Model sues Google for porn site links

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Buenos Aires - The Argentine Supreme Court heard arguments on Thursday demanding that Google take down links between pornographic websites and a model suing the Internet giant because she is not a sex worker.

Maria Belen Rodriguez, 30, launched a battle against Google and Yahoo eight years ago over search engine links to pornographic websites that showed non-erotic photographs of her.

Two years ago, Yahoo complied but not Google, which was fined 42 000 pesos (about R52 000). Rodriguez is demanding more than $37 000.

A civil court had previously ruled in favour of the model but dropped the fine to $6 200.

Some websites showed images of Rodriguez surrounded by pornographic images while a click on her name linked to pornographic images of women on other sites.

“One day, my dad entered my name on Google and he landed on a porn site,” Rodriguez told AFP.

“This has caused me a ton of problems. I lost job opportunities because of this.”

A lower court had ordered Google to block links between Rodriguez's name and pornographic websites, pointing to “subjective responsibility.”

“I hope that the right to freedom of expression will not substitute the right to privacy and human dignity. There must be a limit,” Rodriguez said after the hearing before the high court.

Rodriguez said her troubles began prior to the emergence of another Argentine model of nearly the same name.

The other model - Maria Belen Rodriguez Cozzani - lives in Italy, where she has defended herself against accusations of being linked to parties attended by former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Google lawyer Mariano Florencio Grondona said the links could have been blocked earlier but Rodriguez declined to identify the controversial websites.

The US Internet titan rejects any responsibility on website content, saying it only serves as an intermediary.

“It's impossible to control content,” agreed Yahoo lawyer Alberto Bueres.

Google says it receives 100 million requests each year for data removal from search engines, most related to copyright concerns.

The Supreme Court's decision is expected in June. - Sapa-AFP

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