by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
autocomplete, defamation, italy, liability, search


Google Found Liable For Autocomplete Suggestions In Italy

from the oh-come-on dept

Here's yet another ridiculously bad ruling for search engines in Italy. Glyn Moody points us to the news of a blog post by a lawyer involved in the case (against Google) who is happy that his side prevailed and that Google is liable for search autocomplete suggestions. The case involved someone who was upset that doing a Google search on his name popped up "con man" ("truffatore") and "fraud" ("truffa") as autocomplete Google search suggestions. We've seen similar cases elsewhere, and France has (most of the time) also ruled against Google.

Of course, this is ridiculous for a variety of reasons. Google is not "creating" this content. It's accurately suggesting results based on what users are searching. Clearly, people are searching on this particular individual along with the two terms. That's not Google's fault. Yet Google is liable for it?

One interesting footnote: a part of the reason why the court ruled the way it did was because the court noted that Google already edited autocomplete suggestions for issues related to copyright infringement. Funny. That's exactly the issue we warned about when Google made the silly decision (following pressure from the US government) to start blocking certain keywords from autocomplete. The court seems to see this as proof that Google can and should be responsible for the content in that autocomplete box... Once again, it looks like the company would have been better off not meddling.

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