Google autofill ‘reveals names of rape victims’ when users search for attackers

Google is helping its users identify rape victims, it has been claimed.

Even if an alleged sex attacker is found not guilty, victims are always entitled to lifelong anonymity.

But it’s been found that by searching for details about the attackers online, it can often return the names of their victims, according to .

Google’s ‘related search’ and ‘autocomplete’ functions are even allegedly showing the names of vulnerable defendants, who must be anonymous by law.

The search engine giant’s reported issue is because it saves popular searches for information surrounding the victims, and inadvertently reveals their names to other internet users.

The Times claimed it found two rape victims, a sexual abuse victim, and a victim of violence, who were all illegally identified by Google.

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Fay Maxted, chief executive of rape charity the Survivors Trust, said the claims were ‘beyond shocking’.

Maria Miller MP, Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, said: ‘Google has to operate within the law of the UK – if that means they have to change how their search engine operates then so be it.’


A spokesman for Google said: ‘We don’t allow these kinds of autocomplete predictions or related searches that violate laws or our own policies and we have removed the examples we’ve been made aware of in this case.

‘We recently expanded our removals policy to cover predictions which disparage victims of violence and atrocities, and we encourage people to send us feedback about any sensitive or bad prediction.’

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