Using Google For Evidence
from the interesting... dept
We’ve written about reporters who use Google search result numbers as “evidence” of something, but it seems a bit more serious to realize that judges are doing the same thing. For example, a judge who ordered a mother not to smoke near her daughter cited “a Google search that lists 60,000-plus links for ‘secondhand smoke’ and 30,000-plus links for ‘secondhand smoke children.'” Now, I have nothing against protecting people from second-hand smoke, but the number of results on a Google search doesn’t seem like something that should be relied on as an indicator of facts. Others have noted the lack of Google search results as an indicator of proof as well. The article lists a large number of cases where judges have relied on Google “evidence” to back up their decision, which seems a bit scary – though, perhaps it’s the new “community standard.” Since certain laws rely on “community standards,” perhaps judges are using Google results as an indicator of what the internet community feels.