It looks as though Pandora’s Box has been opened as a Hong Kong court recently ruled in favor for a local tycoon to actually bring Google to court because its autocomplete feature automatically added the term “triad,” which happens to be a popular term that describes Chinese criminal gangs. To rub salt into the wound, the word “perversion”, too, would be added to his name no thanks to the autocomplete feature whenever a search is performed.
Google’s point of view? They are not held liable for the way the autocomplete feature works, as it will offer suggestions automatically depending on how popular certain searches are. The High Court of Hong Kong however, dismissed Google’s claims earlier today, and claimed that Google would have to carry the responsibility for the kind of content that its users read and see.
Albert Yeung, chairman of the Hong Kong-based Emperor Group, kicked off his demands a couple of years ago to have Google do away with the associations that “perversion” and “triad” were attached to his name, citing the possibility of those being defamatory in the long run. What do you think of Google’s autocomplete feature, and how will it impact the rest of the people around the world whose names do have some unsavory terms trailing behind, courtesy of autocomplete? After all, Google’s autocomplete is not immune to the court’s jurisdiction, as its results have been censored by the Tokyo court in the past.