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Germany's Former First Lady Sues Google

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the search-and-sue dept.

Google 164

quax writes "Bettina Wulff faces an uphill battle for her reputation. Her husband had to resign as Germany's president due to corruption allegations and has many detractors. Apparently some of them started a character assassination campaign against his wife. At least that is, if you trust serious journalists who looked into the matter and stated that it is made up. Unfortunately though for Bettina Wulff, the rumors took off on the Internet. Now whenever you enter her name Google suggest the additional search terms 'prostitute' and 'escort.' Google refuses to alter its search index."

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164 comments

European law takes these things seriously (3, Funny)

Mr. Kinky (2726685) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286639)

Google should rethink their position. They should know that when and/or if they break European libel laws, then they absolutely

Re:European law takes these things seriously (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41286659)

The whole bottle ?

Re:European law takes these things seriously (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41286759)

accidentally

Re:European law takes these things seriously (5, Funny)

schaiba (2708709) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286661)

Google should rethink their position. They should know that when and/or if they break European libel laws, then they absolutely

...will forget to finish their sentence.

Re:European law takes these things seriously (4, Funny)

C0R1D4N (970153) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286665)

If the EU really wants to force the issue, google can just threaten to withdraw from Europe. We will see how well that goes over with the people.

Re:European law takes these things seriously (1)

moronoxyd (1000371) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286719)

If the EU really wants to force the issue, google can just threaten to withdraw from Europe. We will see how well that goes over with the people.

The European market is to big and to important for a company like Google to withdraw from it over such a small thing.

They didn't pull out of Europe after the Streetview fiasco, why should they now?

Plus, this isn't an EU wide thing but only effects Germany.

Re:European law takes these things seriously (-1, Troll)

puto (533470) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286737)

They can do like they do in Argentina, anything negative about Argentina, mainly Hand of God Maradona, Google has removed from local searches, because there is a lawyer in Argentina who keeps them tied up in court. Hmmm, do I see a pattern, Germany not wanting to remember the holocaust, Argentina, large German expat population, doesn't want their dirty laundry in public... Que pesar.

Re:European law takes these things seriously (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286903)

Que pesar

What to weigh?

Re:European law takes these things seriously (4, Informative)

puto (533470) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286991)

Que pesar means, what a shame, or what a burden. Pesar has more uses than weigh.

Re:European law takes these things seriously (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41287241)

Germany not wanting to remember the holocaust,

Are you out of your mind? The only nation on earth where you are more reminded of the Holocaust on every possible occasion is Israel.

You know very little about the real world.

Re:European law takes these things seriously (4, Insightful)

gnasher719 (869701) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287273)

Hmmm, do I see a pattern, Germany not wanting to remember the holocaust,

Excuse me? Where do you get that shit from?

WTF are you talking about? (1)

batistuta (1794636) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287773)

everyone in Argentina is proud about the Hand of God. It showed two things:
- If he wanted, Maradona was able to fool the referee and make fun of the brits, despite them having stolen their island shortly before.
- If he wanted, Maradona could just a few minutes later make one of the best goals in history. Of course the brits don't acknowledge it and just whine about the first one.

I don't wanna mix technology, sports, and politics here. I just wanted to point out that no one in Argentina is ashamed of the hand of god.

Re:WTF are you talking about? (2)

maroberts (15852) | about a year and a half ago | (#41288143)

Actually I think you will find most Brits concede that Maradona's second goal was spectacular.
Unlike the Argentinians, we're generally gracious when defeated fairly... :-P

Re:WTF are you talking about? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41288467)

everyone in Argentina is proud about the Hand of God. It showed two things:
- If he wanted, Maradona was able to fool the referee and make fun of the brits, despite them having stolen their island shortly before.
- If he wanted, Maradona could just a few minutes later make one of the best goals in history. Of course the brits don't acknowledge it and just whine about the first one.

I don't wanna mix technology, sports, and politics here. I just wanted to point out that no one in Argentina is ashamed of the hand of god.

"Stolen their island?" Yeah, right. For varying definitions of the words "stolen" and "their."

Re:European law takes these things seriously (5, Informative)

Tom (822) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287807)

Germany not wanting to remember the holocaust

Please take your pills again, otherwise you'll write more nonsense.

If you grow up in Germany, you will get fed everything about the holocaust until you are sick of it. It will be the topic of (mandatory) history class for at least half a year, usually one year.

There's stuff on TV about the holocaust every week. There's lots of books in the history section of book stores.

The jewish lobby organisations have a massive influence, and if you want to kill a political topic dead, all you need to do is find a convincing way to link it to the holocaust. For example, there's a current discussion regarding the legality of circumcision for religious purposes. We're not talking about something done by a doctor in a hospital under anesthesia, but about the religious ceremony where some priest cuts of a part of your dick as a child without any painkillers. A court recently ruled that strictly speaking, that is assault. There was an uproar within Germany because both muslims and jews do that to their kids. In the media, the jewish position takes headlines, while the muslim position is rarely mentioned. There are about 200,000 jews in Germany, but 3.6 million muslims. Jewish speakers seriously said that this court decision "is the worst thing that happened to judaism in Germany since the holocaust".

Israel is more likely to forget about the holocaust than Germany is.

Re:European law takes these things seriously (1)

C0R1D4N (970153) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286741)

That is why I said threaten to. They would never have to back it up.

Re:European law takes these things seriously (1)

Tom (822) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287679)

Their bluff would be called, and the amount of credibility it costs them would be considerable. Basically, it would be the last time ever they threaten anything and someone believes them.

Re:European law takes these things seriously (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41286733)

Google works extremely well, but I wish there was an alternative that worked as well as google does. People is too much invested in google, and this is not good. Google is too big and old to not be evil any more...

Re:European law takes these things seriously (4, Insightful)

Tom (822) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287643)

*sigh*

It's getting old.

Any CEO who pulled such a stunt would be kicked out and sued into oblivion before the ink is dry. Europe is bigger than the US, you don't pull out of there unless you have a business suicide wish.

Re:European law takes these things seriously (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41287797)

The EU would ask for Google to be extradited - after all corporations are people like In that UFO hacker case.

Re:European law takes these things seriously (1)

prefec2 (875483) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287937)

Google could also shoot themselves in the foot. Beside that, if Google loses the case in Germany then they have to filter for German users. This has no direct implication for the rest of the EU. It is like suing someone in Kansas, that has no direct effect on an US federal level or an (direct) effect on Canada.

Ob a side note: Misses Wulff just tries to promote her new book. So don't worry.

Re:European law takes these things seriously (1)

udachny (2454394) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286677)

Google should rethink their position. They should know that when and/or if they break European libel laws, then they absolutely

- oh, come on, then they absolutely........ go berserk? fall apart? call the escort service and ask for Bettina Wulff services?

What?

Re:European law takes these things seriously (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41286695)

On advice of counsel, I am respectfully declining to finish this post.

Re:European law takes these things seriously (5, Funny)

verbatim (18390) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286713)

If it's libel to say that "when searching for X, people have commonly searched for X+Y" where Y is unkind towards X, then you may want to rethink your notion of libel. If Europeans don't like free speech, then they absolutely

Re:European law takes these things seriously (1)

moronoxyd (1000371) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286765)

If Europeans don't like free speech, then they absolutely

We do like free speech, but we do admit that there are limits. Libel is one of those.

Re:European law takes these things seriously (2)

mypalmike (454265) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287441)

It is not libelous to claim that "When people search for Bettina Wullf, they often search for 'Bettina Wulff prostitute'" if it is factual. That is the only claim google makes as inferred from its search engine. Facts are not libelous, and if you think they are, then you are absolutely

Re:European law takes these things seriously (1)

moronoxyd (1000371) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287823)

I was only replying to the sentence I quoted.
Personally I do think that Google should not change their suggestions.

Re:European law takes these things seriously (1)

etash (1907284) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286761)

these days the internet absolutely a new meme, spin off from an old one.

Re:European law takes these things seriously (4, Informative)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287051)

I don't know if you and she know this but Google isn't hosting the content. They're just showing you that other websites are hosting the content. If she wants to go rage around the internet like a psychobitch, she should target the websites hosting the content. If they're gone, the listings magically disappear from Google too! Wow, amazing! Google makes exactly the opposite of a claim that what they're listing in their search results is guaranteed truthful fact so she should shut up and learn how the internet works.

Pure Marketing... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41287265)

I, being from germany, dont think its a real issue for google. First of all these rumors where around for months. Secondly I dont think a multi-national corporation like google gives a single fuck about a ex-Politicans wife, since google didn't do anything wrong in the first place, it just refuses to "censor" the most common user searches. Even with hybris of a average politican or their entourage she cant be hoping for google to take her seriously. Third, u guys from the states may not be aware of this, but she has just / is about to publish a book about her oh so glamourous years as the "first lady" of germany, which is hyped by the tabloids here all the way through. Its just marketing ...

Re:European law takes these things seriously (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287511)

It appears to me that Google is making a purely factual statement. Most people who searched for X also searched for Y. Is truth not a defense against libel in Germany?

Re:European law takes these things seriously (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287581)

I suspect what will matter is whether its clear that this is what the suggestions mean.

If there's possibility of confusion that Google is in fact claiming these things, there could be a problem perhaps, but clarity about what the suggestions are really should clear it all up on a legal level, or at least I'd hope it would.

Re:European law takes these things seriously (2)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287613)

Clear to who? Is Google responsible for making even the stupidest understand what their algorithms do?

Re:European law takes these things seriously (1)

moronoxyd (1000371) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287861)

Lawyers and judges don't like to be called stupid...

Re:European law takes these things seriously (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | about a year and a half ago | (#41289033)

Sometimes the shoe fits. That said, Google and their lawyers would never say that, they'll have a much more diplomatic way of explaining how the technology works.

We do get too many powerful people that legislate or litigate on technology issues despite not understanding anything about the technology, yet they feel plenty qualified to make such decisions.

Re:European law takes these things seriously (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287691)

I never even heard that the former German president was married before. Now I know his wife is suspected of being a former prostitute. Yep she is achieving her stated goals allright...

Re:European law takes these things seriously (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41288313)

The former German president was married and divorced his first wife and then married Bettina.
The current German president is married but seperated, but not divorced, from his wife and living with his girlfriend.
The foreign affairs minister is openly gay.
The family affairs minister got her first child while in office.

I just tried to imagine this in the US, the heads of conservatives would explode.
BTW Germany currently has a conservative government.

Re:European law takes these things seriously (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41288079)

Hey, Mr. Troll... what is this "European Law" you are speaking of?

You might not have heard but the United States of Europe are still a few decades away (if they come at all). Bettina Wulff is german and as such german law applies (and no, Germany is not a barony of the Kingdom of Europe).

And why should they? (5, Insightful)

Unknown1337 (2697703) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286681)

Google suggest is an interpretive algorithm using common searches, and mass information to 'guess' what you or many other people might be wanting to search for. If the information is out there or people commonly search a topic it SHOULD appear as a possible option. The words probably should be censored for the vast audience possible, but it's the source information that is at fault, not Google for collecting it.

Re:And why should they? (3, Interesting)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286729)

I don't think Google is as hands off as you say. I just typed Mitt Romney in the search box and I got:

"Mitt Romney on issues"
"Mitt Romney vp"
"Mitt Romney tax returns"
"Mitt Romney wiki"

Judging by the commercials on television, I'd expect at Google to at least suggest some non-flattering search terms.

Re:And why should they? (2)

Unknown1337 (2697703) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286755)

Somewhat true, Google has bowed to lawsuits and pressure in the past on their search suggestions, but they only list 4 options, which are supposed to be the most highly requested/available (both historical and taking current trends into consideration). In an attempt to make searching more 'convenient'. In another week or so due to the ads I would expect those sorts of terms to break the top 4.

Re:And why should they? (0)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286891)

I would consider the third option to be unflattering. Remember, it is popularity based, so "Mitt Romney sucks cock in hell" probably won't be there.

Re:And why should they? (1)

Xest (935314) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287631)

You know, I don't know if it is popularity based. Maybe it is, maybe I've missed some obscure global trends, but I always found it amusing to type "Is it wrong". For some time this would end up with suggestions such as:

"Is it wrong to sleep with my mother"
"Is it wrong to sleep with my brother"
"Is it wrong to sleep with my sister"
"Is it wrong to sleep with my dog"

I tried it today and noticed in 4th place:

"Is it wrong to have a centipede in my"

Now, again, as I say, maybe I've missed something, but are these really the most popular search terms? Over what time period? Presumably it's not over all time as someone else's response implies.

Similarly I've seen many suggestions pop up in the past that strike me as being far from likely to be purely popularity based.

Re:And why should they? (1)

asdf7890 (1518587) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287367)

They do at least have a profanity filter which is sometimes a little prudish, which would constrain some of the unflattering suggestions automatically. It Basically if a word would stop the auto-search-as-you-type operating, it shouldn't appear in suggested search terms unless one of your explicitly entered terms is already on the list.

Another think that keeps other terms near the top of the list is astro-turfing. Gaming Google is a common tactic in political circles. They won't do it to try bury an opponent in crap terms (as that may find them blocked by Google meaning they can't game in favour of themselves) but they will do it to skew their own results in a particular direction. Just get many people at home to search for "Mitt Romney tax cuts" and similar and it'll push "Mitt Romney " further down the list.

Re:And why should they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41287539)

I don't think Google is as hands off as you say. I just typed Mitt Romney in the search box and I got:

"Mitt Romney on issues" "Mitt Romney vp" "Mitt Romney tax returns" "Mitt Romney wiki"

Judging by the commercials on television, I'd expect at Google to at least suggest some non-flattering search terms.

On the other hand, for a while, if you typed in "Craig J" in google (Craig James being a... less than beloved senatorial candidate in Texas), the first suggested result was "Craig James Killed Five Hookers".

Now, of course, to get that suggestion you have to type in "Craig James K". A flood of rational discourse does wonders for erasing a google bomb, though...

Re:And why should they? (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287601)

There are lots of entertaining options to game Google's suggest with ...

A couple favourites are "how do you", "why do women" and "why do men" ... the suggested questions are often quite funny.

Re:And why should they? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41286745)

That'd be a fair and nice argument if they would apply these rules across the board. But there's quite a few cases where they've caved already, most notably to the lobbying from the entertainment industry. So they're at least making a statement that as an individual, you shouldn't expect them to alter their search index, but as a powerful corporate lobby, you can do what you please.

Re:And why should they? (5, Interesting)

antifoidulus (807088) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286747)

Yeah, but it's Germany, the masters on requiring certificates for everything.... A friend of mine was almost sued for reviewing a hotel in Germany. In his review he stated that there were bedbugs in the hotel he stayed at, and the hotel threatened to sue him. Not because they deny he saw bugs, but because they claimed he didn't have the proper qualifications to determine if the bugs in question were actually bedbugs or not..... They eneded up not going to court, but my friend had to hire a lawyer and they settled out of court, he was forced to remove his review. Only in Germany.....

Re:And why should they? (5, Insightful)

moronoxyd (1000371) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286815)

Considdering that there are lots of websites where Germans rate hotels, restaurants and the like and tell their experience, and I don't hear a lot about all those people and websites getting sued, I guess that your friend was very unlucky. Or maybe the situation was a little mor complicated than what you told us.

Re:And why should they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41287215)

He said they ended up NOT going to court, lawyers can threaten you with just about anything, if you end up settling before the thing even goes to court then you're just letting them get away with it. They could just as well have sued him for having a big nose or something equally stupid.

Re:And why should they? (1)

moronoxyd (1000371) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287359)

Well that friend hired a lawyer, so either his lawyer was a pussy (is this libel? *g*) or that hotel actually had something more substantial.

Re:And why should they? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287901)

Well that friend hired a lawyer, so either his lawyer was a pussy (is this libel? *g*) or that hotel actually had something more substantial.

look, why would a lawyer tell a potential client that he doesn't need a lawyer?

Re:And why should they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41288607)

I'm not sure what the German laws say, but remember this, hard as it may be to comprehend; The truth is not an absolute defense against libel in all countries. IOW, there are places which you'd probably consider "civilized" and "democratic" where telling the truth, especially about certain people will be an expensive undertaking, truth be hanged.

And, no, "pussy" in this context would be an insult, not libel.

Re:And why should they? (2)

Greyfox (87712) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287099)

I'd say ANY bugs in your bed in a hotel is grounds for a bad review! "Oh, I'm sorry! What I thought were bedbugs were actually Asian hissing cockroaches! I couldn't hear them hissing over the sound my wife screaming 'OH MY GOD THERE ARE BUGS IN THE BED!'" It was an honest mistake!

Re:And why should they? (1)

Tom (822) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287579)

Just like in the US, you can be sued for pretty much anything by pretty much anyone.

Whether or not that case would've been laughed out of court or not - well your friend didn't want to find out, which I can understand. But there's nothing Germany-specific there.

Re:And why should they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41286801)

That's easy to say when it's not you, and to have your image destroyed by a (i assume false) rumor should not be taken lightly. On the other hand i do think Google should not be making precedents. It's a slippery slope.

Google is already censoring the auto-complete (5, Interesting)

tempmpi (233132) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286813)

Google is already censoring the auto-complete, just for other reasons:

It will not suggest "adobe photoshop torrent" or "adobe photoshop crack", even though that these searches and similar searches are extremly popular. And it will not autocomplete "Rocco" to "Rocco Siffredi". So google is censoring auto-complete against piracy and against pornography, why exactly shouldn't it do the same thing to protect people against libel?

Re:Google is already censoring the auto-complete (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41287103)

Because piracy and pornography are pretty much straight forward. But as to whether something truly is libel is a matter for the courts. If Google had to take on each and every individual complaint regarding whether

Re:Google is already censoring the auto-complete (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41287255)

Initially I disagreed, thinking that Google should NOT filter keywords - as it's just reflecting what people are looking for. But then I start to think of how the media have got too powerfull and are happy to ruin someones life and put a 2 paragraph apology on the back page the following week.

So given the stupidity of most people I think speculation and libel should be left out of keywords.

I did a search on myself and found some stuff on Google about my finances. So now I'm thinking - how can I get that index removed? Surely they can't be excempt from the data protection act? I mean they store data on individuals don't they?

Re:Google is already censoring the auto-complete (2)

Nemyst (1383049) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287689)

Because whatever you think of filtering against piracy or pornography (I don't like either, but I can understand the latter for young children), it's fairly clear cut and simple to know what is piracy and what is pornography.

How do you quantitatively define libel? Do you just remove anything that anybody claims is libel against them? That'll work just fine, right?

Google missed an opportunity (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41286709)

instead of just suggesting search terms like prostitute and escort, why not also mention the fees ?

Germany's 'what'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41286711)

Germany doesn't have a "first lady". If you mean the ex-president's spouse then just say so.

Re:Germany's 'what'? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41286735)

I think they meant "first lady" as "the escort he chooses by default".

Re:Germany's 'what'? (1)

Shoe Puppet (1557239) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286779)

That term is not specific to the US president's wife any more. It refers to any head of state's wife.

Re:Germany's 'what'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41286871)

That term is not specific to the US president's wife any more. It refers to any head of state's wife.

Complete crap.

Re:Germany's 'what'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41287651)

No there was only one first lady - Eve

It's even worse... (5, Funny)

srussia (884021) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286725)

Turns out Bettina Wulff is Barbara Streisand's half-sister!

Re:It's even worse... (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287075)

OH NOZ! Now that that's posted on the internet, Google is going to get in so much trouble for it. Wait...

Re:It's even worse... (2)

prefec2 (875483) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287981)

Nope. She is just promoting her book and her new promotion company. She had to something like this, because otherwise no one in Germany would have noticed that she "wrote" a book. All the tree-killing would have been a waste of time without that promotion ;-)

Google is Sometimes Hypocritical (5, Insightful)

jellie (949898) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286763)

I'm not so sure I would agree with Google's typical defense on this issue, which is that they have an algorithm that automatically ranks all the search results and they can't change that. Except they manually change the results. When companies break their rules, they can punish them. For example, when BMW's German website was found to influence results [bbc.co.uk], Google banned them from their index. An eyeglass company, DecorMyEyes, verbally abused its customers to generate bad reviews ... and more publicity [nytimes.com]. After being published in The Times, they dropped the company from the index. Even in the Santorum case, they eventually made some results less prominent. Google has also been accused of pushing up the rankings of its own products. So it's kinda hypocritical to say that Google doesn't adjust individual results.

Re:Google is Sometimes Hypocritical (1)

udachny (2454394) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286851)

Be careful, jellie (949898), you don't want Google to go Santorum on your ass.

Re:Google is Sometimes Hypocritical (1)

jellie (949898) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286869)

I'd much rather not have Santorum go Santorum on my ass...

Re:Google is Sometimes Hypocritical (1)

udachny (2454394) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286921)

Yes, but Google is much bigger..... it can do Santorum in a scalable, sustainable, timeless manner that I don't think you can appreciate well enough just yet.

Re:Google is Sometimes Hypocritical (1)

gman003 (1693318) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286951)

The difference is, those were banning specific sites. This is a request to ban *any* negative mention of a specific person.

Re:Google is Sometimes Hypocritical (2)

squiggleslash (241428) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287461)

Even in the Santorum case, they eventually made some results less prominent

They did? The first search result on the word "Santorum" is for the Wikipedia page on the Santorum neologism. The second, reasonably enough, is for the homophobic jackwagon himself. The third is the "Spreading santorum" blog.

After that you get links largely about the politician. The fact that the first link is still about the fluid, despite the fact Santorum spent most of the last year and a bit in an election campaign for president, suggests to me Google hasn't done anything. (Which is fine, I'm not criticising them, I just think they're not as hands on as you think.)

Re:Google is Sometimes Hypocritical (2)

cheesybagel (670288) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287641)

There are also the DMCA pulldowns. So yes folks Google already messes with their index. All the time.

Reverse Streisand effect (1, Interesting)

aNonnyMouseCowered (2693969) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286769)

First time I heard about Bettina Wulff. So maybe her attempt to repair her bad reputation is going to damage it further instead?

On the other hand she could also benefit from a reverse Streisand effect. Surely a person everybody calls bad can't be that bad? There are a number of celebrities who actually benefited from getting "exposed" in public. Paris Hilton and Hugh Grant come to mind. They're much bigger stars now than they were before the scandal that outed them.

Re:Reverse Streisand effect (5, Interesting)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287009)

a reverse Streisand effect. Surely a person everybody calls bad can't be that bad?

What annoys me most about this debate is that there are so many people who apparently think that having worked as a prostitute/sex worker is so very bad and would somehow disqualify a woman from being the first lady. People and the boulevard press in Germany even went so far as to take the first lady's mature attitude towards better sexual education at schools as a clear sign of having been a prostitute, as if any of that constituted any real problem (rather than, say, hypocrisy or the moronic politics of her husband).

Re:Reverse Streisand effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41287129)

so many people who apparently think that having worked as a prostitute/sex worker is so very bad and would somehow disqualify a woman from being the first lady

Mhh I just had this conversation with a friend of mine on Sunday.
Prostitution is not illegal in this country. Case closed.

Re:Reverse Streisand effect (2)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287573)

What annoys me most about this debate is that there are so many people who apparently think that having worked as a prostitute/sex worker is so very bad and would somehow disqualify a woman from being the first lady.

I'd argue that being the first lady is so very bad that it should disqualify a person from being a sex worker.

Re:Reverse Streisand effect (3, Funny)

lcam (848192) | about a year and a half ago | (#41288025)

I consider prostitutes to be more honest than politicians, at least you get what want, then you pay with prostitutes. Politicians hike taxes and then don't deliver on their promises.

I think Bettina Wulff is taking a step down the ladder with her attitude, especially in the name of politics.

Re:Reverse Streisand effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41288395)

Politics is the second oldest profession and bears an uncanny resembalance to the first.

The reason you're not recieving the expected performance from you politicians is that taxes aren't a payment; they're a service provided to those who do pay the politicians.

Re:Reverse Streisand effect (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about a year and a half ago | (#41289045)

The question here is which Bettina Wulff. First she would have to prove her name unique. Should her name not be unique she should be cited for overweening narcissistic arrogance in failing to take into consideration all the other Bettina Wulffs. As her name is not unique it should be thrown out of court and she should offer an apology to all the other holders of the name for the arrogant attempt of taking globally unique ownership of the name.

Especially in Germany (1)

phorm (591458) | about a year and a half ago | (#41288067)

Where - to my understanding - it's a legal industry.
At least in the US it would have a bad rep because it's also an illegal profession, but in Germany red-light districts are regulated and legit.

Google should not have to change anything (1)

rs1n (1867908) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286791)

The fact that the search suggestion appears is merely a reflection of the information that is currently out there -- whether factual or not. She should be going after the party(s) responsible for the character assassination (and Google can help, actually, to find the perpetrators).

Google Behaving Correctly (1)

skywire (469351) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287159)

Google's proper role is to allow their object algorithms to work as designed. Their job is to enable us to search the content that is out there; making special exceptions in response to silly complaints defeats that.

Everyone knows the significance of the suggested search phrases. No reasonable person really believes that by displaying them, Google is uttering statements that predicate them of the entered phrase. In other words, no-one, including Bettina Wulff and her lawyers, honestly believes that Google is publicly stating that she is a prostitute. It's good to hear that Google is making an effort to do the right thing this time. They have not always.

How else will people find the *contrary* evidence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41287519)

When people search for her name and the "escort controversy", how does she expect people to find the journalism that apparently indicates the rumours are false?

it was a good porno she did (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41287833)

haha got ya

two points (1)

Tom (822) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287869)

Not mentioned so far:

One, she has just "written" (no idea how much is ghostwritten) a book that is just coming out. The "discussion" about her past pretty much died down when her husband left office. Strange how it apparently got started with just the perfect timing, isn't it?

Two, so what? I know several people who either have been or still are sex workers. For most of them you'd never guess, and the ones I'm close with are good people. It's one of those "scandal! scandal!" topics that have no reason going for them other than sensationalism and a desire to sell more newspapers.

fago82 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41289283)

The NEtBSD 4roject,
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