Woman Fights Google and Wins

January 21, 2016

Google is one of those big corporations that if you have a problem with it, you might as well let it go.  Google is powerful, respected, and has (we suspect) a very good legal department.  There are problems with Google, such as the “right to be forgotten” and Australian citizens have a big bone to pick with the search engine.  Australian News reports that “SA Court Orders Google Pay Dr. Janice Duffy $115,000 Damages For Defamatory Search Results.”

Duffy filed a lawsuit against Google for displaying her name along with false and defamatory content within its search results.  Google claimed no responsibility for the actual content, as it was not the publisher.  The Australian Supreme Court felt differently:

“In October, the court rejected Google’s arguments and found it had defamed Dr Duffy due to the way the company’s patented algorithm operated.  Justice Malcolm Blue found the search results either published, republished or directed users toward comments harmful to her reputation.  On Wednesday, Justice Blue awarded Dr Duffy damages of $100,000 and a $15,000 lump sum to cover interest.”

Duffy was not the only one who was upset with Google.  Other Australians filed their own complaints, including Michael Trkulja with a claim search results linked him to crime and Shane Radbone sued to learn the identities of bloggers who wrote negative comments.

It does not seem that Google should be held accountable, but technically they are not responsible for the content.  However, Google’s algorithms are wired to bring up the most popular and in-depth results.  Should they develop a filter that measures negative and harmful information or is it too subjective?


Whitney Grace, January 21, 2016
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph



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