Photo: REUTERS file

High court says Twitter need not delete tweets on man's arrest history


The Tokyo High Court dismissed on Monday a man's demand that Twitter delete tweets showing his arrest history, overturning a lower court order for the U.S. company to remove the online posts.

In handing down the ruling, Presiding Judge Hiroshi Noyama said Twitter plays a "significant role as information infrastructure on the internet" and that strict standards must be applied in this particular case.

In 2017, Japan's top court set strict standards in a similar lawsuit, dismissing another man's request to remove news search results of his arrest for child prostitution from Google's search engine.

The Supreme Court decided that the deletion of search results can be allowed only when the significance of privacy protection clearly outweighs that of information disclosure.

Last October, the Tokyo District Court heeded the request of deletion by the man in northeastern Japan, saying looser standards should be applied in the case as Twitter does not have the same level of information infrastructure as Google.

But the high court determined that strict standards set by the top court should be applied in this case as well, with Noyama citing how Twitter is being used by "well-known individuals such as the U.S. president as well as government agencies and corporations."

The judge said the likelihood is low that the man would be affected now since online articles reporting his name and his arrest have already been removed. The judge added that the man's arrest history also no longer appears on the Google search engine.

"It is not clear whether the right to privacy prevails over (the significance of) keeping Twitter posts," Noyama concluded.

According to the ruling, the man was arrested in 2012 over trespass allegations and ordered to pay a fine.

Following the incident, a series of tweets citing news articles carrying his name and the incident have been posted, affecting the man's job seeking activities.

The lower court had ruled in favor of the man but Twitter appealed the ruling.


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Records shouldn't be deleted, the public has a right to know. If they want to give him a second chance then by all means give him a second chance knowing fully well what they are doing.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )


Criminal convictions are part of the public record, but social media and Google brings it to the forefront. I do believe people should be given a second chance...everybody, including the caveats you said no to. If they pose an ongoing threat, then they should be behind bars still or in a mental institute. Else, if society sees them as only [insert word here], refuses to give them a job and reintegrate back into society, then that society is going to get [insert word here] again and again.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Paying for your crime and doing your time is just that: punishment for your crime. It was never meant to erase your crime as if you had not committed it in the first place. You don’t get to have your life back the way it was just as the victim does not as well. It is irrevocable and you can never change the past.

In the days before the internet, it was just as bad if not worse as the town and village gossip add more to defame you. Manslaughter becomes a murder and murder becomes a massacre. With Twitter and permanent records, you have evidence and a way of verifying your crime against further accusations. It works both ways.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Just shut down my Twatter account last night actually. It's full of raging, angry individuals lol. I just got fed up with it. It's impossible to have a debate now. I'm 48, so I've spent more time without social media then with it. I also killed Faceplank in 2017 and don't miss it. Less is more in my old grumpy opinion :) In 5 years, I'll probably end up with a first generation Nokia mobile lol.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@oz, your right on the money m8 with your comments, one example I have is there was a chap working for me, he was in his mid 40's, he went to the USA one year and when he got to the customer desk they asked him to step aside, and he was told that he was not going to be allowed in to the US, it turns out that he was caught and prosecuted for drink driving here in the UK when he was a teenager, he was prosecuted and the government looked after his driving licence for a year, although this was ? years ago, it didn't matter, according to the US immigration, they refused him entry and sent him packing on the next available plane back to the UK. so how long can you go on for punishing people? if it was the previous year, I could understand why they did this, but some 25-27 year ago seems a bit harsh. so this issue need to be addressed, when should a conviction records be spent? or on records.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Twitter is a den of evil.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Depends on the crime I suppose...

A one-off negligible theft or other relatively small crimes, maybe.

Certainly, anything like rape or murder should never be hidden. Especially if you are applying for jobs where you have to look after other people, say, babysitter or other care worker type jobs.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Internet never forgets and it shouldn't. The British Library and The Library of Congress store every newspaper ever published. So say for example there is an article from 10 years ago about me that I do not want anyone to see. No one can expecting for that article in that newspaper to be physically cut out or the microfilm to be altered so that I can be forgotten?? This is same, you did it, live with it and if you are going to regret what you did, then you should not have done it in the first place....

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Big Brother will not be denied.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

But Child Prostitution ?

Come on , people have every right to know for the protection of their children.

A silly mistake is one thing but not when it comes to children.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@JCosplay thanks for the feedback mate, much appreciated!

There is a fine balance between protecting the public and excessive punishment. Between public interest and the right to privacy.

And I'm not sure if a "for-profit" web service is the best organisation to decide what information is kept as a public record about private citizens.

Personally, I believe there needs to be consequences for when people act inappropriately. Severe enough to deter crime, to give the victim a sense of satisfaction and society to see that order is being upheld. Once the punishment is complete, that should be the end of the matter. Being named and shamed as described in the article constitutes continued and unnecessary punishment.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

If for whatever reason you are not willing to give these people fair chance to start over keep them in prison then. The only other option for them is more crime.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@OzBurger You know, I was going to take the opposite opinion, but you honestly changed my mind with your comment. I mean yeah, especially in the US, while it for now anyways, do you have any kind of criminal offense, and can really set you back with your life. I mean I don’t even know where to start with that. This actually makes me supportive of the “right to be forgotten laws“ in the EU. Whereas before I thought that was a form of “censorship by civilians“, if you will.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The issue with this revolves around continued punishment. Sure he may have done his time, paid his fine, whatever, but surely he will be at a severe disadvantage when trying to move forward with his life.

There is a problem with "The Internet" in so far that anything published tends to stick around. Whether stupid things you did in your youth, things posted about you by people you trusted (revenge porn, etc) or simply reports of your past mistakes, there needs to be a time where you can be "forgotten".

For people who choose to become public figures, then your actions need to be a matter of public record. For those who pose an ongoing threat, there needs to be some kind of tracking (Terrorism offences or Sex offenders). For the rest of us, we need to be protected so that our private lives remain just that, private.

There are criminal records for a reason, concerned organisations can request a person's criminal history to see if something relevant is recorded. Once a period has passed, these records can become spent or sealed and no longer disclosed. These records aren't available to any nosey parker, services like Twitter are.

I feel, people deserve the right to pay the penalty (as decided by the courts) for their actions and then be able to move on with their lives, not to be continually punished through their records being available to everyone online.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Name change? Move away. Cosmetic surgery. Start a new life. Do what you need to do if you’ve done your time.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

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