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Japanese Court Orders Google To Suspend Auto-Complete Feature In Japan

Japanese Court Orders Google To Suspend Auto-Complete Feature In Japan
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3/26/2012 11:04 AM ET

A district court in Tokyo in Japan has ordered Internet search giant Google, Inc. (GOOG: Quote) to suspend its search feature known as auto-complete in Japan, according to Kyodo News story in Japan Times. The move came after the court accepted a petition from a man who alleged that the feature violated his privacy and caused his reputation irreparable damage.

In a provisional order from the Japanese court, Google has been requested to delete specific terms from auto-complete feature. However, Google is said to be reviewing the request, but said it need not act on the request as it cannot be regulated by Japanese law or the petition related to its in-house privacy policy.

An unidentified man has claimed that when typing in his name in Google, that links to crimes he was not involved with, and that got him fired from his job and has found it hard to find another job.

In the auto-complete feature, as you type within the search box on Google, the auto-complete algorithm offers searches that might be similar to the one you're typing and predicts and displays search queries based on other users' search activities to select.

Though the man is not publicly available, his lawyer Hiroyuki Tomita says his client decided to seek a court injunction after he lost his job several yeas ago, and failed to find a new one on multiple attempts.

Tomita said Google searches for his client's name suggested words involving criminal acts, and included 10,000 items that defamed or disparaged him. His client believes that this has led to his firing and blocked his efforts to find a new job.

According to Tomita, the man had in October requested Google to delete certain words, but the company did not heed to his request saying the suggested words were being selected mechanically, not intentionally, and do not violate his privacy.

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by RTT Staff Writer

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