Google autocomplete gets slammed in Japanese court

Google's autocomplete feature is very helpful 99.9 percent of the time when you want to search for a particular name or item. One Japanese man, however, discovered that the autocomplete feature was anything but helpful and now a Japanese court has agreed with him.

According to a feature on the Japan Times website, via News.com, the Tokyo District Court has now ordered Google to remove certain terms from its search autocomplete feature. The order comes after the unnamed Japanese man discovered that when typing his name into Google, autocomplete brought up thousands of suggestions that linked this man's name to criminal acts.

The man said he was unexpectedly fired from his job a few years ago and has been unable to find new work because of this issue. He says that he went to Google to ask them to remove some of the terms from the autcomplete feature but Google refused, saying that since the terms generated alongside his name were created mechanically, there was no intent by Google to attack the man.

Google has now said it is looking over the Japanese court decision but so far it has not commented on if it will abide by its ruling.

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9 Comments

NeoNut said,
As a software developer it makes me sad that the third suggestion for my software is "nulled".
Make cheap prices and build good software then you won't have a nulled problem.

or you know... companies could actually do some fact finding research instead of just jumping to conclusions on what they find on a darn search engine! just because its on the internet, doesn't mean its right or true!... stupid employers...

neufuse said,
or you know... companies could actually do some fact finding research instead of just jumping to conclusions on what they find on a darn search engine! just because its on the internet, doesn't mean its right or true!... stupid employers...

Agreed.

Tough situation - an unfortunate coincidence, causing grief, but as a result of something quite reasonable.

If everyone who had a similar issue complained, it would be a major problem for autocomplete - there's just too much potential for linking 'bad' things, resulting in a fairly useless autocomplete. But that doesn't mean autocomplete *itself* is bad - it's the nature of how humans are not generally uniquely named.

I definitely wouldn't want to be in that guy's position.

rippleman said,
haha, i would be HUGE on this not being true.

Not necessarily. With that many Japanese people, I'm pretty sure people share the same name. He probably has nothing to do with it, it just sucks for him that an evil dude has the same name.

This is so stupid. As if nearly anybody on this planet is the only one who does or has ever had their name. My married name was the same as a porn star, do you think I went around trying to sue Google because people found her if they typed in "my" name? Please. It's not hard to figure out if the person you're dealing with is the same of one (or many) who come up in search results. It's like if you search for "tablet". You will find results about medicine pills, recipes for the Scottish candy, and electronic pad devices. Context, people. Context and bloody common sense. If my potential employer is stupid enough to think I'm a criminal (or porn star) just because we share a name, I don't think I want to work for them anyway.

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