The Tokyo District Court recently released a provisional order to Google Inc. to delete an estimated half or around 120 of the 237 total search results for a specific Japanese man who is accused of committing a crime he did not commit. Last June, the man in question requested an injunction regarding this matter due to the fact that it violates his privacy and poses as a threat to his current way of life.
Tomohiro Kanda, the lawyer representing the Japanese man refers to the court order as “good news” stating that this decision is beneficial for people who have suffered both physically and psychologically due to the invasion of privacy online.
Nobuyuki Seki, the judge in-charge of the case remarked that some of the search results were “infringing personal rights”. He also remarked that “Google, which manages the search engine, has the obligation to delete them. The man received tangible damage from the search results, which give the impression that he is a bad man.”
It is believed that this ruling is the first of its kind in Japan especially when it comes to removing search results. Other similar ruling often focuses on the “auto complete” function. A similar case was also released last May wherein European Court of Justice said that individuals have the right to request Google to delete their personal data that is produced by the search engine. This is often referred to as the “right to be forgotten” which is applicable if the personal data is considered outdated or inaccurate.
As for Google, a company representative commented that the company has just received a court order, and they are in the process of reviewing it. Google is also determined to study the options available to them as well as the possibility of an appeal. Though that is the case, the company representative assured that Google complies with legal take-down notices once a case has been properly reviewed by the company.