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Google must change auto-complete in Japan

Updated Privacy is at stake
Mon Mar 26 2012, 12:50

A JAPANESE COURT has told Google to change part of its auto-complete search function in that country until it can make sure that one man's privacy is not at stake.

The Tokyo District Court agreed with a petition from the man who says that typing his name into the search box brings up some things that he would rather not come up.

According to a report at Japan Today, a Google search on his name links him to crimes that he did not commit, and he and his lawyer want the implication of guilt made by Google's search engine to stop.

The court approved the petition last week, but so far Google has not responded to the request to cease. We have asked its PR firm in the UK for more information.

The man is not named, and his lawyer Hiroyuki Tomita said that the Google search results make it difficult for him to find work, which is easy to imagine might happen.

Tomita says that Google has refused to comply so far because it's based in the US and apparently does not have to comply with local laws and policies.

Google has responded to our request for comment, and has looked to clear up what it called inaccuracies on other reports.

"A Japanese court issued a provisional order requesting Google to delete specific terms from Autocomplete. The judge did not require Google to completely suspend the Autocomplete function. Google is currently reviewing the order," it said in a statement from a spokesperson that narrows down the scale of the order while confirming it.

"Autocomplete is a feature of Google search that offers predicted searches to help you more quickly find what you're looking for. These searches are produced by a number of factors including the popularity of search terms. Google does not determine these terms manually - all of the queries shown in Autocomplete have been typed previously by other Google users." µ



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