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Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Citizen Of New Zealand Will Try To Filter Google

A citizen of New Zealand is taking up a case against the search giant to the High Court today. The attorney representing the un-named individual claimed that he wanted to have a defamatory post deleted from an international online service and insisted that it was the responsibility of Google New Zealand.

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According to the local media, the main question now is whether or not Google is a publisher of the post in question and whether innocent dissemination of defamatory content defenses applies. This post appeared on a US “consumer advocacy” site RipoffReport.com back in 2008.

The publishing claimed that an individual referred to in court as “A”, working in the medical profession in New Zealand, had been caught masturbating over pictures of kids. The post mentioned his name, address, profession and contact data. Aside from the word “Kiwi”, the website didn’t reveal any information about the author of the post or ways to contact him. The attorney said that his client had denied the claims made in the publishing.

However, when his client’s name is typed into a search engine like Google, both the link to the post and a snippet from it still appear high up in its search results. Two years ago, when the publishing negatively influenced his job, the individual in question started writing to Google, YahooXtra and RipoffReport.com asking them to delete the defamatory post or block access to it. As a result, both YahooXtra and Google New Zealand did what they were asked for, but the US website claimed it never “took things down”.

However, the post soon again appeared as a search result on Google. The most interesting part, according to associate judge Abbott, was that it became something like a chameleon, but instead of changing its spots, it changed its URL. “A” kept writing to the search engine. Google originally took the result down, but after a while, the search engine started saying that it couldn’t control things anymore.

The attorney argued that “A” had the right to sue the search engine for defamation, because the company knew about the publishing and could remove it, which means that it was a publisher. Meanwhile, he couldn’t sue the company in the United States because of the costs involved, and decided to sue Google New Zealand instead. In response, Google claimed that he had sued the wrong company.

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