A Japanese court has ordered Google to shut down its autocomplete feature in Japan after a man took a complaint to court that said autocomplete feature was casting him in a negative light. The mans’ name was not revealed, though the complaint said autocomplete coupled his named with over 10,000 negative words, and it is negatively affecting his career.
The report comes from the Mainichi Daily News, although the link appears to have broken. The man’s lawyer states that this autocomplete issue could affect people outside of this specific case, and could cause irreparable harm due to associating a person or small company with such negativity.
Before taking the case to court, the man reportedly contacted Google and asked them to disassociate the negative words with his name, but Google declined the request, stating that the autocomplete association did not violate his privacy, as the associations aren’t made intentionally, but mechanically.
As one might imagine, Google is choosing not to shut down the autocomplete feature, stating that the company is situated in the United States, and does not have to oblige Japanese law.
Aside from hilarious search autocompleted search results that you wouldn’t have expected to turn up when searching for something fairly benign, the autocomplete feature can do its own bit of harm if manipulated properly, as Google bombing can legitimately create new autocomplete results, coinciding with whatever the bomber is going for. Luckily for Google, a United States court didn’t order them to suspend the autocomplete feature.
(via The Next Web)
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