Marie-Andrée – who unlike this blogger can actually speak French and is a lawyer to boot – provides a commentary and explanation of a recent French court ruling that Eric Schmidt was guilty of defamation because of Google Suggest results. She writes, in part:
The Court noted that “algorithms or software solutions proceed from the human mind before being implemented.” The court also doubted the purely automatic character of the search results, as results were not the same on “Google Suggest” and “Recherches Associées” (associated research), which is a list of suggested research made to users, based on their original search terms. Results were not the same on the Yahoo search engine either. Therefore, the Court expressed doubt about the technological neutrality of the results.
The Court also noted that “not all research terms entered by Internet users are taken into account by the Google search engine in order. One of Google’s exhibits in the September 2010 case was a statement by Google that “[it] appl[ies] a limited set of policies regarding removal of pornography, violence and hatred”, which, according to the French Court, “confirms the possibility of at least a retrospectively human intervention capable of preventing the most obvious damage related to the search features at stake.”
Read her full commentary on Online Reputation and the Law.