Google Being Ordered To Delete Auto-Complete Terms

Posted Mar 26, 2012

The Tokyo District Court has approved of a petition demanding that Google deletes the terms from their autocomplete search feature for Internet browsers after a man felt that his privacy was breached and got him fired. Google rejected the order saying that their U.S. headquarters will not be regulated by Japanese law. According to Google’s in-house privacy policy, they do no warrant deleting autocomplete-suggested terms related to the petition.

The March 19th case is believed to be the first for Google to order the removal of specific terms from search. The man’s name was withheld, but he sought a court injunction after learning that the autocomplete feature likely played the sudden loss of his job a few years ago.

When searching for his name, Google also suggested criminal acts, which he was unfamiliar with. If a computer-suggested term is selected, more than 10,000 items defaming or disparaging him show up on a list. Before he took the case to court, the man asked Google to delete certain words from the feature. Google said that the suggested words were being selected mechanically and not intentionally.