A Milanese court has ruled against Google in a case concerning the libellous potential of its autocomplete function.
According to the lead counsel on the case, the ruling concerns an unnamed public figure, who has a slightly shady history if you’re to believe autocomplete, as merely writing his name into the search engine will helpfully finish your sentence with words such as ‘conman’ or ‘fraud’.
Which is not exactly the image you want to give off if you are someone with a public image both as an “entrepreneur and provider of educational services in the field of personal finance.”
Google’s arguments were mainly based on the fact that it could not be held liable for what comes up as it is merely hosting the information.
However it is was made clear that the search giant is not merely ‘hosting’ the information pertaining to the man in question, but uses software to produce the content itself that effectively leads Google to doubt the person’s moral integrity.
And according to the lead counsel, the software is in fact able to filter out names of site that distribute copyrighted material, so of course it should not be impossible for Google to remove his client’s name from such allegations.
Google will now remove any defamatory suggestion in its autocomplete functions.