Japanese man takes on Google

Tokyo's District Court has ordered Google to suspend its auto-complete function over privacy breaches. (ABC)
PHOTO

Tokyo's District Court has ordered Google to suspend its auto-complete function over privacy breaches. (ABC)

Last Updated: Mon, 26 Mar 2012 17:52:00 +1100

A Japanese court has ordered search giant Google to suspend its auto-complete function because it breaches one man's privacy

The Tokyo District Court approved a petition by the man, who claimed typing his name into the search engine generated a suggestion linking him to crimes he did not commit, his lawyer, Hiroyuki Tomita, said.

Mr Tomita added that since these postings began appearing on the Internet over the last few years, his client has had difficulty finding work, with his online reputation always in question.

Auto-complete is a function provided by many search engines that predicts what a user may be looking for. It is often based on what previous users have searched for when they typed the same initial letters of a word.

Mr Tomita said the auto-complete function was problematic because it guides users to sites that may contain false or misleading information.

Google has responded to the man's complaints by saying that since the results are compiled automatically there is no intrusion of privacy, Tomita said.

The petition was approved by the court on March 19, but Google has so far refused to take action, saying Japanese law does not apply to its US headquarters and its own corporate privacy policy, Tomita told reporters.

The man may seek financial damages in a bid to press Google to erase the suggested search, said Mr Tomita.

Google has told Japanese network NHK that it was considering its response.

    Features

    News programs on Australia Network

    News programs on Radio Australia

    ABC News