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Justices give win to Internet site in false data case

May 16, 2016

The Supreme Court says an Internet search site that posted false information about people can be sued only if the errors caused actual harm.

The 6-2 ruling on Monday is a narrow victory for the search service Spokeo.com. It is a setback to consumer rights advocates seeking a broader ruling that would let people sue without showing a real injury.

The case involves an online profile of Virginia resident Thomas Robins that was riddled with errors about his age, education, employment and marital status. Robins sued under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, which requires consumer reporting agencies to publish accurate information.

A federal appeals court said Robins could sue without proving he was harmed. But the high court sent the case back, saying it used the wrong analysis.

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