Japanese man sues Google over autocomplete search results

Lawsuit by unnamed Japanese alleges Internet giant's autocomplete feature breached his privacy, seeks damages for sudden job loss and subsequent job rejections.
Written by Ellyne Phneah, Contributor

A Japanese man is suing Google over terms used by its autocomplete search with allegations the Web giant has violated his privacy.

According to his lawyer who was quoted in The Japan Times on Sunday, the lawsuit filed with the Tokyo District Court was seeking damages over results related to criminal acts that appeared when the man's name was typed into Google's search engine. When someone clicks on these search results, defamatory articles would also spring up.

The man, who declined to be named, said this was a factor in the sudden loss of his job several years ago and also caused several companies to reject his subsequent job applications.

The Japanese had filed a petition in the same district court last October, asking Google to delete the terms in question from its search engine. The court approved his petition in March this year, but Google refused on grounds it was not regulated under Japanese law. Before turning to legal recourse, the man had asked the search company to delete certain words but it refused on grounds the words were suggested mechanically, not intentionally, so it did not violate his privacy.

Google has faced criticisms from countries over its privacy policies. South Korean regulators reviewed Google's policy rule changes which were rolled out on Mar. 1 to evaluate if they violated local laws. The Japanese government also issued a public reminder to the Internet giant regarding the country's privacy rules, which was seen as a hint the Google was being monitored closely.

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