Japan The Latest Country To Mistakenly Say Google Is 'Responsible' For Autocomplete Results
from the that's-not-how-it-works dept
Following on similar results in France and Italy, a court in Japan has ridiculously ordered Google to change its autocomplete results after a guy there got upset that when people searched for his name, one of the autocomplete results involved his name and a criminal act which he did not commit. As we’ve explained over and over again, autocomplete is not someone at Google suggesting this is what the guy did, but rather an algorithmic look at what other people are searching for. Censoring that is silly. It’s censoring factual information. It is true that the search on those terms leads to an apparently faked document which slandered the guy, but you’d think that any legal action would be targeted at whoever made that site, not at Google.
And, yet, the court has said that Google must block the truthful display of what people have searched for.
“A situation has been created by which illegally submitted documents can be easily viewed,” chief judge Hisaki Kobayashi was quoted as saying by the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper.
It seems bizarre that the response to this is to go after Google instead of whoever created and uploaded the false document. Get rid of that document, by the person who allegedly really slandered the guy, and you likely solve the overall problem, without trying to interfere with Google’s algorithms.
As the article notes, an injunction had been issued earlier in the case, which Google ignored. Also, Google doesn’t even run a data center in Japan, so it’s unclear how much jurisdiction the Japanese court even has over forcing Google to change its system.
Either way, it’s getting fairly ridiculous to see so many courts blame Google for the fact that it can find stuff that other people did.