We all start searches at Google and get the autocomplete function going into full effect, giving us suggestions as we type each letter. Apparently one Hong Kong tycoon did not like the results the autocomplete suggested when it came to him. He wants to sue Google for defamation and a Hong Kong court has ruled he can go right ahead and do just that.
The South China Morning Post wrote:
A Hong Kong court has ruled that a local entertainment tycoon can go ahead with his defamation lawsuit against Google, a decision that could have far-reaching consequences for the future of the global technology giant’s search engine.
Albert Yeung Sau-sing, the founder of a company which manages some of Hong Kong’s most famous celebrities, wants to sue Google because the “autocomplete” function of its search engine links him to the city’s notorious triad gangs.
When users type “Albert Yeung Sau-sing” in English or Chinese into the search engine, Google automatically suggests related search terms such as “triad”, “Sun Yee On” and “14K” – the names of triad gangs.
Yeung wants a court to order Google to remove the “defamatory” suggestions and to pay him compensation.
But Google’s lawyer, Gerard McCoy SC, warned that “the entire basis of the internet will be compromised” if search engines were required to “audit” what could be accessed by internet users, a task he said was an “infinite duty” and “should not be foisted on Google”.
He said Google adopted “an algorithmic based approach that requires no human input, operation and/or manipulation in the search processes for the results to appear”.
Google was “a mere passive facilitator within a legal safe harbour”, McCoy argued.
Read the full article here