Australian Man Wins Ability To Sue Google For Defamation


Milorad "Michael" Trkulja is getting ready to sue Google. The Melbourne, Australia native claims that the technology company has ruined his reputation.

Google Image Results

On June 12, the High Court of Australia ruled that Trkulja could take legal action against Google. Trkulja will probably sue the technology company for defamation. In 2004, he was shot in the back by an anonymous gunman in his hometown. He soon discovered when he looked up his name, Google put him amongst unpleasant company.

Images of Trkulja were associated with members of the Australian criminal underworld. He assumed that the pictures were from the shooting, but he started to put in phrases such as "Melbourne underworld criminals," Trkulja found himself in the same company with Australian crime boss Tony Mokbel.

Trkulja strongly denied that he was connected to the Australian mob scene. He admitted to Australian television that the only connection that he had was from his former lawyer. Trkulja's former lawyer represented Mick Gatto, a businessman that has alleged ties with the Australian underworld.

The Legal Battles

In 2012, Trkulja faced off against Google for defamation in the Victorian Supreme Court after Google and Google Australia did not remove his image. He received the first victory in a lengthy courtroom battle and was awarded over AU$200,000 ($151,704 US Dollars). Trkulja next challenged the technology company in 2013 with another defamation lawsuit.

This suit dealt with search phrases such as "is a former hit man," "criminal," and "underworld." All three options brought up his name and image once again. However, Google took the case to the Victorian Court of Appeals and overturned the Victorian Supreme Court's decision. The Victorian Court of Appeals believed that Trkulja's claim had no chance of successfully proving defamation.

Google tried to stop the High Court from overturning the Victorian Court of Appeals decision. They stated that the search results did not defame Trkulja and that the technology company was entitled to immunity. However, the High Court disagreed with Google and sided with Trkulja.

"I will sue Google ... and I will sue them till they stop. I want to them to block my pictures. I'm not a criminal, I've never been involved, and I will make sure these people are not going to ruin my family - I have grandchildren," said Trkulja to The Guardian.

Google Lawsuits

The technology company is facing several different lawsuits. European consumer rights organization, Noyb, filed four separate lawsuits against Google and Facebook. Noyb's legal team claims that the companies breached the General Data Protection Regulation law by forcing users into giving consent for them to collect and share their data.

On May 21, Google representatives faced off against citizens' group Google You Owe Us. The group represents 4.4 million iPhone users in the United Kingdom. They believed that during June 1, 2011, and Feb. 1, 2012, the technology company illegally took their data.

A former Google employee, Arne Wilberg, sued the company for allegedly discriminating against job applicants who were Asian and Caucasian men. In his legal suit, the former YouTube recruiter revealed that Google favored hiring Hispanic, African American, and females to work at the company. He also noted that he was reprimanded when he refused to comply with their requests.

Tech Times has reached out to Google for a comment on this story.

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