It seems that with all the stuff going on in Europe with Right to be Forgotten, it seems that it’s potentially getting popular with other countries. There could be a version of Right to be Forgotten in Japan soon, as two Japanese courts who recently ordered Yahoo Japan and Google to remove indexed reports of criminal activity under the idea that a person’s privacy rights were being violated. The cases were discussed in the Japan Times.
There were courts in both Sapporo and Tokyo that seemed to arrive at the same result in two distinct cases. This might be a couple of small time cases right now, but I can see this growing in popularity over time. The articles didn’t provide any facts about the cases in any detail, but it did say that an arrest record in one case and alleged criminal activity in another where in the past. The discovery of these facts in search results are violating the involved individuals’ privacy rights.
Google was ordered to remove search results that pertained to an individual’s arrest in 2003 in the Sapporo case. In the story, Google previously declined to do so at the individual’s request. The court felt that since the event took place 12 years in the past, there wasn’t any point in keeping the record of the arrest “in the public domain.” This means that there was no reason to keep this information in Google’s search results. In the end, because of this, the individual’s rights to privacy had been violated.
The report didn’t discuss anything about the criteria being used to evaluate the requests and determine when the information was to be removed from search records. The other issue is that these were low-level courts, so it seems that any major legal sway that they have is unclear.