Google has been asked to amend its search algorithm for the first time in Japan, after its autocomplete search results linked a man with crimes that he did not commit. The decision comes a year after the company was asked to provisionally censor its results, which automatically displayed links to websites that defamed the unidentified individual.
Google may not comply because its search operations are not located in Japan
According to the AFP, Google said it would study the ruling. However, it is not required to make the specified change because its search operations are not located in Japan. When Google was asked to install a provisional block last year it did not comply. However, the Tokyo District Court will be ordered to pay ¥300,000 ($3,082) for the "mental anguish" experienced by the man, who is said to have experienced difficulties finding work as a result.
It's not the first time Google has been in hot water over its autocomplete feature — the company was fined and required to censor autocomplete results in January 2012 by a French court for associating an insurance company with the words for "crook" and "con man." Google has said in the past that it could not be made liable for autocomplete results because they are automatically generated, but that argument doesn't appear to hold much water.