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Monday, March 26, 2012
Japan Court Orders Google To Suspend Autocomplete Function

Google was ordered by the Tokyo District Court to suspend its autocomplete search function after a man alleged that it violated his privacy, according to a Kyodo News story published on the Japan Times website.

The Tokyo District Court approved a petition demanding that Google suspend its autocomplete search feature for Internet browsers after a man alleged that it breached his privacy and got him fired, his lawyer said Sunday.

Google refused to suspend the feature, saying that its headquarters in the United States would not be regulated by Japanese law and that the case did not warrant deleting the autocomplete suggestions related to the petition under its in-house privacy policy, lawyer Hiroyuki Tomita said.

The man claims that Google's autocomplete feature likely played a role when he suddenly lost his job several years ago and caused several companies to subsequently reject him when he applied for new jobs. He discovered that when people type his name into Google's search engine, words suggesting criminal acts, which he is unfamiliar with, appear.

Before turning to the court last October, the man had asked Google to delete certain words. Google rejected the request on the grounds that the suggested words were being selected automatically.

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