You Mean She’s Not a Hooker? Germany’s former first lady takes legal action against Google over internet search slurs

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from www.telegraph.co.uk – Germany’s former first lady Bettina Wulff has taken legal action against Google to stop the words “prostitute” and “escort” from appearing as internet search suggestions next to her name.

Mrs Wulff, 38, has filed a flurry of writs for defamation, including against a national celebrity television presenter, to stop false rumours that she once worked in the “red light” world” of prostitution.

She has been dogged by the claims, circulated by political rivals, since her husband, Christian Wulff, a leading Christian Democrat politician, was nominated to become Germany’s president in 2010.

Fuelling the controversy, he was then forced to resign last February as German president amid a corruption scandal dating from his time as regional leader of Lower Saxony.

The lawsuit against Google aims to stop terms such as “red-light past”, “prostitute” or “escort” appearing as search recommendations when her name is entered in the search window.

She also filed legal papers, filed in the Hamburg district court, against Gunter Jauch, a well-known German TV personality, who has refused to sign a “cease-and-desist declaration” after being requested to do so by her lawyer in May.

The lawsuits include an affidavit signed by Mrs Wulff stating that all claims that she once worked as a prostitute or “escort” in her youth are false.

According to Süddeutsche Zeitung the legal onslaught has led to 34 bloggers and media organisations had signing commitments to stop repeating the false allegations.

The German newspaper also reported that several press groups had paid compensation to the tune of tens of thousands of euros in defamation damages.

Mrs Wulff, a former publicist, will also try to counter the allegations when she publishes a book about her life later this month.

Earlier this year, a Japanese man won a lawsuit against Google after the search engine’s “autocomplete” feature started linking his name with crimes he was innocent of.

The Japanese court ordered Google to delete the terms from search recommendations linked to his name.

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