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German Federal Court decides Google auto-complete can violate privacy

The Federal Court of Justice in Germany looks set to have Google amending its auto-complete ability, due to concerns that it may act in violation of people's privacy. This decision marked an overturn of the Cologne Higher Regional Court's ruling.

The origins of this case were with an entrepreneur, whose name was shared with someone involved in Scientology. This led to results including 'Scientology' after his name, as well as 'swindle'. That's not ideal in his situation, but the case evolved into something more due to a political situation.

Bettina Wulff, the wife of former German President Christian Wulff, was the recipient of rumors involving promiscuity and prostitution. These rumors pre-date the addition of auto-complete in 2009 by three years, and they've hounded the presidential family until until Joachim Gauck took over in 2012. Wulff is known to take a tough stance on these rumors, going as far as lawsuits against other parties, but it's interesting to note that a poll from the Bild am Sonntag paper suggests 81% of Germans hadn't a clue about the rumors before her lawsuits.

Initial Google results don't show anything about her:

As you can see, I checked both Google.co.uk and .de, and the results are near enough the same, although user location may also factor into the search results.

Source: Spiegel.de (English), HAZ, FR, KSTA (German)

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