Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Google Liable for AutoComplete Defamation

More legal news from Italy. An undisclosed plaintiff sued Google for defamation.

People searching via Google ... were apparently presented with autocomplete suggestions including truffatore ("con man") and truffa ("fraud")....

This "caused a lot of trouble to the client, who has a public image both as an entrepreneur and provider of educational services in the field of personal finance".

Google loses autocomplete defamation case in Italy

Since the auto-complete algorithm was created and maintained by Google the court ruled that Google is to be held responsible for the outcomes.

So what is the result of this? Google must make certain that no words like "loser, fool, fraud, dummy" comes up in their auto-complete? Does Google simply remove auto-complete entirely so as not to invite further lawsuits? I never was a big fan of Google's autocomplete but all this will accomplish is to prevent new products from entering the workplace.

This is another horrible court coming from the EU. I fear with the new privacy ruling, going into effect on May 25, whereby websites must get "explicit consent" from web users before being tracked with a cookie that the EU is destroying innovation and intent on "controlling" the internet. As regards the EU privacy law I'm still not certain if this law applies only to client-side cookies or applies to server-side and session variables as well.

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