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Germany's Former First Lady Sues Google for 'Prostitute' Algorithm: Whose Side Are You On?

AdriHead 2012/09/12 22:21:28
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Bettina Wulff, Germany's former first lady, is not a prostitute -- and she want you to know it. The wife of former German President Christian Wulff is suing Google over its autocomplete function while searching, which shows the words "prostitute" and "escort" after Wulff's name is typed out.

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The former German first lady says she's never been a prostitute but that rumors circulated about her allegedly racy past around 2006, most likely to harm her husband's political career. Wulff may not be a prostitute, but do you think the lawsuit is fair? Or is Google being sued for all the wrong reasons?

NYDAILYNEWS.COM reports:
Germany’s former first lady is not happy with her Google results. Bettina Wulff, 38, is suing the search giant over their autocomplete function, which she argues perpetuates rumors that she was once a prostitute.
38 suing search giant autocomplete function argues perpetuates rumors prostitute

Read More: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/bettina-wulf...

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Top Opinion

  • Mog of War 2012/09/12 22:29:44
    Team Google!
    Mog of War
    +12
    Google's autocomplete feature is base on popular searches. Deal with it. Google could probably filter this from their autocomplete, and likely will, so this lawsuit is pointless.

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  • Dawn Nuke 2012/09/16 16:31:11
    Dawn
    I guess. You're right it seems like a lot of trouble to change it though.
  • ZenerSix overlor... 2012/09/13 04:33:47 (edited)
    ZenerSix
    +4
    I don't want my search queries moderated.
  • overlor... ZenerSix 2012/09/13 05:14:54
    overlord rai
    +1
    i don't either, it's just, i'm stating that these people have a case.
  • ZenerSix overlor... 2012/09/13 05:23:21 (edited)
    ZenerSix
    +4
    They don't have a case. Suing Google only validates the stigma of intolerance. What she should be doing instead is challenging the hate by using her political influence to promote appreciation for sex workers.
  • Albert ... overlor... 2012/09/13 05:19:13
    Albert Rogers
    +1
    The slander -- or isn't it libel?? -- is the work of presumably certain Google users, or of the writers of the articles being searched for.
  • Profess... overlor... 2012/09/13 13:45:20
    Professor Wizard
    +1
    No.. it is censorship.... would you want someone erasing the words YOU type?
  • overlor... Profess... 2012/09/14 02:03:04
    overlord rai
    i never said i did, but i'm saying they have a case. shesh.
  • Albert ... overlor... 2012/09/13 05:22:34
    Albert Rogers
    +1
    Suppose the DNC got ten thousand people to query "Mitt Romney communist agent" or Mitt Romney fascist" or "Mitt Romney's five wives", would Romney be entitled to sue Google?
  • johnnyg Albert ... 2012/09/13 19:18:22
    johnnyg
    +1
    Search it a couple hundred time and find out!!
  • overlor... Albert ... 2012/09/14 02:03:30
    overlord rai
    lol sure, he's allowed. it's slander, only if it isn't true.
  • Skye 2012/09/13 03:00:20
    Team Google!
    Skye
    +7
    I just now looked up to bother her...
  • Invader... Skye 2012/09/13 04:22:11
    Invader_Xion
    +2
    I applaud you Skye, that's an extra level of spite most won't go to. Invisible high five! invisible high five
  • Jon Bergen Skye 2012/09/13 20:51:37
    Jon Bergen
    +1
    Invader may be slamming you for googling her, but I'm not.

    She pops up in conjunction with searches of prostitutes, escorts, and patron of German sex clubs. I don't know German law, but from a simple 'common sense' viewpoint her lawsuit is frivolous. As another poster here pointed out, she is responsible for generating a 'Streisand Effect,' where very few of us would be aware of any of these rumors had she not stirred up the pot so well and called worldwide attention to them.

    Any searching of her name, which also searches prostitution and sex, is not spite at this point. It is a direct result of her own tantrum and mean-spirited (code for a less polite word) folly.

    I just googled all that. Several times.

    spite direct result tantrum mean-spirited code polite folly googled times
  • DavidK 2012/09/13 02:44:15
    Team Google!
    DavidK
    +4
    She doesn't want people knowing about her past........ oh well, we all know now!
  • nicstr2... DavidK 2012/09/13 16:29:10
    nicstr28@gmail.com
    Your mom came up when I Google'd it too. No worries.
  • DavidK nicstr2... 2012/09/14 14:06:02
    DavidK
    yea, so did yours and your grandma and sisters of yours! No worries.
  • Elementer 2012/09/13 02:28:39
    Team Google!
    Elementer
    +3
    It's based on popular searches, so if anyone blame the Internet, not Google.
  • Darr247 2012/09/13 02:20:05 (edited)
    Team Google!
    Darr247
    +4
    Wow... if she hadn't made a big deal out of it, I would never have known that, because I have autocomplete turned off in Search settings so that I can have it show 50 results per page. Maybe it's the herpes sores on her lips that make people think that?



    Google "Santorum" and see what it says... the 'spreading' page used to be the top result.
  • johnnyg Darr247 2012/09/13 19:21:28
    johnnyg
    +1
    It was #3 when I searched it LOL
  • abubincrazy 2012/09/13 02:05:58
    Team Bettina Wulff!
    abubincrazy
    +2
    It sounds like libel to me.
    Google should be bigger than that, and give the woman more respect.
  • Nuke abubinc... 2012/09/13 04:21:33
    Nuke
    +2
    Do you know how an Algorithm works? or how Google works for that matter? it's not libel because they didn't write it...
  • abubinc... Nuke 2012/09/13 04:33:12
    abubincrazy
    +2
    al gore JR WHO?
    Yew is SOOO smart.
    I am skeptical of your line of defense.
    Them Googles is so smart, they can excrement us an algorithmic panacea.
    If YOUR name perpetually came up in conjunction with pedophilia, you might be more understanding.
  • Nuke abubinc... 2012/09/13 04:42:29
    Nuke
    +2
    well I would realize that Google can't control what people are typing and note that it's a computer program to blame, not Google itself.
  • abubinc... Nuke 2012/09/14 01:56:40
    abubincrazy
    It's their program.
  • Nuke abubinc... 2012/09/14 02:48:15
    Nuke
    But they're not controlling it... It's a computer Ai which means it gathers words and phrases put in by people and then puts it up to make searching easier for other people who use Google, they have no control over what people are searching for and even IF they erased it more people would just start searching again and it'll happen all over again.
    It's on the people searching, not Google...
  • abubinc... Nuke 2012/09/14 02:59:35
    abubincrazy
    I use Google every day. I know how it works.
    Google has a quandary, I'll admit.
    I also am not up on German law, so libel may be quite different there.
    I repeat, what would you do if your name was coupled with scat-eating pedophile, ebola-carrier cannibal on Google every time?
  • Nuke abubinc... 2012/09/16 03:00:22
    Nuke
    I TOLD you what I would do... :| Maybe you aren't reading my posts or you're illiterate...

    "I would realize that Google can't control what people are typing and note that it's a computer program to blame, not Google itself."
    I would ignore it and get on with my life.
  • abubinc... Nuke 2012/09/17 01:09:56
    abubincrazy
    Oh. What would you do if google posted a map to and picture of your house for all the world to see? Oh....
    What would you do if you had a heinous wad of bubblegum tangled up in your dreads?
  • Nuke abubinc... 2012/09/17 03:29:13
    Nuke
    +1
    I'm lucky, I don't have that problem because I just shave my head. lol
  • Profess... abubinc... 2012/09/13 13:47:55
    Professor Wizard
    +2
    So, you are suggesting that Google should enact censorship.

    Perhaps you should be censored too, for bad tag lines like "Yew is SOOO smart."
  • abubinc... Profess... 2012/09/14 01:55:51
    abubincrazy
    Censorship? Not this guy.
    I do not profess to know the solution to this issue.
    But YEW AIN'T nearly as smart as you believe yourself to be.
  • Charles R. Anderson 2012/09/13 01:46:29
    Team Bettina Wulff!
    Charles R. Anderson
    +3
    I think Google should make a correction so that this false rumor is not perpetuated. Of course, users should still be able to look into it, but they should have to make the request themselves rather than have it be suggested.
  • Profess... Charles... 2012/09/13 13:49:48
    Professor Wizard
    +1
    So.. you want Google to Censor what comes up.

    Hitler liked to Censor what people saw too.... that worked out really well for a few million people!

    No... Google should NEVER Censor anything. If the lady didn't want a shady past to be a problem today, she should have thought of that when she was being shady.
  • TheR 2012/09/13 01:30:47
    Team Bettina Wulff!
    TheR
    +1
    Google can not support Libel Slander, and break the law in concern to other people it affects.
  • Profess... TheR 2012/09/13 13:51:34
    Professor Wizard
    +1
    It is neither Libel or Slander... google didn't write it... google simply repeated past searches.. so it is PEOPLE.. Like YOU, who had already searched that were then Libel or Slanderous just by searching.

    So... therefore... YOU should be held liable for the stuff that YOU search for, because the stuff you type into the search is indexed and others may see.
  • nicstr2... Profess... 2012/09/13 16:33:10
    nicstr28@gmail.com
    Well that's strange...they can take down and disable PLENTY that the president doest like.
  • TheR Profess... 2012/09/13 23:42:04
    TheR
    No, I did not write it. When I search for someone and that comes up, it promotes libel slander. Google can not escape the fact it promotes libel and slander of individuals.
  • ikeknight 2012/09/13 01:27:43
    Team Google!
    ikeknight
    +6
    Google is not saying she is a prostitue. It's adding in common searches with her name.
  • redhorse29 2012/09/13 01:03:50
    Team Google!
    redhorse29
    +3
    She should just laugh it off and get over it. No harm was intended and no financial or other impact was experienced. Only her feelings were hurt. More than likely just looking at her will hurt her feelings and she can sue anyone.
  • Classical Liberal 2012/09/13 00:57:02 (edited)
    Team Google!
    Classical Liberal
    +6
    It is unfortunate, but this is proof of at least one of the following two things:
    1) Google's algorithm is damn good to be pulling up searches from six years ago.
    2) She is of little relevance to the internet, such that her rumored racy past is the only thing that the internet finds use of her name for.

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