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Google’s autocomplete search suggestions target of Milan court order

The Court of Milan has rejected an appeal of a January 21/25 order requiring Google to suppress automatic search query completion suggestions associating two defamatory keywords, truffa (scam, swindle ) and truffatore (con man, crook) with a person operating in the financial services sector. While Google performs some preventive censorship based on local social and legal norms, this is at least the second time a European court has ordered the removal of phrases related to con artists & swindlers.

Search for presumed plaintiff in GoogleFigure 1: Based on a search for the plaintiff’s presumed full name & name + “t” (the last name is mentioned in the judgment), Google appears to have complied with the ruling. The plaintiff argued that Google should have applied filters proactively to avoid injuring a person’s constitutionally guarantied rights (which rights isn’t clear – honor isn’t listed in the Italian constitution) and, once notified of the problem, still took no action. Google argued that suggested queries are automatically generated based on prior user queries and thus Google is not responsible for their content. Google also argued that censoring suggestions would open it up to damage claims from those accusing it of suppressing information available on the web.

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