by Mike Masnick
Fri, Sep 24th 2010 4:00pm
Not again. Earlier this year, we wrote about a couple of lawsuits in France involving companies that wanted to blame Google for the results that pop up via Google Suggest (the feature that simply looks at what you're typing, and suggests the most popular searches based on what you've typed). Tragically, we noted that the courts wanted to find Google liable for these suggestions, and it looks like yet another French court has made that same mistake. This is, quite clearly, blaming Google for what its users are doing. The algorithm for Google Suggest is just taking the aggregate results of what people are actually searching on, and using that to make suggestions. There's no editorial control by Google, and yet this court not only found Google liable for those suggestions, but ordered the removal of all the "offending" query suggestions. In this case, it involved a guy who had been convicted for "corruption of a minor," who got upset "because the plaintiff's name was returned in response to queries on search terms such as rape, satan worshipper, and other things." At some point, you hope that courts and politicians will understand the basics of how technology works, but it seems like we may be waiting a long, long time.
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