http://www.wattpad.com/17147965-abney-and-associates-news-story-google-loses?d=ud#.UZXLcaKnpDB Google loses German 'auto-complete' case PETER LLOYD: The German version of internet search engine Google will be forced to filter its auto-complete function after a court ruling in that country. The legal action was taken by an anonymous businessman who argued his reputation was damaged when his name was linked to words such as 'fraud'.
An Australian legal expert says he's experienced the problem first hand and is calling for governments here to act before the courts are forced to.
Rebecca Brice reports.
REBECCA BRICE: What do you do when you Google your name and the word fraud comes up? If you're a businessman, you sue Google. That's what's just happened in Germany and the court sided with the businessman.
The man, whose identity is anonymous, claimed his reputation and that of his company were affected by the search engine's auto-complete function. That's where the search engine suggests possible search terms, in this case 'fraud' and 'scientology' came up.
The federal court of justice in Karlsruhe issued a statement on its judgement.
COURT STATEMENT (voiceover): In not a single search result is a link between the plaintiff and Scientology and/or fraud apparent.
REBECCA BRICE: But the court also ruled Google won't have to pre-empt the problems.
COURT STATEMENT (voiceover): The operator is as a basic principle only responsible when it gets notice of the unlawful violation of personal rights.
REBECCA BRICE: The ruling is expected to have implications for Bettina Wulff, the wife of the former German president who's also suing the internet giant. Her name links to the word 'prostitution' through auto-correct.
Rick Sarre is a professor of law at the Adelaide University. He says he's experienced something similar.
RICK SARRE: It reminds me of when I was running for office three years ago and I had previously acted for a paedophile, and so suddenly my name and paedophile comes up in a search engine. Well that's going to harm me politically, it may even harm me business-wise, it might even harm my prospects in trying to get a job.
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