Japan recently told Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) that it must change a part of its autocomplete function because of complaints saying that it violates privacy. Google recently was taken to court by an unidentifiable person on the grounds that they believe typing in their name will cause him to be linked to murders that he did not commit. The man’s lawyer, Hiroyuki Tomita, says that his client’s linkage to the murders via Google has ruined his reputation and his hopes to get a job.
Although the Judge did not completely rule that Google should get rid of its autocomplete function, Google has so far not complied with the changes.
Mr.Tomita continued to say that the autocomplete function caused his client’s name to be associated with a man with the same name that had been convicted of murder. The lawyer continued to say that the autocomplete should be altogether taken out because it could lead you to false information.
Google, in recent days, has defended its autocomplete system saying that the results generated were mechanical and not by an individual and is in no way an invasion of privacy. This is not the first time that Google has been in trouble in Japan. In 2010, Google changed its autocomplete system to not use any terms that were related to piracy. However, they still allowed sites with known illegal copyrighted material to be in the search results.
Personally, I do not see the point that this man who is suing Google is trying to make. The point of autocomplete is to relate your search to something that you may be possibly interested in. I do not see necessarily how that could be an invasion of privacy but it should be interesting to see if Google complies with the courts in a timely manner. So far there has been no change to the autocomplete system.
Even if Google was forced to take down its autocomplete feature, it is not a huge deal for Google’s bottom line. Google should just follow the court’s ruling to avoid facing tougher sanctions for not complying. Rather than just fighting the power, go along with it. You are a huge corporation that needs Japan for revenue so just listen to the courts and move forward. I do not see this being an issue for much longer however. Google will change its system and soon everything will be back to normal.