Search Engine Liability for Autocomplete Suggestions: Personality, Privacy and the Power of the Algorithm

Int J Law Info Tech (Autumn 2015) 23 (3): 261-289

33 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2016

See all articles by Stavroula Karapapa

Stavroula Karapapa

University of Reading; Centre for Commercial Law and Financial Regulation

Maurizio Borghi

Bournemouth University - Centre for Intellectual Property Policy & Management (CIPPM)

Date Written: 2015

Abstract

This article is concerned with the liability of search engines for algorithmically produced search suggestions, such as through Google’s ‘autocomplete’ function. Liability in this context may arise when automatically generated associations have an offensive or defamatory meaning, or may even induce infringement of intellectual property rights. The increasing number of cases that have been brought before courts all over the world puts forward questions on the conflict of fundamental freedoms of speech and access to information on the one hand, and personality rights of individuals — under a broader right of informational self-determination — on the other. In the light of the recent judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (EU) in Google Spain v AEPD, this article concludes that many requests for removal of suggestions including private individuals’ information will be successful on the basis of EU data protection law, even absent prejudice to the person concerned.

Keywords: ISP Liability; Defamation; Data Protection; Trade Mark Infringement; Intellectual Property; Freedom of Speech; False Light; Right to Be Forgotten

Suggested Citation

Karapapa, Stavroula and Borghi, Maurizio, Search Engine Liability for Autocomplete Suggestions: Personality, Privacy and the Power of the Algorithm (2015). Int J Law Info Tech (Autumn 2015) 23 (3): 261-289. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2862667

Stavroula Karapapa (Contact Author)

University of Reading ( email )

Whiteknights
Reading, Berkshire RG6 6AH
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.reading.ac.uk/law/about/staff/s-karapapa.aspx

Centre for Commercial Law and Financial Regulation ( email )

Whiteknights
Reading, RG6 7BA
United Kingdom

Maurizio Borghi

Bournemouth University - Centre for Intellectual Property Policy & Management (CIPPM) ( email )

89 Holdenhurst Road
Bournemouth
Dorset, BH8 8EB
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.cippm.org.uk

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