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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Japan Demanded Google to Kill Auto-Complete

It seems that the Japanese judges have come down hard on the search giant’s auto-complete search function. The local press reported that a Tokyo District Court has approved a petition demanding that the search engine stop using its auto-complete feature.
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Some Japanese individual claimed that the auto-complete feature breached his privacy. The matter was that the feature actually led to the loss of his job – it turned out that when typing in this guy’s name, the engine’s auto-complete suggested words associated with criminal behavior. If you click on those suggested searches, you will be able to find around 10,000 results that disparage or defame him.

Hiroyuki Tomita, the individual’s lawyer, has said during the interview that Google’s auto-complete feature is able to lead to job loss or bankruptcy simply by displaying search results constituting defamation.

Meanwhile, the industry observers point out that Google has really been having some problems with these kinds of cases. For example, back in 2011, when a UK citizen was falsely accused of being a pedophile in a Google Places review, the search engine had to pull it. But the UK wasn’t the only country that had problems with Google’s auto-complete. The company also had to give in to an Indian law that directed online corporations to block religiously offensive data from their search results.

In response, the search engine claimed that since Google is based in the United States, it shouldn’t be subject to Japanese legislation. It won’t be a surprise to many if Japan disagrees with this statement and succeeds with its request to kill auto-complete search function.

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