Google has settled out of court in a case that saw a former Morgan Stanley banker claim the search engine allowed false and malicious materials about him to be spread online.
Daniel Hegglin had seen more than 4,000 websites wrongly and variously describe him as a murderer, paedophile and Ku Klux Klan sympathiser. Google had asked Hegglin to submit links to the relevant pages under its controversial "right to be forgotten" process, but Hegglin argued that as his problem lay with the "circulation of abusive material", it was not appropriate if dealt through that system.
Though the details of the settlement have not been made public, by avoiding the media storm that a court case would have generated Google has managed to dodge defining and publicising its international responsibilities when it comes to the circulation of malicious "trolling" web content.
“The settlement includes significant efforts on Google’s part to remove the abusive material from Google-hosted websites and from its search results,” said Hegglin’s barrister, Hugh Tomlinson QC, according to the Guardian.
“Mr Hegglin will now concentrate his energies on bringing the persons responsible for this campaign of harassment to justice.”
“Google provides search services to millions of people and cannot be responsible for policing internet content," added Anthony White QC, Google's representative.
"It will, however, continue to apply its procedures that have been developed to assist with the removal of content which breaches local applicable laws.” [Guardian]