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back to article Google in dock again over defamatory auto-complete

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 …

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Do these idiots actually believe ...

... that they are the only people on the entire planet with their given name?

And the judge(/jury?) agrees? The mind absolutely boggles.

Stupidity is, indeed, infinite.

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FAIL

Re: Do these idiots actually believe ...

Whether the plaintiff believes he's the only person on the planet with the same same is irrelevant if there's evidence his employer was that stupid, and fired him because of it. Of course, it might make more sense to sue his employer for stupidity/unfair dismissal, but I've no idea what Japanese law says on that.

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Trollface

INFAMY

INFAMY! INFAMY! THEY'VE ALL GOT IT INFAMY!

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Jad
Go

Re: Do these idiots actually believe ...

the best phrase there was "... which link through to articles defaming him ..."

so if they link to pages with him on them then as far as I'm concerned they are legitimate searches and legitimate suggestions :)

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Re: Do these idiots actually believe ...

It's possible. I'm the only person on the part of the planet that Google has indexed with my full name.

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Re: Do these idiots actually believe ...

As someone who was born one year before an actor with the same name became famous, I can sympathize with these people, but still, grow some thicker skin.

Worse, there was a bishop with my name, as well as a governor with politics just this side of Hugo Chavez. That was embarassing.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Do these idiots actually believe ...

Well I am fairly certain that I am the only person in the world with my first name. So my full name is definitely unique to me.

Anon for as that is the only way I can be.

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xyz
Happy

Re: Do these idiots actually believe ...

Yup...I'm one with a unique given name, oh and a surname that is unique to my family (but that can be directly used in 2 other languages on 2 different continents to mean different things in those tongues), so..... can it Mr."As a noun Jake is a slang word that refers to a dangerous potion of methylated spirits made by hobos during the Depression"

I take it you are probably a software dev for HP and therefore excused for your lack of brain.

Luckily neither usage of my given or surname translates as "child molesting dog screwer" or similar

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Re: Do these idiots actually believe ...

On the other hand...

Surnames in Japanese are drawn from a relatively small (~2000) official set of Kanji characters, all of which have other readings. To see one side of this,do a machine-translation on some Japanese company press releases, and you'll see some very strange words appearing where names are used "said Mr Inlet Asking"

The lack of line-break and word-break characters means that Japanese and Chinese ask more of a natural-language parser than western scripts, and there can often be more than one reading of a sequence of characters. It is quite possible that the three or four Kanji characters of this man's name are also found in the text of other articles with a wholly different context, and many Japanese surnames are composed of nouns. For instance, the Japanse tyre company Bridgestone got its name by its founder swapping the two Kanji characters of his surname, Ishibashi (ishi:石:Stone -bashi:橋:Bridge).

And anyone who thinks employers don't use Google to vet potential employees is living in dreamland. It's quick, and nobody will ever know you've done it.

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@xyz (was: Re: Do these idiots actually believe ... )

"can it"? Seriously? ::giggles:: I haven't heard/read that one since I was in 7th grade :-)

Your "unique given name" is probably a figment of your imagination ... but if it is, in fact, unique, any links that google has tied to it *probably* are actually referring to you. Think about it.

My handle on ElReg means nothing, any more than yours does.

Your ad hominem, on the other hand, speaks volumes.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Do these idiots actually believe ...

"...I'm the only person on the part of the planet [sic] that Google has indexed with my full name..."

Me too. All you John Smiths and Dave Browns just aren't trying hard enough.

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Happy

Re: Do these idiots actually believe ...

I've never checked (it would feel narcissistic), but I suspect my name is unique - how many people called "Intractable" have you met?

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Facepalm

Who's been searching?

It's entirely possible that the man has typed in the auto-completed words and phrases himself.

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Coat

Guess the name...

...Coksu Wan perhaps?

ps isn't that Microsoft ad annoying?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Guess the name...

have to agree about the ad, stuck with using IE at work and can't get rid of the stupid thing.

Anon as I probably shouldn't be seeing it quite as often as I am....

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Re: Guess the name...

May I suggest using the mobile version of elreg? m.theregister.co.uk = much less annoying ads

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Re: Guess the name...

What Microsoft ad?

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WTF?

Nuts

Totally bonkers. I could maybe understand it if Google Search knew that a person's name was being typed in, but not otherwise.

And another thing - why is the name not being published 'for obvious reasons'? That is just playing into the hands of the idiots - acting as if there was already a law against it. Do we stop writing articles about people like (eg) Brian Wankum now? And will this post now get moderated out 'for obvious reasons'?

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FAIL

Am I the only one that's a tad disappointed that when I type my name in (either web handle or real name) that I don't get anything as interesting as the examples listed.

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Meh

Bullshit

If the Japanese guy was serious he would have killed himself in shame. The fact he didn't means he's full of shit and is just trying to make a quick buck.

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Just remove the auto complete feature

its more trouble than its worth for google it seems.

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Complete and utter b***ocks

These cases should be dismissed with prejudice as extreme stupidity. If you want the defamatory articles removed you get the website hosting them to remove them, then they will dissapear from Google. You can't just pick on Google as an easy target.

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Re: Complete and utter b***ocks

RTA. The complaint is not about search results but about the auto-complete suggestions.

Whilst I would agree that the complainers ought to get a life, it does seem to me that the value of auto-complete, which is pretty near zero at the best of times, could easily be sent negative by only a handful of legal traumas such as this. Google must reckon there's an important point of principle to be stood up for. At a wild guess, I'd say it was the principle that it is reasonable to deploy non-malicious algorithms with non-zero failure rates.

OTOH, legal systems probably *don't* like automated systems with long memories that simply record what the public are interested in rather than what they *ought* to be interested in. (The phrase "super-injunction" springs to mind.)

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Ru
WTF?

Re: "You can't just pick on Google as an easy target"

Did you really just suggest that a phenomenally rich multinational corporation was an easy target?

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Its not the articles that are defamatory though. The articles are genuine but are brought up when this chap types in his names thus implicitly linking him to the said articles.

So, if a Danny B had committed rape (but not me) and I type in Danny B and the article comes up Google, under UK law at least, are potentially defaming me as they are publishing the fact that I am a rapist. Bear in mind that it is the publisher, in this case Google, who are should be brought to task.

Not saying the that laws on defamation etc are perfect but I for one would be a bit upset if I typed my name into Google and a whole load of dodgy articles came up...

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Stop

The Googlebot comes here...

...and you just created a web page which has the words "Daniel Bower" in close proximity to the words "committed rape" and "I am a rapist". Welcome to the world of the defamed.

This occurs because of Jonathan's Second Law of Information Retrieval: The set of words in a document do NOT tell you what the document is about. That is to say, the meaning comes in the grammar and semantics linking the words together. Google is just a huge index of words, after all.

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Happy

Poor Adolf Hitler

1. Change name to Adolf Hitler

2. Get offended at Google autocomplete outrageously suggesting that I was involved in genocide

3. ????

4. Profit

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Happy

Re: Poor Adolf Hitler

Godwin bet $5 you'd say that. </jk>

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How is the autocomplete generated?

Is the autocomplete generated from phrases found in web pages? Or is it generated from lots of people searching on that phrase?

If the latter, then any defamation is by the people searching that term. And it would be possible to add an autocomplete for your least favourite politician by getting lots of people to search on the required phrase.

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Holmes

Re: How is the autocomplete generated?

Is the autocomplete generated from phrases found in web pages? Or is it generated from lots of people searching on that phrase?

Both most likely and most likely even more variables included.

And it would be possible to add an autocomplete for your least favourite politician by getting lots of people to search on the required phrase.

Google bombs exist not only on auto complete but with simple links. Do you not remember "go to hell" phrase pointing at microsoft.com?

Google translate is even worse, some languages are full of insane/spoofed stuff purposely made but groups of determined people.

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For some reason my colleague Mr Paedo Burgles keeps having similar problems.

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Anonymous Coward

There was an alleged rapist in London with my name, but also a New Zealand ornithologist, a translator of Beowulf for Penguin, a publican from the Black Country, and, getting more Google search results than the rest, an American baseball player.

-Anonymous, because with the information I've supplied, you might be able to guess my name. An upvote for anybody who does.

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Anonymous Coward

I've seen this trick before.....

......your name's Rumplestiltskin isn't it !?!

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Happy

@Anon 13.47

David W*****

Sorry, couldn't help myself :-)

Asterisk to protect the innocent, but I'm not wrong, am I?

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Anonymous Coward

I solved this confusion years ago

I solved this confusion years ago by changing my name to a randomly selected GUID

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Unhappy

Re: I solved this confusion years ago

You do realise that there are *many* examples out there of programmers re-using GUIDs?

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Well I changed my name to

Malcolm Peter Brian Telescope Adrian Umbrela Stand Jasper Wednesday (pops mouth twice) Stoatgobbler John Raw Vegetable (whinnying) Arthur Norman Michael (blows squeaker) Featherstone Smith (whistle) Northgot Edwards Harris (fires pistol, then 'whoop') Mason (chuff-chuff-chuff-chuff) Frampton Jones Fruitbat (squeaker) Gilbert (sings) 'We'll keep a welcome in the' (three shots) Williams If I Could Walk That Way Jenkin (squeaker) Tiger-drawers Pratt Thompson (sings) 'Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head' Darcy Carter (horn) Pussycat (sings) 'Don't Sleep In The Subway' Barton Mainwaring (hoot, 'whoop') Smith.

But I misspelled 'umbrella' so I should be right.

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Meh

Ego stroking

My auto complete just comes up with "Actor" ... I'll take that - better than Satanist anyway!

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