Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Google Australia The Courts Your Rights Online

'Bankrupt' Australian Surgeon Sues Google For Auto-Complete 305

Posted by Soulskill
from the why-is-google-so dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Australian surgeon Guy Hingston is suing Google in the U.S. for 'auto-complete' defamation. Typing in his name brings up 'Guy Hingston bankrupt' in the auto-complete. The association seems to have come about because Hingston purchased an aviation group CoastJet which went bankrupt two-and-a-half years later. Hingston himself was also bankrupted. Hingston claims this association has cost him customers and is suing Google for $75k, plus court costs. Google has often found itself the target of litigation over auto-complete searches. Are auto-complete results even useful? Should Google be policing the auto-complete suggestions?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

'Bankrupt' Australian Surgeon Sues Google For Auto-Complete

Comments Filter:
  • Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @01:14AM (#42665869)

    Maybe he shouldn't of gone bankrupt.

  • Libel? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @01:16AM (#42665877)

    How can it be libelous if it's true?

  • Re:Libel? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sourcerror (1718066) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @01:18AM (#42665887)

    It can be libel and true at the same time if it invades privacy, but I don't think it applies in this case.

  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@@@lynx...bc...ca> on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @01:22AM (#42665901) Journal
    ... that the defamatory remark be something which cannot be unambiguously proven? If something bad happens to person X, reporting that fact doesn't really put person X in any more of a disparaging light than the fact that the bad thing had actually happened in the first place.
  • Re:Libel? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mjwx (966435) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @01:30AM (#42665967)

    It can be libel and true at the same time if it invades privacy, but I don't think it applies in this case.

    True. But bankruptcy rulings are public info in Australia. The bankruptcy is to protect you from your creditors, you cant do this the ruling is secret.

    So,
    Is Guy Hingston bankrupt = Yes
    Is this public knowledge = Yes
    Will this get thrown out of court = Yes

  • SEO gone wild (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lev13than (581686) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @01:34AM (#42666023) Homepage

    As a surgeon, does he really think it's a good idea to replace the "Guy Hingston bankrupt" autocomplete with "Guy Hingston lawsuit"?

  • Re:Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AK Marc (707885) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @03:09AM (#42666561)

    His personal bankruptcy was annulled.

    How do you annul a bankruptcy? And even if it's annulled, it did happen. He was bankrupt, even if, like the stars, it was only 23 hours between marriage and annulment. If that annulment mattered, then "Guy Hingston" should complete to "Guy Hingston bankruptcy annuled", and that would be perfectly fine.

  • Re:Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 1u3hr (530656) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @03:14AM (#42666587)

    But even if he did go bankrupt from the CoastJet business failing, should that be broadcast to everyone as soon as they even type in his name into Google?

    Yes. Because that's what you'll find prominently in the articles mentioning his name.

    Someone looking for a cancer surgeon is going to google his name and then cross it off without even reading beyond the autocomplete? Bullshit. This just a guy trying to turn the bad press his failing businesses generated into a payday.

    you should be able to fill out a form saying "Google autocomplete is being mean to me

    You should be able to ignore it and get on with your life. Google doesn't create the articles it indexes. It's not Google's responsibility to hide ones you find embarrassing. Quite the opposite. Maybe this doctor wants to borrow money from me and I want to know his business history. If Google hides that, and I loan him money and he stiffs me, should I then sue Googel?

    Should people be able to buy billboard space around the world and declare to the world that you are pedophile?

    So, you use the Chewbacca defence, then?

  • Re:Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by psiclops (1011105) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @06:08AM (#42667315)

    It's completely out of context. He didn't go bankrupt from being sued by patients. He didn't go bankrupt by gambling his money at the casino

    no one is saying he went bankrupt, had a gambling problem, or is a bad doctor. all that is said is that if you're searching for his name, it's likely that you are searching about his bankruptcy issues. which is probably true, that's how google's auto-complete algorithm is meant to work, and i've personally found it to be quite accurate. the context is his name,
    bankruptcy is within that context.

    the guy is being punished needlessly.

    he's not being punished. punishment is a negative reaction to something one does not like. honestly i really doubt most people at google even know who this guy is, let alone crafted this auto-complete to appear when his name was typed in, they don't have some ventedda against people that have gone bankrupt.

    You should be able to fill out a form saying "Google autocomplete is being mean to me" and Google decides whether or not it makes sense to remove said autocomplete. It shouldn't be hard. Simple common sense.

    making such a decision would mean that someone has specifically decided it is relevant. leaving it up to machine is fairer, tweaking the algorithm as such cases come up if required.

    I don't know what the case here is, but if he did try to contact Google then I'm sure they ignored him completely as they are wont to do.

    maybe next time i contact them and state whenever anyone types in the letter 'T' auto-completer should show 'The awesomeness of psiclops' you will complain when they ignore me? sometimes requests don't warrant an answer. if they got one such request a year, sure they should respond, thousands a day, considering his requests is invalid - probably not.

    Anyone who claims this is about freedom of speech are being ridiculous.

    True. being that this isn''t something google is trying to express.

    Should people be able to buy billboard space around the world and declare to the world that you are pedophile? Or something true, a compulsive masturbator?

    difficult question. in short my beliefs are that no they shouldnt be able to and at the same time, noone should be able to stop them from doing so. i realise these are contradictory, that's what happens when you you try and put everything into black and white.

    What makes a Google autocomplete any different?

    maliciouse intent.

  • Re:Well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Yannic (609749) on Wednesday January 23, 2013 @11:57AM (#42669927)

    ...And even if it's annulled, it did happen...

    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Please go away.

Working...