Good news if you’re a) still dodging rumors about the massive piles of cocaine you did in college and b) German. Bloomberg News says a German high court has ruled that Google is responsible for anything libelous that might pop up in autocomplete.
“The search additions affect the plaintiff’s privacy rights as they convey the statement that there is a relationship between the plaintiff and the negative words,” the court ruled.
This is going to add, like, 15 minutes of work for Berliners trying to screen cult leaders and shady apartment brokers.
The decision stems from a lawsuit filed by the CEO of a “web-based company selling dietary supplements” who, doing a little self-Googling, discovered that his name often popped up in connection with with “Scientology” and “fraud.” (He’s neither–or so he says.) Adding a little urgency to the case:
“Google’s autocomplete function has come into focus in Germany after the wife of former president Christian Wulff sued Google because the search engine added words to her name that referred to red light district and escort services. Her name is still being autocompleted with the German word for ‘red light.’ Her case is pending at a Hamburg court.”
Somehow this is going to end up benefitting David Hasselhoff, mark my words.