Former German first lady rumored to sue Google for defamation

Sep 10, 2012
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Former German first lady rumored to sue Google for defamation

Former German first lady Bettina Wulff isn't happy with Google. She is the wife of former German President Christian Wulff. Apparently, during her husband's term in office, there were persistent rumors that she worked for an escort service before marrying her husband.

If you begin typing her name into the Google search engine, auto complete does this behind-the-scenes magic and links her name up with some popular searches. The autocomplete terms angering Wulff read "bettina wulff escort" and "bettina wulff prostituierte." Wulff wants Google to stop linking her name to those searches.

A German publication called Süddeutschen Zeitung has reported that she is going to file suit against Google for defamation that she claims has destroyed a reputation. The problem for Wulff is that Google isn't the one leaking her name to prostitution. The algorithm in place for autocomplete simply suggests some of the most common searches made using her name.

That doesn't mean she can't win in court though, Google has lost suits relating to autocomplete in the past. Google settled with multiple French groups that sued over a violation of antidiscrimination laws in France when autocomplete started suggesting the term "juif" with the names of certain celebrities and other media figures. A Japanese court ordered Google to delete auto complete terms that linked a man with crimes he claims to have had no part in. Wulff may have a case after all considering there is a precedent in this matter in other countries.

[via TechCrunch]


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