeds on Yahoo Sports and Finance pages as part of a content-sharing agreement with Twitter that will also put the microblogging service in Yahoo’s search results.

Adobe patches updater vulnerability

Adobe has patched a critical vulnerability in the Windows utility used to download the company’s two most popular products, Adobe Reader and Flash Player. It’s the second time in the last six weeks that Adobe has fixed a flaw in Download Manager, the program it installs on PCs when customers download Reader or Flash Player. The bug allows an attacker to download and install unauthorized software onto a user’s system.

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