Google has been hit by another privacy setback. A Japanese court has ordered the company to delete some search results related to a man that are considered to be infringing his privacy rights.
Back in June, the man requested an injunction from the court, arguing that the search results lead to articles suggesting he was involved in a past crime, something he says not only compromises his privacy, but also threatens his life.
Judge Nobuyuki Seki of the Tokyo District Court agreed with the man's argument, and said in his ruling that some of the results do “infringe personal rights”, and Google "has the obligation to delete them", ordering the search giant to delete around 120 of about 230 search results.
“This is good news for those who feel their lives are threatened and are sickened physically and psychologically by Google’s search results”, said the plaintiff’s lawyer, Tomohiro Kanda. “It was groundbreaking that the court didn’t see the search engine in a special light as it had been before”.
Kanda also said that it is likely the first time a Japanese court has ordered a search engine operator to delete search results, adding that the Mountain View, California-based company has already deleted some of the search results.
“We remove pages from our search results when required by local law — including Japan’s long-standing privacy and defamation laws”, Google said. “We’re currently reviewing this preliminary injunction from the Tokyo District Court”.
Last year, a Tokyo court issued a provisional order requesting Google to remove specific search terms from its "autocomplete" feature. The news also comes a few months after the Court of Justice of the European Union ordered Google to delete search results related to a Spanish man, saying that individuals have the right to be forgotten.