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Google has lost a case in Italy over the defamatory nature of autocomplete suggestions, according to a lawyer for the complainant.
On Tuesday, lead counsel Carlo Piana wrote on his blog that the Court of Milan has upheld its earlier decision to order Google to filter out libellous search suggestions. These are the suggestions that pop up in Google's search input bar, proposing what the user might be wanting to search for.
People searching via Google for Piana's client, who remains publicly unnamed, were apparently presented with autocomplete suggestions including truffatore ("con man") and truffa ("fraud").
filtering out prawn and filtering out terms that could be deemed defamation are hardly akin to each other and because you can do one doesn't mean you can do the other.
The only reason I did was I was pointing out that suggested search is not an assertion, it is a question in short hand form posed to a user... and someone replied that the person didn't understand how Google works so they were correct in thinking that it was an assertion.
This case was argued in court. Google lost after presenting their case and I'm sure they had great lawyers.
And the leap from auto-complete to search results in general is not large. I would guess that any search for the criminal in question's name is going to be populated almost entirely with results relating to his crimes.
There's very little difference. Both are auto-generated results based on 3rd party input. Both suggest that he's a criminal.
[edited by: oodlum at 3:11 am (utc) on Apr 7, 2011]
number 7 "is google a corporation"
number 8 "is google a company"
number 9 "is google a credible website"
Wow. How could Google filter out every possibly defamatory suggestion? And who decides what is defamatory?
"We believe that Google should not be held liable for terms that appear in autocomplete as these are predicted by computer algorithms based on searches from previous users, not by Google itself," the company said. "We are currently reviewing our options."