Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) was instructed by a Japanese court to delete the search results that link a person to a crime he did not commit.
The Asahi Shimbun and other local media reported that the Tokyo District Court issued a provisional order indicating that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) must delete almost 50% of the 237 entries on the search results related to the name of the plaintiff.
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Some search results compromise complainant’s privacy
The person filed an injunction against the search engine giant in June. The man argued that the search results from Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) suggested that he was involved in a crime. According to the complainants, the search data compromised his privacy and poses a threat to his daily life.
Tokyo District Judge Nobuyuki Seki stated in his order that some of Google’s search results infringed the personal rights of the complainant.
“Google, which manages the search engine, has the obligation to delete them. The man received tangible damage from the search results, which give the impression that he is a bad man,” according to the judge.
Technology observes believed that it is the first time for a Japanese court to order a search engine company like Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) to delete its search results. However, there is a previous court ruling in the country related to certain aspects of the search engine giant’s “auto complete” function.
Last year, A Japanese lower court ordered the company to delink words in its auto complete function to prevent the search engine from suggesting that crimes were committed when users typed a person’s name. The lower court’s ruling was overturned by Tokyo High Court in January.
Google Inc considering an appeal
A spokesman for Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) confirmed the order from the Tokyo District Court. “We’ve just received the order, so we are reviewing the order,” said the spokesman. He added that the company complies with legal take-down notices, but it is also reviewing its options including an appeal.
Right to be forgotten
The European Court of Justice ruled that individuals have the right to be forgotten and they can request search engine operators including Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) to delete their personal data.