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Google Censorship Crime Japan Your Rights Online

Japanese Court Orders Google To Delete Past Reports Of Man's Molestation Arrest 271

AmiMoJo writes: The Saitama District Court has ordered Google Inc. to delete past reports on a man's arrest over molestation from its online search results after ruling that they violate the man's personal rights. The man, who was arrested about three years ago after molesting a girl under 18, and fined 500,000 yen (£2600, $4000). "He harbors remorse over the incident and is leading a new life. The search results prevent him from rehabilitating himself," the man's defense counsel said. The presiding judge recognized that the incident was not of historical or social significance, that the man is not in public office and that his offense was relatively minor. He concluded there was little public interest in keeping such reports displayed online three years after the incident. The judge acknowledged that search engines play a public role in assisting people's right to know. (AmiMoJo spotted the story on Surado, the new name for Slashdot Japan.)
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Japanese Court Orders Google To Delete Past Reports Of Man's Molestation Arrest

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  • by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Friday July 03, 2015 @08:38PM (#50041841)
    They certainly have a different approach than we do. They fine them, we make them live under bridges.
  • Don't do it in the first place. Not like it's hard to avoid.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 03, 2015 @09:01PM (#50041913)

    Why do arrest records have to be public?

    Lets be real here. If you work in most industries, the first thing the employer is going to do is pull a Lexis-Nexus report, then a NCIC check. These show not just convictions, but -arrests-, and if someone is -arrested- for anything, even if it is a case of a night in the drunk tank, no job. The reason for this is that the HR people I've asked say that a conviction can be bought off, but if a police officer decides to take the time to pull out the handcuffs and do paperwork, the person is a criminal.

    Lets be real, for all but the most heinous crimes, arrest records need to be private, and if the person arrested has charges dropped or was acquitted, the -arrest- record will be expunged.

    Japan is doing the right thing. You have to force private companies with their databases propagating among each other to remove info, or any government expunging of records of people who are perfectly innocent does not matter at all.

    I also respect the fact that even showing someone in chains or handcuffs (other than bondage stuff obviously) implies guilt. During my criminal justice classes, there was definitely a jury bias against a candidate who was forced to wear a belly chain or stun belt versus one who wasn't.

    • by YrWrstNtmr ( 564987 ) on Friday July 03, 2015 @09:17PM (#50041941)
      Why do arrest records have to be public?

      Would you like them to be not public?
      "No, we have no idea where your hubby Joe Smith is. We haven't arrested him"
      'But he was seen in the back of your patrol car!'
      "Nope, sorry lady"
      • by myowntrueself ( 607117 ) on Friday July 03, 2015 @09:56PM (#50042057)

        Why do arrest records have to be public?

        Would you like them to be not public?

        "No, we have no idea where your hubby Joe Smith is. We haven't arrested him"
        'But he was seen in the back of your patrol car!'
        "Nope, sorry lady"

        Theres a country where employers do background checks including looking at arrest records. If you've ever been arrested you'll never get a decent job again. So you were wrongfully arrested, acquitted, maybe the cops were even punished. You were still arrested and you still won't get a job.

        Still want arrest records to be a matter of public record? Better also have laws prohibiting people from refusing a former arrestee a job, just like they do for gays and racial minorities. Mr "Sorry but my religion won't let me hire a gay" has a problem. Mr "Sorry but you were once arrested, I can't give you a job." should also have a problem.

        At most the background check shouldn't be for arrests but for convictions...

        • Mr "Sorry but my religion won't let me hire a gay" has a problem. Mr "Sorry but you were once arrested, I can't give you a job." should also have a problem.

          As a gay man, I'd rather hear "sorry but my religion won't let me hire a gay[sic]" instead of some weird excuse or, worse yet, working for a homophobic employer.

          Still want arrest records to be a matter of public record? Better also have laws prohibiting people from refusing a former arrestee a job, just like they do for gays and racial minorities.

          Those l

        • Theres a country where employers do background checks including looking at arrest records. If you've ever been arrested you'll never get a decent job again. So you were wrongfully arrested, acquitted, maybe the cops were even punished. You were still arrested and you still won't get a job.

          If this is wrong, then we should make it illegal for employers to look at arrest records. But that would be wrong, because it would force people to employ you on false pretenses. You don't want to work for someone who won't ask you about what they find and have an honest dialogue anyway, do you? Oh, you do, because if you don't have money, they will throw you out on the street, and it's a crime to be homeless? Well, let's fix that, instead of hiding information that people need to make intelligent decisions

      • Then seal arrest records six months after a person leaves custody.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Making information public is not a binary thing. I think that's where a lot of confusion comes from on Slashdot, e.g. with the European data protection rules. Sure, some people might know about something, but that's different to everyone knowing or having immediate and easy access to that knowledge.

        His wife might know he was arrested, but employers probably won't because the record isn't in any databases accessible to them.

      • What you don't get is that this is how it works already. And if they can't get away with using cop cars, they'll use taxis [lyricsmode.com]. These laws don't protect you from being kidnapped by the cops and murdered.

        That doesn't mean they're bad laws. Arrest records must be public if we are ever to have a backlash against bad laws. They don't guarantee it, but how will it happen without it?

    • by Kohath ( 38547 )

      "Allegations of police misconduct and widespread false arrests could not be verified by reporters because arrest records in cases where charges are ultimately dropped were made private in 2015."

      The real answer is to make the original records easily viewable on an official government web site, but mandate that "CHARGES DROPPED" or "NOT GUILTY" or some other exculpatory language clearly appear whenever they are viewed.

      Also helpful: fewer laws and fewer police. Every action and inaction doesn't need to be reg

      • The real answer is to make the original records easily viewable on an official government web site, but mandate that "CHARGES DROPPED" or "NOT GUILTY" or some other exculpatory language clearly appear whenever they are viewed.

        Tort law should be able to handle that. That is, I have no problem with people being able to recover damages from Google or newspapers if the text they present doesn't make it crystal clear that the person in question was exonerated.

        Also helpful: fewer laws and fewer police. Every acti

      • by swb ( 14022 )

        The bigger problem is that HR and everyone else who sees arrest records take a "where there's smoke, there's fire" attitude towards arrests, assuming that anyone who got arrested is of questionable character, a troublemaker. Maybe there's even some assumptions that a lot of minor arrestees might get the charges dropped or dismissed.

        They have no subtlety, willingness to understand what happened or differentiate why you got arrested, just that you were arrested.

        Personally, I think arrest records without char

    • In the country where I live, I don't think criminal records are available via on-line services but employers do ask for a copy of your police record. Employers obviously have a bias against anyone who's record isn't blank.

      IMO, asking for such a record should be illegal and instead, employers (subject to signing an NDA) should be allowed to ask the police to verify that the person in question has no convictions *relevant to the job being applied for*.

      I thought I still had mod points. The above comment is t

    • Japan is doing the right thing.

      No, they are not. They are going after Google, which isn't putting these reports online, instead of going after the people who actually do put them online.

      Why do arrest records have to be public?

      Because we don't want police to be able to operate without public scrutiny.

      These show not just convictions, but -arrests-, and if someone is -arrested- for anything, even if it is a case of a night in the drunk tank, no job.

      Well, why are corporations ("HR department") so reluctant to h

      • by sjames ( 1099 )

        I don't know where you live, but in most of the U.S. you can be fired at the drop of a hat with no reason given.

        • I don't know where you live, but in most of the U.S. you can be fired at the drop of a hat with no reason given.

          I didn't say that it was illegal to fire people, I said that it had become costly. You really need to learn to read.

          • by sjames ( 1099 )

            It doesn't cost anything when you do that. That's what I mean by drop of a hat. You should focus on understanding what someone is saying rather than looking for excuses to be a condescending ass.

            • It doesn't cost anything when you do that.

              Pretty much true in an "at will" State. Many, of not most, States are NOT "at will" States.

              And firing a union member is painful pretty much everywhere....

              • And firing a union member is painful pretty much everywhere....

                I wouldn't go into a union business, simple as that. The Unions were a necessary phase in worker's rights, but now they are holding us back and they need to go away and be replaced by rights for all workers. If the Union leaders spent half as much effort to raise the minimum wage on a meaningful schedule as they do on padding their own pockets I might feel differently.

                • The Unions were a necessary phase in worker's rights, but now they are holding us back and they need to go away and be replaced by rights for all workers. If the Union leaders spent half as much effort to raise the minimum wage on a meaningful schedule as they do on padding their own pockets I might feel differently.

                  If unions are obsolete, what does it matter what they spend their time on? They aren't preventing you from lobbying for those rights, are they?

                  • If unions are obsolete, what does it matter what they spend their time on?

                    Because they distract people's time and effort from actually working on worker's rights, and always derail conversations about rights for all workers into how everyone else should unionize. Of course union reps would say that, it creates more jobs for union reps. But it's bullshit.

              • Pretty much true in an "at will" State. Many, of not most, States are NOT "at will" States.

                Even in "at will" states, there are so many other employment protection laws that firing people for no cause is extremely legally risky, and usually incurs other costs. In addition, you can't see the firing in isolation, you need to consider the cost of firing and hiring someone else together.

                • by sjames ( 1099 )

                  Even in "at will" states, there are so many other employment protection laws that firing people for no cause is extremely legally risky

                  Excuses are dirt cheap. As long as the firing can be plausibly claimed not to be motivated by racial or gender discrimination, it's not much problem. Examples seen in the wild include "not meshing with the workplace culture", "poor attitude", "not a good fit for the job", "cutbacks", etc.

                  And that's not even including the tactic of creating so many workplace rules that pretty much every employee will routinely violate one or more of them (and at the manager's discretion, be forgiven).

            • t doesn't cost anything when you do that. That's what I mean by drop of a hat

              Hiring and firing are costly for businesses. Sorry if you don't understand why.

              • by sjames ( 1099 )

                Bald assertions aren't very convincing, sorry. I might as well reply that the moon is made of cheese. There is a cost in the sense that a replacement will need time to get up to speed, but any other costs are self-inflicted damage.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by radarskiy ( 2874255 )

      "Why do arrest records have to be public?"

      Because in criminal law, as opposed to civil law, the public is a party to the case. N. B. criminal cases are tilled "The People vs.". The records of a criminal case show the actions that the State has taken in the name of the People.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        You are talking about charges and the prosecution that the state brings. Merely being arrested often does not lead to a charge or prosecution. Arrest is not the state making a legal judgement and acting, it's the police making a judgement which is then supposed to be checked and overseen by the state.

    • by forand ( 530402 )
      I think that asking a private company (Google) to do the job of the State, keeping records private, is the wrong course of action. If your goal is to have arrest records be private then make the SOURCE of Google's search results remove them, e.g. the state database or historical news reports. It is NOT Google's job to hide these things it is the State's job to make these data private. Now if Google is HOSTING these data then they can be held responsible to remove the, otherwise the State should just go aft
  • Seems logical. And unlikely - for good reasons.

  • one thing that has been proven repeatedly is that people dont change because you punish them. in order for them to change, they have to want to change and even then they are likely to fail. some things just can't be changed without behavioral reconditioning aka "brainwashing" and it's not always permanent.

    as for it's relevance, would you want a guy like this to be a teacher?

    just sayin.

    • You don't actually believe that, because otherwise you'd give up on your sulky teenager, never bother to send anyone to school etc etc. The reality is that the prisons are full of YOUNG people - because they usually commit their offences whilst relatively young but then mature to the point where they stop their crimes. Of course a few don't - but surprisingly the recidivism rates for sexual offences are far lower than that for most offences.
  • I can add a little perspective to this. In Japan there is a very high (over 99%) conviction rate of arrested people. This is for two reasons. Japanese police tend not to arrest someone unless there's more than enough evidence to convict, and to save face Japanese courts tends to convict all edge cases. Innocent until proven guilty is only true in theory in the Japanese system.
    • by rossz ( 67331 )

      There's also a history of the police coercing confessions. They can also keep people locked up for quite a while (10 days) with no contact with family and without charges.

      • by rossz ( 67331 )

        I should add that a judge can extend the length someone can be held without charge and they almost always do. All together, you can be held in isolation for up to 23 days without being charged.

  • by NostalgiaForInfinity ( 4001831 ) on Friday July 03, 2015 @10:13PM (#50042095)

    Google provides search results, not reports. If this report is truly of no public interest anymore, the court should order the people who put the report online to take it offline. The court knows full well that if they ordered the original reports in newspapers and in public records offline, there would be a storm of protest, so they go after Google.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 03, 2015 @10:13PM (#50042097)

    Stop going after search engines. They index the web. Also, they pop up and go under overnight for the most part. Where is Bing mentioned? Yahoo? Duckduckgo? Literally any of the over 700 search engines available on the internet (in just English, not even gonna get into the thousands in other languages) can or have indexed this information. By making Google remove links...you are just forcing HR departments and the press to use other engines. Its little more than a thinly veiled stab at Google for being so popular OR its a display of massive incompetence by elected and appointed officials worldwide.

    If you want to remove information from the web... you must go after the websites. In this instance no, you cannot argue that its undue burden, because there are only a handful of sites that show public arrest information and public court records for each country. Unlike piracy, your average person doesn't care to make their own arrest record index for shits n giggles or as a middle finger to The Man.

    The right to be forgotten is pure censorship. If the government wants to approve it though, they need to get a lot more savvy about technology, the internet and what exactly the fuck a search engine actually does. Cause every day the governments of the world only make themselves appear more and more ignorant by doing this kind of crap.

  • I find it arrogant for any group to tell another they can't handle the truth, so to speak. Maybe arrest records are unreliable metrics. Shouldn't adults be able to figure that out?

    • I find it arrogant for any group to tell another they can't handle the truth, so to speak. Maybe arrest records are unreliable metrics. Shouldn't adults be able to figure that out?

      They are, and they should. The problem, of course, is that the government treats them like they mean something any time they want to look hard on crime, which lends them undeserved credibility — both the statistics, and the government. And by "the government" I mean all of them.

  • If google were a U.S. only, it could shoot the big finger at Japan because of the Speech act [wikipedia.org]. But because Google has assets in Japan, it will have to comply.

    Because of this case and others like it, eventually internationally based search engines will become untenable.

  • Is this guy single? Maybe we should hook him up with Barbra Streisand.
  • .... then why is it impacting the ability for a man to supposedly move on with his life?

    If people care enough about it to allow it to affect how they judge the man today, then it still has at least some historical significance... if for no other reason than to give the people that this man meets the tools with which to know what the truth is. In the end, if he has genuinely repented, then it will still be up to each and every person he meets to evaluate the man for how he presents himself today, and it

  • by rebelwarlock ( 1319465 ) on Saturday July 04, 2015 @06:10AM (#50043003)
    We don't know exactly what this guy did. Grabbing a 15 year old's ass once on public transport is quite a lot different than kidnapping and rape and should be treated as such. If he wants to clean up his act, he should be given a fair chance to do so.
    • We don't know exactly what this guy did. Grabbing a 15 year old's ass once on public transport is quite a lot different than kidnapping and rape and should be treated as such. If he wants to clean up his act, he should be given a fair chance to do so.

      He has a fair chance. He can open an honest dialogue with his potential employer about what he did, and how he has improved himself since then. It's not like his arrest record is more available than those of other prospective employees.

  • Wait one second...

    Actions have persistent consequences?

    I didn't realize that.... I thought we were entitled to always get forgiveness or at least a do-over if we needed it, no matter what we did?

    Signed,
    All of modern culture.

    • Actions have persistent consequences?

      I didn't realize that.... I thought we were entitled to always get forgiveness or at least a do-over if we needed it, no matter what we did?

      Signed,
      All of modern culture.

      Modern culture? Isn't that the core message of Christianity, which is around 2000 years old? And at least some parts of Judaism can also be interpreted that way - Jubilee, sacrifice to pay off sins, etc.

  • The non-existent "Right To Be Forgotten" recently invented by our progressive European friends strikes again.

    And what it means is, as soon as the technologies for altering human memories are perfected, the same "right" will be enforced on humans. In TFA's example, that molested girl herself retains her memory of the crime — and the criminal. Will some future court-decision not order her to undergo a memory-wiping procedure to help the man rehabilitate himself?

    Need not be a crime — your ex-wife

  • The guy was found guilty. This is factual information on a guilty party for a heinous crime. Too bad for him, he made his choices and now has to live with them.

  • Yet. What if that changes? Will Google be allowed to un-delete him? How will they know to do so?

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