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German court tells Google to clean up Auto-Complete

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 15 May 2013 23:43 User comments (8)

German court tells Google to clean up Auto-Complete A German federal court has ordered Google to clean up its Auto Complete service on the Google.DE search engine.
In a decision that baffled Google, the German court has told it that it must ensure terms generated by auto-complete are not offensive or defamatory. The decision overturned prior ruling from two lower German courts.

The case started with a complaint from an unnamed businessman in Germany who claimed auto-complete linked him with "Scientology" and "Fraud."

The court has ordered Google to remove "defamatory word combinations" when told about them.

Google's auto-complete makes search string suggestions based on the frequency of searches by other Google users, and the search giant claims it has very little control over the combination of words that auto-complete might serve up. If a large group of people search a name with a keyword like "fraud" after it, then it's likely other users will see that search as an auto-complete recommendation.

A Google spokesman said the company is disappointed with the decision of the court, and said it was "incomprehensible" that Google could be seen as liable for the search content of its users.

Tags: Google
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8 user comments

116.5.2013 11:11

Was he mad because they called him a Scientologist or a fraud... because the 2 aren't mutually exclusive.

216.5.2013 12:19

People who get offended by what others searched on google are insecure.

This is a lame law suit and it has no real merit and the Judge is probably insecure too.

316.5.2013 12:47

I'm surprised that "Scientology" and "complete & utter nonsense" did not come up at the same time.

Its a lot easier being righteous than right.

DSE VZ300-
Zilog Z80 CPU, 32KB RAM (16K+16K cartridge), video processor 6847, 2KB video RAM, 16 colours (text mode), 5.25" FDD

416.5.2013 14:23

The winner of this weeks "dumbass" tee-shirt goes to the GFC with the following phrase.

"There is no room for sound logic on the internets"

tee-shirts will be mailed shortly

516.5.2013 15:01

This is when no tech savvy governments reps. and technology collide.

Live Free or Die.
The rule above all the rules is: Survive !
Capitalism: Funnel most of the $$$ to the already rich.

616.5.2013 15:07

Come on... obviously the Cult of Scientology is behind this. It has all the hallmarks. Persistent time wasting use of the courts to intimidate for instance.

Its a lot easier being righteous than right.

DSE VZ300-
Zilog Z80 CPU, 32KB RAM (16K+16K cartridge), video processor 6847, 2KB video RAM, 16 colours (text mode), 5.25" FDD

717.5.2013 10:23

Shame on them judges if this absurdity is remotely close to being considered.

Next thing will be to ban certain trending topics con twitter. It's pretty much the same thing, if not much worse, according to their criteria.

"You know, it seems that quotes on the internet are becoming less and less reliable." -Abraham Lincoln.

817.5.2013 11:57

I just think it's funny they think they can force Google to do anything. Google is not based in Germany, it is not responsible for what people search for, and there's little to no money to be made from autocomplete results. So why is Germany doing this?

If I were google I'd put a nazi sign on every page routed to germany, thus anyone using google in germany is breaking their own laws as looking at or even thinking nazi propaganda is illegal. Maybe then they would get the idea of free speech, Hitler would have loved how Germany's legal system turned out.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 17 May 2013 @ 11:58

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