A Paris court found in favor of a local insurance company against Google last month regarding a dispute offer the search engine’s AutoComplete search results.
Apparently, when users typed in the name of the firm, “Lyonnaise de Garantie”, into Google, AutoComplete offered the term “escroc” associated with the term. “Escroc” means “swindler” or “crook”.
Google explained to the court that it did not influence the results of its AutoComplete technology, but rather the suggestions were the result of other users’ searches. That is to say, other people were searching for results about that insurance company being crooked. Google makes no representation as to whether the statement implied is true, accurate, etc. It simply is there because other people put it there.
As reported on Fierce Government IT:
“The French court in its ruling said Google can, or should, exercise “human control over the functionality” adding that absent a delegation of powers, every company head “is personally responsible for the information content that the company, according to his purpose, issues to the public.” The fine amounts to approximately $65,000.”
The notion of a party trying to hold Google responsible for simply impersonally reflecting the state of things on the Internet is not unfamiliar to Americans. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, now a Republican Candidate for President, has tried to do that himself, with no success.
As Josh Wolford reported last week, Rick Santorum has had a “Google problem“. And, as is the nature of things online, when he tried to fight it directly, it only got worse. Finally he approached Google as a corporation and demanded that the offensive search results be removed. Google refused.