Feeds

Oi, Google! Stop LIBELLING us Germans, fix your autocomplete

Wie möchten Sie es, Herr Adman?

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Google has been ordered by a German court to block defamatory words appearing in its search engine's autocomplete function.

The Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe ruled that the advertising giant must remove libellous material from its algorithms that automatically attempt to guess what one is searching for - but only once the internet goliath receives complaints about the defamatory words from netizens in Germany.

As an example, when searching the web on Google.de for "Henrick II von Moneybags", the website's software may automatically appended the words "is a crook" to the search terms if enough people have branded the fictitious entrepreneur a swindler - and it's this algorithm-driven libel that has landed Google in hot water.

An unnamed person who founded an online nutritional supplement and cosmetics company is listed as one of the plaintiffs in the case against the cloud service behemoth. Two of Germany's lower courts had successfully decided in Google's favour, but they have been overruled by the higher federal beaks.

According to yesterday's ruling the cosmetics biz founder complained that his privacy rights had been breached, after www.google.de's autocomplete included "Scientology" and "fraud" as suggested search terms under the man's name. He claims to have no association whatsoever with either subject matter.

The case has now been sent back to the lower court where the ruling has to be changed. Google said it was disappointed by the decision.

"We believe that Google should not be held liable for terms that appear in Autocomplete as these are predicted by computer algorithms based on searches from previous users, not by Google itself," the company said.

The ruling (in German) can be viewed here. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Kingston DataTraveler MicroDuo: Turn your phone into a 72GB beast
USB-usiness in the front, micro-USB party in the back
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
BOFH: Oh DO tell us what you think. *CLICK*
$%%&amp Oh dear, we've been cut *CLICK* Well hello *CLICK* You're breaking up...
AMD's 'Seattle' 64-bit ARM server chips now sampling, set to launch in late 2014
But they won't appear in SeaMicro Fabric Compute Systems anytime soon
Amazon reveals its Google-killing 'R3' server instances
A mega-memory instance that never forgets
Cisco reps flog Whiptail's Invicta arrays against EMC and Pure
Storage reseller report reveals who's selling what
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.