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Gareth Goddard

Google Ordered to Stop Autocomplete/Predictive feature in Google Japan

Japanese courts have ordered Google to stop and shut down the autocomplete or predictive feature in Japan due to privacy complaints after a man took them to court due for violating his privacy and claiming it has hampered his career. His claim is based around the fact that when you enter his first name into Google it comes up with over 10,000 defaming or disparaging words about him.

His lawyer Hiroyuki Tomita, says

It could lead to irretrievable damage such as a loss of job or bankruptcy just by showing search results that constitute defamation or a violation of the privacy of an individual person or small and medium-sized companies.

The man contacted Google and asked for them to be removed, but as they are generated mechanically rather than by person this was not possible, and claimed it did not violate his privacy.

From Google:

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 objective factors including 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.