Deal reached in Google France autocorrect battle

By Heidi Heinemann, June 29, 2012
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Internet giant Google has reached a deal with French anti-racism groups following a lawsuit brought against it in regards to the autocomplete feature of its search engine.

The initial lawsuit, filed in May, stated that "numerous users of the first search engine of France and the world are confronted daily with the association, unsolicited and almost systematically, [of] the word 'Jew' with the names of those most prominent in the world of politics, media or business".

The reasoning for this autocomplete function is based in Google.fr users frequently asking whether politicians and various celebrities are Jewish or not, thus the words "Jufi" or "Jewish" are frequently suggested as a possible result when internet users type in certain famous names. These include media mogul Rupert Murdoch and Jon Hamm of Mad Men fame.

Legal action was originally taken by anti-racism organisations such as SOS Racisme in anattempt to try and prevent the continuation of what they viewed as a discriminatory practice responsible for maintaining stereotypes and advancing racist ideas about Jewish conspiracies.

Both sides confirmed this week that a settlement had been reached and that the lawsuit would be dropped.

SOS Racisme said that the deal woul "allow positive cooperation between the associations and Google, regarding the fight against racism and antisemitism". Google has refused to comment on whether it will make any changes to the autocomplete feature.

Last updated: 4:02pm, June 29 2012