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Japanese court tells Google to delete search results linking a man to crime

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Not all online search removal requests come from Europe these days. A Tokyo court has ordered Google to delete 122 search results that linked an innocent man's name to crime, reportedly violating his rights and tarnishing his reputation. The judge in the case, Nobuyuki Seki, rejected Google's arguments that search engines are merely providers and aren't obliged to delete offending results; there was "tangible damage" here, he said. Google is waiting on confirmation of the verdict before it considers an appeal, but it won't be surprising if the company fights back. The internet firm has a long history of resisting censorship, no matter how well-intentioned it may be.

Regardless of who wins, this isn't likely to be the first step on a path to Europe-like "right to be forgotten" laws. The Japanese ruling doesn't set a legal precedent entitling people to remove themselves from the web, and it doesn't affect anything more than those 122 forbidden listings. However, it won't be surprising if similar removal requests pop up now that at least one complaint has passed muster.

[Image credit: Laurent Neyssensas, Flickr]

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