Google Works Out Deal Concerning 'Jew' Suggestions In France

from the what-kind-of-deal? dept

Back in May, we wrote about a ridiculous lawsuit in France, where Google was being sued because when people searched on the names of certain famous people, sometimes Google's autocomplete feature would show the name with the word "jew" or "jewish." Of course, if you understand how Google works, you'd know that this is because a lot of people were searching for the names of those individuals along with the keyword jew or jewish. Those individuals doing the searching may or may not have been doing so for anti-semitic reasons, but it seems ridiculous to blame Google because of what its users were searching for. Also, I'm still at a loss as to why appending the suggestion of "jew" to someone's name is anti-semitic (and I say that as someone who is Jewish). The specific issue in France is that it's apparently "illegal to record someone's ethnicity in a database." But, of course, that wasn't what Google was doing either.

Either way, it appears that the lawsuit is being dropped after some sort of "agreement" was reached, though no one seems to want to explain what the agreement entails. The AFP article notes that searches on famous people still do seem to be returning suggestions that include "jew," so it doesn't sound like Google manually changed its results, which is a good thing. Instead, the only thing that's mentioned is that the parties "identified areas of useful cooperation in the fight against racism and anti-Semitism that put an end to the dispute." While the details may matter here, hopefully it just involves providing more information to people in an effort to fight ignorance, rather than trying to hide information. The fact that people are searching for names along with "jew" may be an indicator that those individuals are anti-semitic, but the way to do deal with that is by confronting ignorance, not hiding it.


Reader Comments (rss)

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    Adrian Lopez, Jul 5th, 2012 @ 12:40pm

    "The fact that people are searching for names along with 'jew' may be an indicator that those individuals are anti-semitic, but the way to do deal with that is by confronting ignorance, not hiding it."

    As Christopher Hitchens once said, "every time you silence someone you make yourself a prisoner of your own action because you deny yourself the right to hear something."

     

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    alanbleiweiss (profile), Jul 5th, 2012 @ 12:43pm

    probably some pay-off. All too often governments are silenced when a company agrees to pay someone off or more indirectly, contribute funding to a cause tied to government officials. /tinfoilhatrant

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 5th, 2012 @ 1:05pm

    I, for one, am offended that the autocomplete attempts to add the words "White" or "Brown" while I attempt to Google "Bread". Obviously Google is being racist! =P

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 5th, 2012 @ 1:06pm

    We need to start gaming...

    ...Google results include the term "a-hole" when searching on folks associated with these kind of suits.

     

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    Jesse (profile), Jul 5th, 2012 @ 1:10pm

    This from the country that bans the burqa and takes issue with businesses offering halal (which is basically kosher).

    I take issue with the word anti-Semitic, because it implies that racism of other sorts isn't problematic. Why does anti-Semitism get special treatment over and above other racism? Blacks were enslaved for centuries. First nations were all but wiped off of their respective continents.

     

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      Kenneth Michaels, Jul 5th, 2012 @ 1:34pm

      not a Jew

      I don't think Mike Masnick is actually Jewish because when you type "Mike Masnick" into Google, it does not suggest "Jew". And since Google keeps a database of these things, I tend to believe Google over Mike, the unreliable source that he is (just see his reporting about SOPA and PIPA).

       

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    harbingerofdoom (profile), Jul 5th, 2012 @ 1:30pm

    but if you confront it, deal with it and move on... there is nothing divisive left for faux moral outrage.

    we cant have that going on can we now?

     

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    Eponymous Coward, Jul 5th, 2012 @ 1:47pm

    Isn't assuming that a search on someone being Jewish is anti-semitic in itself anti-semitic for it suggests that there is something inherently deficient in being a Jew?

     

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    llortamai, Jul 5th, 2012 @ 1:51pm

    I knew it!

    Chubby Big-Nose Masnick is Jewish. I knew it. I'm glad he finally came out and admitted it!

     

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      Kent, Jul 9th, 2012 @ 1:59pm

      Re: I knew it!

      You forgot to mention that Mike Masnick is also short, beady eyed, and bears a strong resemblance to a camel. Most Jews have camel faces, close-set beady eyes, long hooked noses and big lips. You're really gorgeous, Mike, and a true member of the Tribe.

       

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    william (profile), Jul 5th, 2012 @ 1:54pm

    I apologize if this offends people, but I always feel that some Jewish people are really... overly sensitive about anti-semitism. It's kind of like how black people are over sensitive on prosecution, or how different ethic people are overly sensitive about discrimination, or how feminists thinks every other male is a chauvinist pig.

    Hmm... actually, now that I went through that sentence, it's not so uncommon after all.

    I still think it's bit, laughable. Not that I disagree with how tragic historical event is, but, aren't there other people who went through tragic events of equal or greater proportion? And I think the reason those are often less known and cared about is because those groups are not as powerful, rich, or brings it up every other occasion. To be honest, I feel that since Jewish people went through such a tragic event, they should have more sympathy for those of similar fate but does not have the means to make it well known or do something about it, and to help them. But I don't ever recall hear the Jewish community did anything for other people, except being very vocal on the occasional anti-semitic events.

    BTW, I always wonder where that word semitic comes from and Wikipedia says it covers "Akkadian, Aramaic, Hebrew, Arabic, Ge'ez, Maltese, Canaanite/Phoenician, Amorite, Eblaite, Ugaritic, Sutean, Moabite, Edomite, Ammonite, Assyrian Neo-Aramaic, Chaldean, Mandaic, Ahlamu and Syriac among others, and those that were spread to the Horn of Africa from the Near East such as Amharic, Tigre and Tigrinya."

    So, wouldn't the current discrimination/profiling of middle east and arabic people, technically, Antisemitism?

    :D

     

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      PRMan, Jul 5th, 2012 @ 4:42pm

      Re:

      "Semitic" comes from descendants of Noah's son Shem.

       

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        PRMan, Jul 5th, 2012 @ 4:45pm

        Re: Re:

        And in case you are wondering, "Jew" comes from Jacob's (/Israel's) son Judah.

        "Hebrew" is unknown, but most likely comes from their Egyptian slavemasters. "Hapiru" was an Egyptian word which basically means "slave" or "servant".

         

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        alanbleiweiss (profile), Jul 5th, 2012 @ 5:38pm

        Re: Re:

        And WTF comes from descendents of the first animals to disembark Noah's ark, who, upon stepping on dry land for the first time in so long, and were thus not yet used to unmoving ground beneath their paws proclaimed "WTF" for the very first time in earths history.

         

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    redrum, Jul 5th, 2012 @ 2:05pm

    Jews are proud of it

    I'm not Jewish, but I come from a very Jewish neighborhood in NJ. I have (or in the case of those I've lost touch with, had) many Jewish friends, girlfriends, acquaintances, bosses, co-workers, teammates, etc, who are Jewish. The thing that they all have in common is they are very proud of their Jewish heritage. Like Mike states, I also don't think it's an insult to call a Jew a Jew. It's what they are.

     

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    Benjy, Jul 5th, 2012 @ 5:09pm

    Really?

    I'm a secular Jew who constantly searches famous people in conjunction with "Jew," it's fascinating to see who belongs to the tribe! Equating that with anti-Semitism is absurd.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 5th, 2012 @ 10:11pm

    I don't get it.

    Is Jew a dirty word now? And even if it is, what business is of the government?

     

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      Anonymous Cowherd, Jul 6th, 2012 @ 2:16am

      Re: I don't get it.

      The people complaining about this do seem to suggest that being associated with the word is somehow negative.

       

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        william (profile), Jul 6th, 2012 @ 9:46am

        Re: Re: I don't get it.

        wouldn't that make them anti-semitic? after all, they are trying to turn a perfectly normal word into something that has negative meaning??

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2012 @ 7:58pm

    'identified areas of useful cooperation'

    Several million areas, I suspect.

     

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