Google has won a battle in Japan that is eerily similar to that with Europe’s “right to be forgotten” ruling.
The Japanese Supreme Court ruled earlier today and dismissed four cases against the U.S tech giant seeking the removal of allegedly defamatory comments in its Google Maps service. This includes one particularly high-profile case involving a medical clinic.
Back in 2015, the Chiba District Court ruled that Google had to delete the comments involving the medical clinic, but the tech giant appealed the decision and has prevailed as the winner.
While the ruling dismisses all the previous cases the primary question is why were they ever brought into question. The comment on said clinic appear to be legitimate thus there is no reason for them to be removed. Google does remove comments if they are deemed spam, but they do not remove a review just because the company does not agree with the customer’s review.
“We’re pleased that with these latest rulings, the Supreme Court has unanimously recognized, based on existing privacy and defamation laws, that any decision to delete information from search results should prioritize the public’s right to information,” Google told TechCrunch in a statement.
The U.S. firm previously argued against the removals, stating that they did not violate its terms and served an important purpose for the public.
“While we provide tools that allow business owners to respond to reviews, and we take down posts that violate our policies, we believe online reviews, positive and negative, are a critical tool for people to give and read direct feedback about businesses,” it said in 2015.