Google and Schmidt Convicted of Defamation, in French Court

A French court has convicted Google and CEO Eric Schmidt for defamation. The ruling came as a result of Google's Suggest function, which brought up terms such as "rapist" and "satanist" when people Googled the plaintiff's name.

The man who filed the lawsuit had been previously convicted of “corruption of a minor.” However, the case is under appeal, meaning it's not final. The man discovered the results on entering his name in a Google search. The Suggest function does what it sounds like, suggests additional terms for the searcher.

The ruling was made by the Paris high court on Sept. 8., an aggregator of French legal decisions, has the decision in full. The ruling (translated) said, in part:
supporting the association of these words is a public defamation of an individual, regardless of the content of articles or documents which refer such requests,
Google has vowed to appeal the ruling, and has said in its defense that the Google Suggest algorithm returns results based on the most common terms used in the past with a query entered. Thus, the company said, it was not Google itself that was making the suggestions.

 The court ruled that Google should pay a fine of 5,000 euros to "Mr. X." At the same time, the company is required to take down the defamatory results of the Suggest algorithm; the company will be fined daily until such action had been taken.

In February, an Italian court convicted three Google executives of violating Italy's privacy code, in a case related to video posted in late 2006 on Google Video (not YouTube). The uploaded video showed the bullying of a boy with Down's Syndrome. Those executives received suspended six month sentences.
Via:  Legalis
Tags:  Google, Search, France
realneil 4 years ago

They should just have the baby-raper shot. End of problem in many ways,...............

Dave_HH 4 years ago

Agreed Neil and this is so weak regardless. The irony of Google's search algorithm is that it is likely completely agnostic in this case. The guy's name came up as highly associated with those terms, likely as he was written up by countless other sources. THIS is why his search results looked this way. That's not Google's blame but society's, as they associated to his name. So sue the world too. Good luck with that.

lifeskills 4 years ago

I agree, Dave. This is not Google's fault. I don't see how they will get rid of the defamatory results without removing the suggest algorithm altogether. This case could be repeated a thousand times. Now that someone has cashed in, others are sure to follow

inspector 4 years ago

Wow, ya if the case comes to him winning in the end... say good bye to the suggestion feature and tons of google's money. Why not sue them for giving results related to defamation as well?... that's just a stupid case and how he could of won this first case...

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