Sunday, July 5, 2015

"Court in Japan orders Google to delete past reports of man's arrest"

From Japan Today, 7/4/15:

The Saitama District Court has ordered Google to remove news reports from more than three years ago concerning a man who was arrested on charges of molesting a girl under 18.

Last month, the man filed a suit claiming that Google search results pertaining to his arrest older than three years was a violation of his personal rights, Sankei Shimbun reported.

In 2012, the man was arrested for paying a girl under the age of 18 for sexual favors. He was charged with violating child prostitution laws and fined 500,000 yen. However, his name and news reports regarding the arrest still come up in Google searches.

Claiming that this was an infringement upon his personal rights, the man petitioned to have the information deleted from the search engine. His lawyer told the court his client had been rehabilitated and that it was difficult to get on with his life as long as his arrest record remains online.

In handing down the ruling, the presiding judge said such relatively minor crimes do not hold any particular significance to the public and therefore continuing to display such information three years after the incident does not have much merit for society at large.

Google said it will appeal the decision, saying the ruling violates freedom of expression and information.

VAOJ has long been interested in privacy issues on the internet. While this ruling might at first seem ridiculous (molesting a minor as a minor crime?), it does seem to match the Japanese defamation laws (it doesn't matter whether the guy was guilty or not, the reporting of it hurt his spirit...). Check out the reader comments at the source.


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