Feeds

Google in dock again over defamatory auto-complete

Cruel algorithm cost man his job

3 Big data security analytics techniques

A Japanese man is suing Google again after claiming that when his name is typed into the web giant’s search box, the auto-complete function brings up words and phrases related to criminal acts, which link through to articles defaming him.

The man, who unfortunately can’t be named for obvious reasons, filed with the Tokyo District Court, demanding that the offending characters be removed when his name is used as a search term and that Google pay him compensation for the embarrassment it has caused.

Amazingly, the man believes that in a cruel twist of fate, the web mix-up led to his abrupt dismissal from employment several years ago and subsequent difficulty in finding a new role, according to Kyodo news service.

The court has already sided with the man, ordering Google to stop displaying the characters back in March, but the web firm did not comply, forcing the plaintiff to return to court and demand financial compensation for the defamation he suffered.

This isn’t the first time Google has gotten into trouble for the unexpected side-effects of its autocomplete feature.

It lost a case in Milan last year after an angry Italian gent complained his name was autocompleted with words such as truffatore (con man) and truffa (fraud), while a Paris court ruled against it in 2010 after the plaintiff was associated with terms such as “rapist” and “satanist”.

Google’s defence in these situations is that such cases are few and far between, not the result of any human intervention and that data is updated frequently to stay current.

In other words – “sorry, but that’s the way the algorithm crumbles”.

Google could not immediately be reached for comment on the Japanese case. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
Number crunching suggests Yahoo! US is worth less than nothing
China and Japan holdings worth more than entire company
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.