Japan court orders Google to remove search results

AP News
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Posted: Oct 10, 2014 12:29 PM
Japan court orders Google to remove search results

TOKYO (AP) — A Japanese judge has ordered Google to remove search results of a man's unflattering past in an order the plaintiff's lawyer compared to Europe's "right to be forgotten" ruling.

The Tokyo District Court ordered Google Japan on Thursday to remove search results that hinted at the man's relations with a criminal organization after he complained his privacy rights were violated.

Google Inc. spokesman Taj Meadows said the company has a standard process for removal requests, and people can come to Google.

"We remove pages from our search results when required by local law, including Japan's longstanding privacy and defamation laws," he said. He said the company was reviewing the ruling.

The plaintiff's lawyer, Tomohiro Kanda said the case addressed privacy, defamation and other issues defined by Japanese law but also took the European "right to be forgotten" ruling in May as an example and used some of its logic and language.

In that case, Europe's highest court ruled Google should delete references to negative past information, including old debts and past arrests. Google has scrubbed more than 200,000 Web links from its European search results after reviewing nearly 145,000 individual requests submitted from 32 countries, according to statistics that the Mountain View, California, company released Friday.

"We asserted Google as a controller of the site had the duty to delete the material," Kanda told The Associated Press. "We are fighting the same battle as the one in Europe, and we won a similar decision."

Some experts say Japan needs to define the borders of privacy and search functions.

In the court injunction, Judge Nobuyuki Seki said some of the search results "infringe personal rights," and had harmed the plaintiff, according to Kyodo News.

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Follow Yuri Kageyama on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yurikageyama