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Crime Japan The Courts Your Rights Online

Japanese Court Demands 'Right To Be Forgotten' For Sex Offender (thestack.com) 292

An anonymous reader writes: A Tokyo court has ordered that Google remove any results linked to the arrest of a sex offender, after a judge ruled that he deserves to rebuild his life 'unhindered' by online records of his criminal history. Citing the right to be forgotten, the Saitma district court demanded the removal of all personal information online related to the conviction. Judge Hisaki Kobayashi argued that, dependent on the nature of the crime, an individual should be able to go through a fair rehabilitation process, which would include a clean sheet on their online records after a certain amount of time has passed. In this case, the unnamed man had requested that information from more than three years ago, related to his child prostitution and pornography crimes, be removed from Google's results.
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Japanese Court Demands 'Right To Be Forgotten' For Sex Offender

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  • Seems reasonable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 01, 2016 @01:12PM (#51615921)

    Do the crime, do the time, that should be the end of it.

    The West's obsession with adding people to lists, especially "sex offender registries" which make it nearly impossible to live in any city environment, really amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. If you're still supposedly a threat to society then you should still be in jail. If you're OK to be released from jail then you've paid your dues to society and you should regain all of your rights.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      While I would normally agree with you, I think "child prostitution and pornography" is an exception...

      Does the kids who have had their lives abused get to forget after 3 years?

      I hate to be "Think of the Childrens!!!" because it's trope and it gets pushed too often... but seriously... fuck this guy and let the world know that he destroyed some kid(s) life(lives).
      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 01, 2016 @01:31PM (#51616149)

        If the punishment is not adequate, then increase the punishment. When the punishment is fulfilled, the criminal has paid his dues in full. That's the way justice works. You don't get to pick and choose where and when to apply justice. Either you apply justice consistently or you admit that you believe in inequality.

        • The question is while the punishment might be filled and dues paid per law. A lot of sex offenders are repeat offenders. They can go years and sometimes decades between offenses and then they get caught with their pants down

          Now some people are guilty of circumstance. I heard about one where a drunk couldn't get his keycard to work at a hotel, walked down stairs. Told the hire staff the wrong room number. They gave him a new card for the wrong room and he climbed into bed with whom he thought was his SO a

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            A lot of sex offenders are repeat offenders. They can go years and sometimes decades between offenses and then they get caught with their pants down

            The same is true for murderers yet there's no such thing as a "murder offender registry." A person who kills someone can get out of prison and attempt to go on about their life without having to notify all their neighbors, they don't have restrictions saying they can't live within 1000 feet of a school or church, etc.

            I'm not advocating for a "murder offender registry." I'm pointing out that it's stupid to have such a registry for sex offenders when people who literally kill other human beings aren't even su

          • There's a solution for that though: Make a comprehensive psychiatric review and analysis of the offender's recidivism probabilities part of the sentencing process, as well as a prerequisite for release. Include psychiatric and re-socialization treatment as mandatory part of the institutionalized rehabilitation program and any probation or parole. Personally, I think that really should be how ALL crimes are handled. Our penal program is too focused on simple-minded revenge, with perhaps a minor in deterr

            • I like the concept of what you are saying, but implementing this appropriately and consistently seems impossible. As much as people like to think psychology is a quantifiable science, it is far from it. Nor can the tests account for the effects of drugs and alcohol. Maybe they are great when they are sober, but monsters when they are drunk.

          • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

            The question is while the punishment might be filled and dues paid per law. A lot of sex offenders are repeat offenders. They can go years and sometimes decades between offenses and then they get caught with their pants down

            Then it sounds like the current method of justice is not rehabilitating people properly. The solution isn't to let the person back on the street wearing a scarlet letter for the rest of their life. If the punishment isn't long enough, increase the jail time. If a jail doesn't have any effect on it (a mental issue), then consoling or other methods should be used. If the convict isn't safe to be around children in his current state, how is the "correct solution" to let him potentially get near children and th

        • Actually part of the punishment is being on the list. He has not fulfilled the punishment until he has been on the list for a long long time.
        • In my mind tattooing "rock spider" on his forehead is how natural justice works, he would be hunted by his actions for life, just like his victims.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        "I hate to be X, but I am X."

        1) Child pornography and prostitution could mean sex with or photograph of a 17 year old. Just like, according to the English legal definition, copying a photograph of a 17 year old is in law defined as "making a photograph". So, all those people convicted of "making" child pornography and plastered over the red tops may have done nothing more than had someone in their cache who looks 17.

        2) The only victim who has no chance at recovery is a murder victim. I've been technically s

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          In Japan the age of consent is 13. So this guy was abusing children 12 and under.
          • Seriously, 13? I've know 30 year old Japanese girls that still looked 12... I'm moving to Japan!
          • In Japan the age of consent is 13.

            That's sort of true. That's the absolute minimum age for allowable sexual activity under the law.

            So this guy was abusing children 12 and under.

            [Citation needed]

            It's more complicated than a single age. (See, for example, here [wikipedia.org] and here [ageofconsent.com].)

            Basically, local laws may apply. There are lots of local "corrupting a minor" statutes. Depending on prefecture, the actual age of consent for sexual activity with an adult is usually 16 or 18. And any activity with a minor under 18 could constitute some sort of criminal offense.

      • by tnk1 ( 899206 )

        I don't think it is a matter of punishment here or even being allowed to live without the crime impacting his future. The problem is that such people end up being released from jail and becoming homeless and unemployable.

        Now, there are some really, really dangerous people out there. And those people should not be in the community, because they will threaten children again. So the answer there is for people like that to never leave some form of custody.

        But if you're actually releasing these people, and ex

      • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2016 @02:48PM (#51616765)

        Again: Either he is a threat to society. Then keep him locked up. Or he is not. Then there is no reason to keep him on a shame list.

        Choose!

      • Child prostitution can be triggered by paying a senior high school student for sex. Basically it's a part of the rule of illegal to have sex with people under 18, consensual or not, already quite controversial. Moreover these are not rape charges, I don't except the man to be a threat of he leads an otherwise normal life. Ditto for pornography. If anything, continued harsh persecution is more likely to force him cause harm by being a mass killer.
    • by Megol ( 3135005 )

      West? US != the "western world"* and AFAIK only the US have the registration + public shaming mechanisms integrated into law.

      As this case isn't just about a sex offence but prostitution of child(ren) I think the individual shouldn't be allowed to "be forgotten".

      • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

        As this case isn't just about a sex offence but prostitution of child(ren) I think the individual shouldn't be allowed to "be forgotten".

        Knowing Japan, I suspect he paid a high-schooler for services and they both knew exactly what they were doing. If it isn't simply a possession of child porn case.
        There is no mention of rape, and rape is what you get when you deal with children under the age of consent (instead of just minors).

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Xenx ( 2211586 )
      Let's be honest here. Jail time is designed to be a deterrent/punishment to unwanted behavior. There may be programs to rehabilitate, but that's only secondary at best. Further, there is no real way to accurately judge whether an individual will commit again after release. As a society, we have decided that people deserve the right to be released after serving their time. We've also determined that recidivism is a real concern. Registries are an attempt at trying to let them out of prison, knowing people ca
      • Re:Seems reasonable (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 01, 2016 @01:46PM (#51616279)

        It is near the top of a very short list of big affronts, because the implementation does not live up to the spirit of the law. Registries increase the risk of recidivism because they ruin the life of the person.

        A criminal who is ready to change his ways finds out that nobody will hire him, nobody will lease to him, and because of this he cannot make ends meet. Even if the frustration alone wasn't enough to push him right back into a life of crime (which it understandably is), the inability to afford food and heat force the issue.

        There is also the issue of vigilantism, which is itself illegal, but registries enable it. These self-appointed judge/jury/executioners decide to dish out a little more punishment whenever they feel like it, and people who are trying to put their lives back together are made vulnerable to injury/death because if the registries.

        I realize the intent if registries is noble. But the application is far from it. Since they don't work out in practice as they are envisioned in theory, they should be eliminated.

        Justice isn't just about protecting the innocent, but also about correct treatment of the reformed.

        • by SumDog ( 466607 )

          Australia's sex offender registry is protected information. It's not public and can only be used by certain agencies for very specific purposes.

      • by Ichijo ( 607641 )

        Further, there is no real way to accurately judge whether an individual will commit again after release.

        I'm sure you could find an insurance company to make that bet, for the right premium.

        • by Xenx ( 2211586 )
          While other crimes still have very real victims, sex crimes tend to be perceived as more egregious by society. I imagine most people wouldn't appreciate the idea of "gambling" on the chances.of someone else being assaulted by a sex offender. Monetary restitution for victims isn't likely to provide much comfort to the victims. Further, false claims by "victims" would be a real concern.

          Now, I'm assuming you weren't literally providing that as a valid replacement. I'll also say I'm not a proponent of the curr
          • by Ichijo ( 607641 )

            I imagine most people wouldn't appreciate the idea of "gambling" on the chances.of someone else being assaulted by a sex offender.

            Isn't that what parole boards do now, only without the financial incentive to get it right?

      • > Registries are an attempt at trying to let them out of
        > prison, knowing people can better themselves, while
        > still acknowledging a certain risk.

        We already have systems to accomplish that goal: probation and parole. Putting someone on a lifetime sex-offender list, restricting where they may live, and forcing them to announce their presence, goes far above and beyond. If someone is still a significant recidivism hazard, he should continue to be monitored my the probation or parole system. The li

        • by Xenx ( 2211586 )
          I mentioned it in another reply, but I don't agree with our current system of registry. I do think sex offenders need a different system of parole, chiefly closer watch on whereabouts and place of residence, but I'm mostly of the same mind. If they can control themselves and show reasonable proof of such, they deserve to be treated like any other person.
      • Lots to cover but I'll try to keep it as brief as possible.

        While I agree with the point on our penal system being broken in many ways, gauging the biggest affront is certainly a matter of perspective. The kid serving life for drug sales because he had no other form of income probably puts recidivism pretty low on the priority scale. A chance of recidivism is not any different than a chance for someone to commit a crime in terms of how it can be treated according to the US Constitution. Contrary to what s

    • While I agree with you it has nothing to do with the article. The person as asking for search results to be removed from Google so that when you searched for their name you wouldn't see newspaper articles dealing with the case.

      I have a difficult time with these right to be forgotten laws. First because they are really make it more difficult to find laws as the information (articles, data, etc) still exists. It's just certain search engines have the links removed. Secondly the option isn't open to everyone.

      • by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2016 @02:19PM (#51616539)

        The problem with letting people have this right to be forgotten is that it starts a censorship and once you start something like that, even for good intentions with one person, it can be misused.

        The problem with not letting people have this right is that individuals are already being harmed.

        If a person has been found guilty in a court of law, like the person in this case has, well then that's just too bad. Probably shouldn't have done the crime. Yes it will make life more difficult

        The biggest problem with this attitude is that if he's going to be punished for his whole life, then he might as well be a criminal. What is the point of turning his life around and being a good law abiding citizen if your attitude towards him is: "too bad",

        He can't move start over somewhere else; and even the passage of time won't ever leave it behind. 30 years ago, nobody would find out about a crime you did unless it was an international spectacle unless they went back to your country, perhaps even your region within that country and dug around in old newspapers. Now its the first hit on google, around the world, forever. At least until someone else with the same name does something more recently and more heinous. If you have an obscure name, you'll be immortalized in a way that just doesn't

        So, "too bad, so sad" isn't a solution.

        I agree with you that right to be forgotten laws aren't the solution either, they are clumsy and they resemble censorship.

        I'd rather see search engines evolve to prune 'old news' and old search results more intelligently. And then right to be forgotten might not be necessary.

        For example, by default searches for X don't return any "non-local news" or "blogs" or "twitter" that are more than 3 years old. If you want to look for "news" from New Hampshire from 2005 you need to specify that in the search.

        Major events, politics, and things that are of historical significance etc are excempt. But John Unusual-name Doe was arrested for indecent exposure after getting drunk and failing to pull his pants up before leaving a restroom appearing in some podunk local news should not be still be the first hit for that guys name 10 years later 2 continents away.

        It should be findable, but it should be a couple "layers" deep. Humans are largely "out-of-sight out-of-mind". We don't need to have our names stricken from old news papers and old court records to get our lives back because while those old news papers and records still exist, and can be read by anyone at anytime, nobody actually bothers unless its important.

        But google won't *let* us forget, because it keep throwing htem up in our face, on that search query... until something more news worthy with those terms finally happens.

        • can't you just change your name legally?

          • by vux984 ( 928602 )

            can't you just change your name legally?

            Yes, and I'd actually meant to raise that as a possible work around.

            But really, should you really have to change such a fundamental part of your own identity. It feels like a 'hack' at best rather than a 'solution'.

            And what if google et al simply incorporate those changes into the index, so a search for Mr. X, also returns Mr. Y., and the first result is a "Did you mean Mr Y because Mr X changed his name". Or what if the next generation is facial recognition search... so you now you have to undergo surgery

        • Oh just fucking piss off. The crime is reported. There's an article about in the paper. That's the end of it. We talk about people not doing posting stupid things on Facebook, but this is about committing a crime. It gets reported. It happens. Or are you saying they shouldn't have made movies about Ronnie and Reggie Kray....
          • by vux984 ( 928602 )

            The crime is reported. There's an article about in the paper. That's the end of it.

            Except that its not the end of it. If that actually were the end of it, that would be fine. That's the point.

            We talk about people not doing posting stupid things on Facebook,

            Yup we do. But for the most part you can remove stupid stuff you posted to facebook, and it doesn't really linger forever there. Most people who get screwed over by stupid stuff they posted to facebook are doing so in the here and now, not years later.

            Comparing the "foremost perpetrators of organized crime in the UK in the 50s" to a "rando who got convicted of something once 10 years ago that nobody

    • by bigpat ( 158134 )

      Do the crime, do the time, that should be the end of it.

      The West's obsession with adding people to lists, especially "sex offender registries" which make it nearly impossible to live in any city environment, really amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. If you're still supposedly a threat to society then you should still be in jail. If you're OK to be released from jail then you've paid your dues to society and you should regain all of your rights.

      What about the victim's freedom of speech? If you have committed a crime against someone then don't they have a right to say that you committed a crime against them without being censored? Seems the real victim here is the truth.

      • Do the crime, do the time, that should be the end of it.

        The West's obsession with adding people to lists, especially "sex offender registries" which make it nearly impossible to live in any city environment, really amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. If you're still supposedly a threat to society then you should still be in jail. If you're OK to be released from jail then you've paid your dues to society and you should regain all of your rights.

        What about the victim's freedom of speech? If you have committed a crime against someone then don't they have a right to say that you committed a crime against them without being censored? Seems the real victim here is the truth.

        Because once a victim, always a victim. Right?

        • Once you've robbed me, I have the right ot tell anyone of my past experience. Explain why you believe there's a right to censor my discussing my past just because you adversely affected it.

          • Once you've robbed me, I have the right ot tell anyone of my past experience. Explain why you believe there's a right to censor my discussing my past just because you adversely affected it.

            Well yeah once you've been robbed now you are a victim. For the rest of your life.

    • by ooloorie ( 4394035 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2016 @02:10PM (#51616469)
      This isn't about a "sex offender registry", it's about editing history for the convenience of a former criminal.

      Government-maintained sex offender registries should be abolished. But if private web sites keep such information, they should have a right to.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        There is a difference between a web site keeping information and a search engine that provides a commercial service to find information about people.

        Japanese and European courts recognise that. They see search engines as being like credit reference agencies. Sure, the news of your bankruptcy might be on the newspaper's website, but it's a different matter when a credit reference agency wants to sell that information to a client.

      • by Tom ( 822 )

        Silly, this obsession with giving private web sites more rights than the government.

        Next step: Government should be prohibited from throwing you in jail without due process, but if private security companies want to do it, they should have a right to.

    • by uncqual ( 836337 )

      Although, as a matter of public policy, I believe 'sex offender' lists are overly broad and perhaps completely inappropriate, the "do your time, that should be the end of it" logic for eliminating them is fallacious. Being put on the lists is now part of the penalty for offenders. Although, an argument can certainly be made that crimes committed before being put on the lists was part of the penalty should not cause an offender to be added to the lists (ex post facto and all that).

      Being "put on the list" for

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      Do the crime, do the time, that should be the end of it.

      I'm generally in agreement with this notion. There's a kind of irrational savagery that infects Americans, right or left (speaking as a leftist myself) when it comes to inflicting punishments on people we don't like. I remember a few years ago the liberal glee when Randy "Duke" Cunningham request to have his firearms rights restored was turned down. I don't know if you remember him, but he was a Republican Congressman who literally had a price list for companies who wanted favors; generally speaking $50k

  • by aepervius ( 535155 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2016 @01:21PM (#51616003)
    It is always depends on which point of view you look at this (not even touching the point of contention of free speech). You can see prison as mostly punishment or as rehabilitation. If you see it as rehabilitation, then having the punishment become a matter of public record, hinder the rehabilitation, make the people become paria, unemployable (even for job without children) social outcast - such I am not defending the crime , only the right to rehabilitation once the crime was paid especially socially.

    I am for the right to be forgotten anyway : we enjoyed that right until google came up. before that, everybody could simply be forgotten by moving to the next village (exaggerating a bit but without a way to search for news archive this came down to this)...

    But i can imagine that some people buying into "information wants to be free" and never lived in the time period pre-google where forgetting was the norm... Can't grasp at the issue. Or don't care.
    • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

      It is always depends on which point of view you look at this (not even touching the point of contention of free speech). You can see prison as mostly punishment or as rehabilitation. If you see it as rehabilitation, then having the punishment become a matter of public record, hinder the rehabilitation, make the people become paria, unemployable (even for job without children) social outcast - such I am not defending the crime , only the right to rehabilitation once the crime was paid especially socially.

      Even if you feel that prison is punishment not rehabilitation you should think the same way. Part of justice is that punishment should fit the crime. If society has determined that punishment for an action is to be removed from society for a specific length of time, then once that time is spent the punishment should be over. However ex-convicts tend to live in a state of perpetual virtual punishment due to a lack of access to housing or jobs, or limits on where they can go or live. The "lucky" ones migh

    • There is a 3rd purpose for prison: to protect other people from harm. Pedophiles don't go to prison for punishment or rehabilitation, they go to prison to prevent them from diddling any more kids. Since their chances of true rehabilitation are rather low, they probably should be physically prevented from reoffending for as long as there is any non-zero probability of them doing so; for most of them, I would assume that means for life.
    • just because it's how it was doesn't mean it's how it should be. the right to be forgotten was only a right because of imperfect technology. one could similarly lament the loss of the "freedom of entry" that we enjoyed prior to the invention of the lock.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      There are two ways to be rehabilitated:
      1) The hard way, being honest about your past but that you've changed and atoned and that you're sorry but that you can't go back to undo it. You have no right to demand that people forgive you or act like it didn't happen and some never will but it's your life choices and you're stuck with the consequences.
      2) The easy way, escaping it by obscurity and deception. If nobody knows your past, there's nothing to forgive and forget. You never have to face your past, you nev

    • I think that if you're 20 and you had sex with a 17 year old, or if you took a piss in some bushes near a playground, you're innocent. Your "crime" is being dumb, and you shouldn't be punished at all, at least any more than a severe reprimand. And you certainly shouldn't have some scarlet letter hanging over your head your whole life.

      At the same time, if you're 28 and you actively sought to have sex with an 8 year old, you are dealing with someone with a deeply psychologically rooted paraphilia that is not

    • by Toshito ( 452851 )

      we enjoyed that right until google came up

      Not really. It's easier to search on Google, but 20 years ago if someone's crimes or stupidities where big enough to make it on newspaper, it was forever available to anyone who took the time to search those newspaper's archive or even perusing through their local library's newspaper archive on microfilm.

  • Consider what might be the case if

    His 'child pornography' conviction involved someone he was dating - either sending his pics of himself at 17 to a girl, or receiving pics of his 17 year old girlfriend. Similar issues for the child prostition could apply.

    We don't know all the details, as the reporter failed to provide this kind of information.

    But if this was a 25+ year old guy selling pics and pimping multiple women, that's a different story.

    • by dissy ( 172727 )

      His 'child pornography' conviction involved someone he was dating - either sending his pics of himself at 17 to a girl, or receiving pics of his 17 year old girlfriend. Similar issues for the child prostition could apply.

      In Japan the age of consent is 13 years old. There is also a 1 year buffer for age differences.

      A 25+ year old having sex with a 13 year old is perfectly legal. A 13 year old having sex with a 12 year old is also legal.

      The pictures involved would need to be of a 12 year old or younger person before child pornography laws applied.
      Sexual acts would also need to be between a 12 year old or younger person, and someone older than 14 years old before child prostitution laws applied.

      The only new news to me here i

      • by SumDog ( 466607 )

        Although you might be right about age of consent, you're wrong on the child pornography. It's still prosecuted there, even if the pictures are of children 12, 13 14..etc.

        It is interesting to note that art depicting sex with minors is legal in Japan and America* (this gets into muddy water in the US since a lot falls under the subjective description of "obscenity", but in general, fiction is usually protected. The court cases vary). Creating or having possession cartoon porn of Simpsons characters will get y

      • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

        I think you are confusing the age of consent and child pornography/prostitution laws.

        The idea is that in Japan, like in most civilized countries, consensual sex is always allowed. The age of consent defines the age bellow which informed consent is considered impossible. Which mean that sex with children under the age of consent is always considered non-consensual, i.e. rape.
        Pornography and prostitution is not just sex, it is sex work, and it is forbidden for minors, no matter if they can give their consent

  • As I was reading the comments for this article, I was thinking to myself that it was just another is a series of such legal actions. Ultimately Google (and other public search engines) will have to maintain blacklists of information not to be to revealed, entries in the lists made upon demanded by any first party to the item. But then I looked at the upper right corner of the comments web page, and there was a advertisement for "Public Records Online". This, as most of you know, is a fee based service that
  • by quietwalker ( 969769 ) <pdughi@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 01, 2016 @01:55PM (#51616363)

    A quick perusal above shows where people's heads are at on the 'right to be forgotten':
        "We enjoyed that right until google came up. before that, everybody could simply be forgotten by moving to the next village"
        "Before that, if you wanted to be forgotten, you simply moved and adopted a new name."

            No, it was not a 'right' then, as there was nothing in the law to provide it, nor was it considered an unstated right assumed by society.
            No, you were not forgotten, rather, new individuals were ignorant.
            No, name changes were public record and so too were most criminal complaints – simply not having a trivial way to search them does not equate being inaccessible, and certainly not to being ‘Forgotten’.

    Why target google searches alone? Shouldn’t someone need to go through the police records, newspaper archives (and any microfiche for places still using that at the time of the offense), magazines, comedians routines, and song lyrics (if the crime was public enough) - and any recordings thereof – to eliminate the references? As per 1984, you’re going to need a whole department working 24/7 to censor or rewrite all the data there ever was if you’re really pushing for ‘forgotten’ status.

    Really though, this isn’t about a right. It’s about restriction of rights. What advocates of this restriction are really trying to do is eliminate access by society at large to public records. Since the very nature of public records is that they are publically accessible, they’re instead attacking the ability to search the records, in an attempt to make the data useless. Basically, it’s the same sort of political machinations you see in attempts to do end-runs around laws in US politics today: so called sanctuary cities deciding not to check the residency status of illegal aliens, or requiring state ID to vote to drive away minorities. It’s folks deliberately doing an end-run around the law.

    What it really comes down to is this: If we’re not supposed to do something, be it identify someone as an ex-convict or other, then why can we do it through every other channel allowed except for a single one singled out simply because of it’s current popularity and ease of use?

    • Before I begin, let me say that I'm not sure the implementation of the "right to be forgotten" is the right one, and I do agree that it unfairly singles out Google. On the other hand, that doesn't mean the principle that polices are trying to get at is faulty.

      I also don't know anything about this specific Japanese case or whether the "right" deserves to be invoked in it.

      No, it was not a 'right' then, as there was nothing in the law to provide it, nor was it considered an unstated right assumed by society.

      It's likely true that there was no such right back when people would wander from village to village, but there are legal precedents in E

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      It's not just Google searches. Employers aren't allowed to ask in most cases, and if they are the police are not always allowed to tell them. Juries (lay judges in Japan) aren't allowed to be told. Credit reference agencies aren't allowed to say.

      There are all sorts of restrictions applying to other people and groups. Search engines are just the latest.

  • The problem with expunging a particular web page from search is that this web page probably contains other information.

    So suppose the document contains the name of the arresting officer - or of the judge who tried the offender - or of the town in which it occurred.

    If I want to know whether some particular police officer made a career out of arresting sex offenders - or whether one judge is harsher on sex offenders than others, If I I can't find all of these kinds of records because they are hidden for other reasons then it causes an immense problem for freedom of information.

    I might spend a lot of my time and effort in writing something that mentions this person in passing - and because of that, nobody will find my work. That's a clear invasion of my right to free speech.

    And as for the victim - it doesn't really lock away the information because other web sites can make registries of past offenders and link to their arrest documents...and finding those registries with Google is still allowed...and should be protected under free speech laws.

    So this measure is both oppressive to people unrelated to the case - and ineffective at preventing anyone who is even mildly determined from finding the documents.

        -- Steve

  • by Salgak1 ( 20136 )
    . . . .sounds like a no-win situation to me. . . .

    (mic drop)

  • I don't have all the details but I do think that someone who commits a crime and completes the punishment should be able to get back to a somewhat normal life. Some countries in the world do make this a bit easier, not in the US.

    In the US, if you're even linked to a terrible crime it will haunt you for the rest of your life. Our government and news agencies think that just because they say "alleged" that is brings no harm to people who are actually innocent. Innocent until proven guilty.. it is meanin

"Oh my! An `inflammatory attitude' in alt.flame? Never heard of such a thing..." -- Allen Gwinn, allen@sulaco.Sigma.COM

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