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Tokyo District Court tells Google to stop autocomplete words

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© 2013 AFP

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Maybe Japan can ban Google, like Iran.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

This is BS. I quite like this functionality. I think that Google should ignore the ruling as it is based outside of Japan.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

This is a stupid ruling. Google please ignore it. Maybe this person should not have commited these crimes...

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

Google "google autocomplete lawsuit"

Thank you.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Still not clear to me if he committed a past crime or if he shared the same name with another guity party.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

So even if they remove the autocomplete function, presumably googling his name would still produce search results listing all these defamatory sites. Unless this man tries to singlehandedly dismantle the internet, his problem will never be solved.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Hellsvien

He didn't commit the crimes.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Last year, the same court approved a petition by the same man to have his name delinked from autocomplete suggestions, and issued a temporary injunction, which Google did not follow.

The ruling should stand. Google had enough time to deal with this, and they chose not to.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Is this Hashimoto again ?

1 ( +6 / -5 )

whats his name?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Mental anguish?! It seems to me that this man should stop Googling himself.

Can we assume that Yafuu, which is certainly the preferred search engine among every Japanese person I've met, doesn't autocomplete in the same way?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

A Japanese person using Google? Really? Most of the people I know never get past Yahoo Japan! For such a supposedly 'tech-savvy' country the majority of people are completely dumfounded when it comes to searching the net. Many don't even know what 'www.' means. Ignore this rubbish Google. If I search my name 99% of the hit are women. Should I launch a case against them for mental anguish?

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

When I Google something, it usually auto completes from last sites or subjects that I searched. When I clear my browsing history it no longer auto completes unless it is on my bookmarks. If the site he complains about is not about him but someone else, he should contact the site owner and ask that a disclaimer be put on the site about people that possibly share the same name.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The court also ordered the U.S.-based company to pay 300,000 yen for the mental anguish experienced by the man, whose identity has been withheld.

All because of an algorithm that 99% of the time does not result in this sort of thing. This is why international lawyers and corporations never agree to Japanese law and venue in their contracts.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I don't think it's necessarily this guy using google a few times and then he loses his ability / will to thrive. I am sure that this problem came up repeatedly, ruined his reputation, and might have cost him jobs, or promotions etc.

I am sure he contacted Google. Was promptly ignored or got an autoresponse. I am sure his lawyer wrote a letter to cease and desist, and that was ignored.

With a amoeba like corporation like Google there is no way an individual can give feedback that requires action without the courts being involved. I am sure the experience was stressful and humiliating.

Auto complete should be there to better our lives not ruin our lives.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Names are not unique: if there is someone else with the same name who did commit the crimes that these web sites allege, that's tough luck. If my name was Adolf Hitler I couldn't go around sueing people for writing bad things about the other Adolf Hitler. According to the judge's logic a Japanese could sue any site that links to a page with defamatory text about Japanese people on the grounds that it caused him/her "mental anguish".

However, if the web sites Google links to do contain defamatory statements about the plaintiff that identify him more specifically, he should be sueing them and not Google.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I wonder, if the search functions are not based in Japan, does Google have to follow the verdict? And doesn't this open the flood gates to many citizens requesting their name not being allowed to be auto completed? And with many Japanese having so many similar if not same names, how do you determine priority over of a person who wants their name in the function, and person who does not? And what about news articles that reference people's names on this master list, supposing their is one made?

Kinda of similar to a court case in France where a woman sued an adult film actress because the actress' alias was the same name as the woman's. The court ruled in favor of the woman and the actress had to change her name, even though the actress had been working primarily in the US for a few years before the case was made.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Most of the people I know never get past Yahoo Japan

I guess you've never heard of the word "guguru" which means to look something up on the Internet, coming from "google" and the verb form "___ru" in Japanese. The word became popular around 10 years ago.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

It will be open season on Google if they agree to this and I'm willing to bet the judge knows nothing about the internet. Rubbish ruling. Please ignore it Google and don't pay any of the money either.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This is just a test case of Japan's jurisdiction. Look at the case in question and then go back to the Daiyo Island dispute where Japan's government asked Google to change Google Earth to reflect their own interests.

Since Google did not comply in that territorial dispute case now these ridiculous cases are popping up.

All of you reading can not be forgetful. Save these articles into folders and then you can connect all the dots.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Stupid Japanese ruling, Google ignore it. It is wonderful to have this system, maybe those criminal Japanese should better not commit a crime. Autocomplete search is great. Google is great !

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

So If I understand correctly, he shares his name with a criminal who committed a (obviously fairly terribly) crime? And now when you type this innocent guys name, the details of the original crime are also revealed? Very unlucky indeed, but not really googles fault.

The court also ordered the U.S.-based company to pay 300,000 yen for the mental anguish experienced by the man, whose identity has been withheld.

Again not really the fault of google. If he should be suing anyone, it should be the criminal who committed the crime in the first place, no?

If he is innocent, he could always just change his name..?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

this case does not make sense. If you type in any name then it will default to the most commonly searched auto-complete results. If those results point to websites with information about that individual then its not Google's fault. but the sites that posted the information. That is like accusing a phone book company of printing public information etc.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Its hilarious the Japanese courts think that the best way to deter criminals to not to discourage criminal acts is by disabling autocomplete??.... Come on, if want to do criminal acts, you will find a way to do them, regardless of how you set up your internet search engine. How about working on hiring practices in Japan in general, like weeding out sexual perverts in the workplace? I mean how many times do I have to read about some high ranking official, magistrate, CEO, etc, photographing womens undies.... Disabling autocomplete will not fix this.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

I am sure that this problem came up repeatedly, ruined his reputation, and might have cost him jobs, or promotions etc. I am sure he contacted Google. Was promptly ignored or got an autoresponse. I am sure his lawyer wrote a letter to cease and desist, and that was ignored.

Wow, you're sure of an awful lot. Wired.co.uk says that "the court didn't go as far as saying that autocomplete was the cause of the man's unemployment": http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-04/16/google-japan-ruling

Anyway, if it is the case that he lost his job, maybe he should try to sue the company he worked for - he might get more than the insignificant 300,000 yen he was awarded.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I only get Y300,000..... I'm changing my name from Hara Kiri to Charles Manson.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This is BS. I quite like this functionality. I think that Google should ignore the ruling as it is based outside of Japan

you are so right! it would be funny though, if i google for YOUR name and "pedophilia" comes up top. @_@

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If this issue goes National level in Japan then the Government have the right to disable Google to all PC and devices using Japan IP address. Also Google can easily make a simple script in their program to disable autocomplete whenever a Japan IP address is using their program. Japan have huge server facilities which manages and monitors web activites, however it is not as far as what is being done in China.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Reminds me of the one about the man and his Goat.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Tokyo District Court [autocomplete] ...is autocratic...is clueless...is unfamiliar with free speach...is technologically naive...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I am no great fan of Google (as a company) and their evermore intrusive attitude of knowing all about everyone but in this case, they are in the clear. Whatever the connection to this guy might really be, what he should do is go after the ones posting the defamatory remarks or the company firing him, not the company serving up links to him. I understand that he wants to take the easy road to get some money and, as said above, the judge no doubt has no knowledge of how the internet works (or what it is?) but this is utter bull.

In this case, I think Google should just leave this be. Don't think the Japanese courts can do much more than handing out their little "recommendations".

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The ruling oders google to stop the autocomplete of this particular name, not the entire autocomplete function.

To those who are against the ruling, what would you do if you type your name and google suggests "terrorist", "bomber", "fugitive", or "murderer"? You would call google and if google ignores your request, you will sue google to stop the suggestion.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

CH3CHO,

What would you do?

You're missing the point. Ever heard of "don't shoot the messenger"? I know there's an expression in Japanese that says something about putting a lid on that which smells foul, but this anonymous man is taking the wrong approach. Go to the root of the problem.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Knox Harrington,

The algorithm of autocomplete of google is not disclosed. How can you tell what is causing the suggestion? The suggestion is not just reflection of what is written on websites. It also reflects what people search on google. If a lot of people search "Knox Harrington, terrorist" on google, the suggestion appears on the window. How can you spot the people searching on google?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

CH3CHO

So you are saying you would do the same? Maybe have them remove some old pictures that you don't think look good anymore? Change history a little while we're at it?

I understand that this guy doesn't like the algorithm seemingly saying he's a criminal but for Google to start changing algorithms at a whim is a dangerous path. Because what's next? Politicians not liking what is said about them? The internet comes with bad and good point. Bet if this guy stops googling himself.

Anyway, it's a moot point as Japanese courts do not have jusrisdiction.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

CH3CHO:

It also reflects what people search on google. If a lot of people search "Knox Harrington, terrorist" on google, the suggestion appears on the window. How can you spot the people searching on google?

So you think people who search for something ought to be sued for doing so? Get out...

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Knox Harrington

Maybe have them remove some old pictures that you don't think look good anymore?

Excuse me? Are we talking about the same "autocomplete"? When you type a couple of letters in the search window of google, before hitting the search button, another small window appears and gives suggestions for search word. That is what the court order is about.

Anyway, it's a moot point as Japanese courts do not have jusrisdiction.

Google has a branch in Japan and Japanese court has jurisdiction.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Some people have had success manipulating autocomplete using Amazons Mechanical Turk. So if he gets it, all he needs to do is take his 300,000 yen, enlist the help of the Turk and get people searching for his name followed by "employee of the year", or "has the world's highest recorded IQ", or whatever he wants to be associated with. His next job will be awesome.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Google tells Tokyo District Court:

Bite M_

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Knox Harrington

So you think people who search for something ought to be sued for doing so? Get out...

I though it was you who said that the man should not have sued google but should have sued the people who made the algorithm to show the suggestion. It is pretty likely that the suggestion was caused by the people who repeatedly searched his name on google.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Sorry to the man in question, for sure, but I'm not entirely sure that even IF Google complied with the ruling it would solve his 'mental anguish'. It would still pop up in auto-correct via other search engines.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

if i was the judge "stop using google" Case solved next! (or use goo)

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Dennis Bauer, the problem does not disappear by closing the eyes.

Companies search the name of job applicants by google in screening. If autocomplete suggests "terrorist" or "child molester" for the name of the applicant, the company is not going to offer a job, even if there is no web page that suggests criminal record.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

To those who are against the ruling, what would you do if you type your name and google suggests "terrorist", "bomber", "fugitive", or "murderer"?

I'd set up a webpage and make some dosh from ads. Life gives you lemons, make terrorade.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

If autocomplete suggests "terrorist" or "child molester" for the name of the applicant, the company is not going to offer a job, even if there is no web page that suggests criminal record.

Let's be realistic.

1 - Worlds like "child molester" or "terrorist" only appear in very rare circumstances after typing in someone's name.

2 - People are well aware that multiple people can have the same name. If there's anyone out there called Richard Reid who has successfully got a job in the last few years, it contradicts your statement.

3 - Employers look more at your LinkedIn profile or other evidence of your professional activities.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Nessie, I do not understand. How can you earn money? Autocomplete just suggests "terrorist" or so but does not give link to your HP.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

davestrousers,

And why is it so hard for google to dissociate the particular name and the suggestion?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Don't use Google search. There are other, better options.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@Surf

Indeed there are better options. I recommend "crazylibertarianhatethepoor.com" ; )

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I do not know why "Don’t use Google" can be a solution.

This case is quite different from government making google to hide some facts.

This is a case where google's autocomplete wrongfully associate the man's name with a crime. Google knows for sure their autocomplete service is not perfect, and is prone to strange suggestions. This was actually their chance to improve their service for the general users. They could have opened a customer desk to receive complaint about their autocomplete service for continued improvement. I do not know why they want to stick to their bad service when they can, and they are ordered by court to modify the association between the man's name and the crime word.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

let's google our own names and see what comes up......... look that is me ...... whoa no it is not i am taking google to court !!!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Firstly it is not auto search it is suggested words based on what OTHER PEOPLE are searching for.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

When I googled Google on Google, one of the suggestions was "goo" ha ha lol

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Sorry to the man in question, for sure, but I'm not entirely sure that even IF Google complied with the ruling it would solve his 'mental anguish'.

The "mental anguish" is as a result of his sudden firing from his employer and his difficulty in getting a job.

A little advice from expecting parents.

Come up with a unique kanji name for your kids.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@nigelboy Unique kanji are limited to a certain strokes per character and by wikipedia's account there are 2232 kanji that can be legally used for a name.

to Tokyo, You just opened the judicial flood gates. Yahoo, Bing, and any other search engine can no be sued if they feel stress from their name showing up on a search query.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Unique kanji are limited to a certain strokes per character and by wikipedia's account there are 2232 kanji that can be legally used for a name.

Hence, hundred of thousands of combinations along with Ateji which substantially minimizes incidents like this. Thanks.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Has there ever been a ruling that Google has ever complied with? Normally they just go around in their van listening in to your Wifi sticking their fingers up at the police and EU.

Yes/No?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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