Google algorithm and the auto-complete function has landed the search engine giant back in court again. This time it is a man from Japan who alleges that he lost his job with the auto complete bringing up criminal acts when his name is typed into the search box. The man demands that the defaming words be removed and that he gets compensated for all the embarrassment he has had to go through.
Clearly a case of reputation damage and though the court has ruled that the offending words be removed Google has towed the ‘not subject to Japanese law’ line. However, the present case is about compensation and yet again Google defence points out that such cases are rare and the algorithm decides things on what is already available online.
A man from Italy won a case against Google for similar reasons and so did a Frenchman who had to deal with words like ‘rapist’ being suggested with his name. Google does screen for pornography, profanity etc, so can easily oblige if a court sees it as having caused reputation damage to a plaintiff.
However, with Google claiming to have more and more requests from governments to remove content all this could well eat into the brand losing its sheen of being impartial based on its algorithm, which gets tweaked every so often to weed out spam and information of low value among other things. So will Google pay up??