Google search results given “free speech” protection in Japan

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A “Right To Be Forgotten” case was recently struck down by the Japanese Supreme Court, giving a type of “freedom of speech” status to Google search results, as reported in a recent issue of the Wall Street Journal. This was reported as a significant legal precedent.

The two men in question attempted to argue a “Right To Be Forgotten” issue in their cases, but the Japanese high court did not agree with the arguments in either case.

One man requested the court order a removal of the information about him on Google searches indexes which revealed his past convictions for child pornography.  The Japanese court stated that public interests in the information had to be weighed against individual harm and so ruled against the man’s law-suit, stating that this background information was a matter of great public concern.

The court stated that Google search information is protected as a type of freedom of speech which outweighs the European trend which in some cases gives people the “right to be forgotten.”

Google representatives stated they approve the decision but will consider implementing some kind of process that will allow people to request a removal of embarrassing information from their indexes before such an issue moves into a country’s judicial system.

The European case that signifies a beginning of a person’s “right to be forgotten” involved a resident of Spain in a 16-year long lawsuit to have information about previous real estate debts stricken from Google’s Spanish index.

 

 

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