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GRC Professional : GRC Autumn 2012
9 The Federal Court has upheld the ACCC’s appeal against Google for publishing m isleading or deceptive advertising, outlining new compliance obligations for businesses with an on line presence. The ruling overturns Justice Nicholas’ decision in 2011 that found Google had not breached the Trade Pra ctices Act because the search engine was only communicating representations made by the adver tiser. “Organisations need to take note of the decision and ensure their online publishing practices are compliant,” said ACI Managing Director Martin Tolar. The ads that appeared on Google search results page used keywords to lead consumers to rival company websites (eg the headline of each of the advertisements in question included a business na me, product name or web address of a competitor’s business that was not sponsored, affiliated or associated with the par ticular adver tiser). The court has now concluded “it is Google’s tech nolog y which creates that which is displayed. Google did not merely repeat or pass on a statement by the adver tiser, what is displayed in response to the user’s sea rch quer y is not the equivalent of Google saying here is a statement by an adver tiser which is pas sed on for what it is worth.” Rod Sims, ACCC Chairman, added: “This is an impor t a nt outcome becau se it makes it clear that Google, and other search engine providers which use similar technology to Google, will be directly accountable for misleading or deceptive paid search results.” Google case sets new online compliance obligations
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