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OFF BEAT: Man says Google autocomplete results ruining his reputation

Posted On: Mar. 27, 2012 12:00 AM CST

Google Inc. must modify its “autocomplete” search feature at the behest of a Japanese man who claims the site's automated search results for his name cost him his job several years ago and have prevented him from finding new work, according to news reports.

A Tokyo District Court last week ordered Mountain View, Calif.-based Google to delete certain terms from its autocomplete databanks related to the man's name, which was withheld from public release.

According to the report, the man petitioned the court in October for an injunction after he discovered more than 10,000 search results linking his name to “criminal acts,” with which he claims to be unfamiliar.

Reports say Google has refused to comply with the order on the grounds that the Japanese court does not hold jurisdiction over U.S.-based companies, and that the circumstances of the man's grievance with the results does not rise to its own in-house threshold for altering search results for privacy protection.

The March 19 decision by the Tokyo District Court is believed to be the first-ever judicial demand for removal of terms from an automated search function.