In New Dehli, Arindam Chaudhuri filed a major lawsuit against Google and several other sites for publishing and distributing “defamatory, libelous, and slanderous articles.” His action created a maelstrom of debate on whether or not aggregation websites, including search engines, can be held responsible for showing libelous information created by other groups.
Karnika Seth, an expert in cyber law who resides in New Delhi, states that, “A search engine is not entirely to be blamed and it is difficult for them to monitor their content because of their huge database.” Rodney Ryder, a cyber crime expert, agrees that it’s illogical to sue sites like Google because “it’s just a content aggregator, and not the publisher.”
However, some groups insist that Google has a greater level of responsibility than it is living up to. Koena Mitra, a Bollywood actor, stated that, “Google should probably become like imdb and verify all our details through us,” while fellow actor Eesha Koppikhar stated that “Google should have a censor mechanism that scrutinizes content before it is put up.”
For most, the issue comes back to a very basic principle: open or vetted? Google has long taken the open approach, putting responsibility on publishers and the defamed to resolve their conflicts, while assuming that content that is both relevant and accurate will be what surfaces in Google’s algorithm. However, other groups believe that vetting is an important way to prevent innacurate, useless, or defamatory content from appearing. Blekko, a small engine, is an example of a search site that curates its content.
A Google India spokesperson stated in response to the lawsuit that, “We are disappointed that search engines that use computer algorithms to create automated indexes of the world wide web are sought to be held liable for content that is indexed as search results.”
[Sources include: the Hindustan Times]