Legal Eagles and Technology: The Uber Search Dictum

February 24, 2016

I love legal eagles. When there is a new gadget, the legal eagles are among the first to squawk, “Class action suit” when there is a glitch. Legal eagles are also producing entertaining television commercials to complement the Adwords for various high dollar health related problems. Great stuff.

I know that some fledgling legal eagles are not happy with their law schools. Some of these folks whose parents are not partners in a big money law firm or related to certain public office holders are driving Uber cars.

I read “Judge Tells Uber to Do the Impossible: Control Its Google Results.” The article is very entertaining. The main point is that a federal judge ordered Uber to ensure that certain information appeared in a free Web search results list.

But wait. The write up contained a quote which is a keeper:

To slightly tweak a metaphor offered by this Court during the hearing, a preliminary injunction should not serve as a bazooka in the hands of a squirrel, used to extract from a more fear-some animal a bounty which the squirrel would never be able to gather by his own labors — at least not when the larger animal is mostly without sin.

A squirrel with a bazooka. I would have substituted a drone operator in a tree with a laptop and a Predator under control.

squirrel with bazooka_edited

Squirrel in Kentucky watching for legal eagles.

There you go, Google. Help out Uber. Adjust the results list to display exactly what the judge orders; for example:

A result containing [Uber’s] 352-area-code number

Words clearly indicating that the result is associated with [Uber].

What happens if Uber cannot figure out how to conform to the “command” using Adwords, white hat SEO, black hat SEO, or something more innovative?

What happens if Google helps out Uber?

I love this stuff. Come to think of it. Squirrels may be more technically savvy than some legal eagles. I think I hear from the tree, “Gray squirrel, gray squirrel, call in a strike on my command.”

“On your command,” replies the gray squirrel.

Stephen E Arnold, February 24, 2016


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