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European Commission Spokesman: Google Removing Link Was "not a Good Judgement" 210

Posted by samzenpus
from the we've-always-been-at-war-with-Eastasia dept.
An anonymous reader writes in with this article from the BBC about Google's recent removal of a news story from search results. "Google's decision to remove a BBC article from some of its search results was "not a good judgement", a European Commission spokesman has said. A link to an article by Robert Peston was taken down under the European court's "right to be forgotten" ruling. But Ryan Heath, spokesman for the European Commission's vice-president, said he could not see a "reasonable public interest" for the action. He said the ruling should not allow people to "Photoshop their lives". The BBC understands that Google is sifting through more than 250,000 web links people wanted removed."
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European Commission Spokesman: Google Removing Link Was "not a Good Judgement"

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  • Well, duh... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bradley13 (1118935) on Friday July 04, 2014 @04:30AM (#47382309) Homepage

    ...but that's exactly what the ruling does. The original case was a businessman objecting to Google links to newpaper stories about his life. This is no different.

    Fact is, the court that issued this ruling screwed up big time. Perhaps, if Google can find a few more egregious deletions to make, the European Parliament will correct the error.

    • Re:Well, duh... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Trepidity (597) <(gro.hsikcah) (ta) (todhsals-muiriled)> on Friday July 04, 2014 @04:46AM (#47382347)

      The original case was a newspaper notice of a personal bankruptcy of a pretty obscure person, while this is a story about a very public CEO resignation. The decision is a bit of a mess, I agree, but this case pretty clearly falls outside its scope, which explicitly says that stories involving public roles are excluded (which resigning as CEO of Merill Lynch certainly counts as).

      From the explanatory summary (pdf) [europa.eu] that accompanied the decision, explaining when search-engine operators may turn down removal requests:

      The request may for example be turned down where the search engine operator concludes that for particular reasons, such as for example the public role played by John Smith, the interest of the general public to have access to the information in question justifies showing the links in Google search results.

      • Re:Well, duh... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 04, 2014 @05:08AM (#47382411)

        "pretty obscure person" vs "very public CEO" is a matter of *your* perspective. If you're looking to go into business with the "pretty obscure person" then it's highly relevant for you. In both cases they are public articles by newspapers.

        What should happen is these requests should be put to the newspapers themselves, except then everyone would realize that it's censorship. And that's exactly what it is. So instead we have the silliness of asking a rich search company to do contortions to do filtering instead.

        • Re:Well, duh... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Trepidity (597) <(gro.hsikcah) (ta) (todhsals-muiriled)> on Friday July 04, 2014 @05:50AM (#47382545)

          Yeah, the big practical problem with this decision is that it requires case-by-case analysis, which is probably impractical at Google's scale. This particular case is really pretty clear-cut: it's the former CEO of Merrill Lynch, and it's a story about his CEOship. If Google did case-by-case analysis, it would be easy to reject this takedown request as easily within the scope of the "public role" exception. However they probably (for understandable reasons) don't want to do that kind of case-by-case decision making.

          • by u38cg (607297)
            The point that is being missed on most sides is that the subjects of the story are not the issue, it is an unknown commenter on the blog article.
          • However they probably (for understandable reasons) don't want to do that kind of case-by-case decision making.

            Regardless of how understandable their reasons are, if they aren't making the decisions case-by-case, then they are blatantly refusing to honour the ruling. However, I don't think that's what they are doing. I want to think they're simply employing the wrong people to make those decisions.

            Anyway, I agree the ruling was a mess, but for another reason. The biggest problem I see is the failure to consider other search engines. They can probably force Bing to honour the ruling, because MS, like Google, has a c

            • If they don't delete it (no, that would NOT be censorship -...

              If they delete it because they chose to delete it, it is not censorship. If they delete it because the government told them to, it IS censorship, whether or not that information is available elsewhere.

        • Agree, the whole RTBF thing is needlessly creating problems for companies like google, google are naturally going to start upsetting the likes of BBC, sky News, et-al to try and get them on-side. Europe has libel, defamation, and stalking laws already so if someone is harassing you online or telling porky-pies about you then you already have the legal tools to set the record straight. Embarrass yourself in public? [youtube.com] - Bad luck I'd say, we've all had days we'd rather forget.
      • Re:Well, duh... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday July 04, 2014 @05:21AM (#47382467) Homepage Journal

        The original case was a newspaper notice of a personal bankruptcy of a pretty obscure person, while this is a story about a very public CEO resignation.

        And yet, that is completely and utterly irrelevant because either way, the public interest is harmed, not served, by permitting someone to hide facts. That will never make the world a better place.

        • by Megol (3135005)

          Right. So those teenagers that sent pictures of themselves to a boy/girlfriend and now have those same pictures available on the Internet with name and addresses? Yes public interest is served by removing those!

          But if you insist you are free to post nude pictures of yourself with name address and other facts attached.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by AmiMoJo (196126) *

          And yet, that is completely and utterly irrelevant because either way, the public interest is harmed, not served, by permitting someone to hide facts. That will never make the world a better place.

          In Europe we aim to rehabilitate people who made mistakes. People who make financial mistakes, broke the law or just generally did something stupid in public are given the opportunity to move past those mistakes and have them forgotten. The law enforces that to a reasonable degree - it can't erase old newspaper articles, but it does allow a person not to mention certain criminal convictions or hide historic bankruptcies from the bank after a period of time.

          I understand it is different in the US. Criminals i

      • Re:Well, duh... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by NicBenjamin (2124018) on Friday July 04, 2014 @06:50AM (#47382707)

        The original case was a newspaper notice of a personal bankruptcy of a pretty obscure person, while this is a story about a very public CEO resignation. The decision is a bit of a mess, I agree, but this case pretty clearly falls outside its scope, which explicitly says that stories involving public roles are excluded (which resigning as CEO of Merill Lynch certainly counts as).

        From the explanatory summary (pdf) [europa.eu] that accompanied the decision, explaining when search-engine operators may turn down removal requests:

        The request may for example be turned down where the search engine operator concludes that for particular reasons, such as for example the public role played by John Smith, the interest of the general public to have access to the information in question justifies showing the links in Google search results.

        I don't believe you understand why google's pissed.

        They're a for-profit American corporation. They make money selling information to people. They keep costs low but refusing to use actual humans to do any of the work, when computer algorithm will work fine.

        But this ruling specifically assumes they have an actual person sitting around, with nothing to do but read these requests, and then spend an hour trying to figure out if Jose Juerez in this story is a nobody who can use his right to be forgotten, or he's a Jose Juarez who is a figure of public interest. Moreover the guy has to know every EU language, every EU minority language (so Sorbian with an 'o' counts, because German citizen Sorbians are also EU Citizens), prominent local non-EU languages (such as Serbian, with an e), and probably also at least a smattering or major world languages like Russian and Chinese.

        Since that person does not actually exist, they either have to hire a staff of several dozen, or they have to hire a couple really good lawyers who know the more prominent EU languages (ie: a Frenchmen, an Englishman, a German, maybe a Scandinavian because most of them can at least BS their way through all four of those languages, etc.), and then pull poor Nicolo Popescu from his team in analytics when a Romanian has a request. Then you have to hope Nicolo (hired for his ability to see patterns in data, not his communications skills), and the EU-fluent-lawyer he's talking to can communicate some very sophisticated legal concepts to each-other.

        So even if they only have 50k requests, as the BBC reported, this is not a cheap program for them to administer. They're paying something on the order of $150-400 an hour per person they hire because you need multi-lingual lawyers, they need to bring in the random dude who happens to know Gaelic once a month, they need to do some pretty strong googling of their own to confirm the complaints aren't BS generated by Yahoo bots specifically to fuck over their bottom line, etc. 50,000 complaints times $150 is $7,500,000 so even if each one only takes an hour (and it'll be more like five, especially for EU languages that aren't world languages like Italian or Portuguese), 250k complaints (as in this summary) is nearly $40 million assuming that they only take an hour. It's probably gonna be closer to the $250 million range by the time they actually get done investigating. And that's in seven weeks. Over a full year this is is is almost certainly gonna cost them $1-$2 Billion.

        So in other words google has two option. Agree to hire it's own Eurocrats for roughly $1 Billion a year, or make an algorithm that automatically accepts any request. As an American corporation they are loathe to spend that money on regulatory compliance until the actual regulators actually rule they actually have to have staff costing an actual $1 Billion. Note that, in general, each use of 'actual' in that last sentence requires at least one court ruling. American corporations really, really, really hate spending

        • by swillden (191260)

          Just one correction, not related to your point:

          They make money selling information to people.

          What Google actually sells is an advertising service, which is made more effective by using information in two ways, first to attract viewers, and second to decide which of the viewers is likely to be interested in which ads. The phrase "selling information" sounds like they're providing information to a party who gives them money in return, which isn't what Google does.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I rather suspect that was the point. Google is deliberately waving around the stupidest example of the implementation of the law they could find in hopes that somebody will notice what a bad idea the law was.

      It doesn't even take activism to inspire this, what business wants to pay someone to sort through people requesting that the picture of them kissing the fat chick while drunk be taken down?

      • Re:Well, duh... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice AT gmail DOT com> on Friday July 04, 2014 @06:07AM (#47382589)

        I think the main issue I have is that this EC spokesman is expecting Google to make decisions regarding the public interest rather than erring on the side of caution and removing everything - the moment they do make decisions regarding the public interest, you can bet your arse they will be hauled back into court and have to justify themselves.

        So by going to the extreme and implementing the ruling across the board (barring obvious requests that can be rejected), Google is protecting themselves and showing what a stupid ruling it is in the first place. There is no alternative approach that Google can take that doesn't open them up to further legal action.

    • Re:Well, duh... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Frobnicator (565869) on Friday July 04, 2014 @04:52AM (#47382361) Journal

      ...but that's exactly what the ruling does. The original case was a businessman objecting to Google links to newpaper stories about his life.

      The whole concept of the law applying to everybody is surprising sometimes. ;-)

      Anybody can request that data about themselves can be deleted. The law also allows links to be removed. The business can comply, or claim they have a reason outlined in the law, such as a business need for record keeping. If they fight it the person can fight it through the courts. If enough people fight it the company will suffer the pains of thousands of lawsuits.

      While the news stories themselves can remain under the terms of the law, it is no surprise that people absolutely will try to make things hard to find. That's the entire point of the law. It applies to not just convicted criminals but also to politicians and prominent figures. ANYBODY can request that data be deleted under the terms of the law.

      The law is to allow things to fade from the collective memory and makes it difficult for them to be found.

      Removing the link to unsavory things IS the purpose. This IS what the law was designed for.

      The expressed right to be forgotten includes forgetting about news stories.

      I suppose next people will be upset when links to all negative stories related to upcoming politicians will suddenly vanish under the requests.

      • by Carewolf (581105)

        What law? There is no new law here. Only existing national laws. All that is happening now is that Google has to obey existing national laws that forbid republishing certain facts. So which British law required them to remove the link? Or is it Google that are just making up rules as they go now?

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        It applies to not just convicted criminals but also to politicians and prominent figures.

        No. Public figures are specifically excluded because there is a public interest aspect. The court was very clear that it only intended the law to be used in situations where the person has no public standing and there is no public interest argument.

        • by thaylin (555395)
          Except they ruled for a Businessman, who by nature has a public standing, so it is very contradictory.
      • by bmo (77928)

        >right to be forgotten

        Does not exist. Anywhere.

        It didn't exist before the Internet, and it doesn't exist now. It's a complete fiction. People remember things. People save newspaper clippings. Friends/family remember that time you got drunk and hit on the waitress who thought you were disgusting and rude and put you in your place.

        For example:

        Michael Kent, of Saunderstown, RI pissed all of us off in the neighborhood 20 years ago because he bought an illegally subdivided lot and threw a temper tantrum,

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      google is in a no win situation here. The sheer volumne of material they have to sift through makes it impossible to hire enough people, but the decisions require personal attention. If Europe wants to specify every link google can and cannot make available then they need to let google know in a timely manner. They want it both ways.
      • Some of this would be solved by simply not indexing local news stories and police blotters. As these are generally of interest mostly to locals (surprise!), little loss of significant information access would occur. I already know where to go for my local information. I don't really benefit from the ability to find your local news and police blotter without an actual interest in your locality (and in which case, hunting down your local websites is trivial.) The ability to see everything from everywhere by s

    • Re:Well, duh... (Score:4, Informative)

      by sg_oneill (159032) on Friday July 04, 2014 @05:11AM (#47382429)

      It all strikes down to why law can be so complicated. When done right, laws are subtle things.

      Ideally we'd like a "right to be forgotten" that means when I ask Facebook to delete my account, then by delete I mean "not a single bit of my accounts data remains". What we DONT want however is if I go raping or beating people I can get news articles about me supressed. Distilling those distinctions into laws however can end up quite tricky because of all the edge cases.

      That requires legal expertise, and unfortunatlely whatever law results is going to be complicated and full of edge cases.

      Which, of course means nobody is going to understand the bloody thing.

      • by ray-auch (454705)

        What we DONT want however is if I go raping or beating people I can get news articles about me supressed.

        But that is exactly what the ruling does. Someone got into legal trouble, some time ago (over 12yrs), and complained to the court that it was unfair to have his legal troubles still come up in search results - and the court agreed.

        As an offline example, as long as your raping and beating didn't get you more than four years in prison, in UK law your conviction would be "spent" after at most 7 years after release, and you would then not have to disclose it to employers etc. In such a case, it seems perfectl

        • by fyngyrz (762201)

          people who were bad, still are bad, and don't want you to find out easily

          So the best solution is to brand everyone as untrustworthy? Please. If person X is still bad, that's a matter for law enforcement. Not for your back-fence gossip fest.

    • Re:Well, duh... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Zocalo (252965) on Friday July 04, 2014 @05:15AM (#47382451) Homepage

      Fact is, the court that issued this ruling screwed up big time. Perhaps, if Google can find a few more egregious deletions to make, the European Parliament will correct the error.

      Fact is, the European Parliament passed a law that was so full of holes that it was inevitably going to be abused before it was passed and, despite this being pointed out frequently, they went ahead and passed the law anyway instead of maybe taking a bit of time to plug some of the holes and clarifing under what circumstances is could and, more importantly, could not be used. At least it's starting to look like some members of the EC are starting to realise that the EP messed up, but somehow I doubt that they are going to be able to convince their colleagues to do anything about it because that would entail them effectively admitting that they messed up.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Fact is, the European Parliament passed a law that was so full of holes that it was inevitably going to be abused before it was passed and, despite this being pointed out frequently, they went ahead and passed the law anyway instead of maybe taking a bit of time to plug some of the holes

        you can't plug the holes in a fishing net designed to catch as many fish as possible. at least, not without a whole lot of dolphins

      • by xelah (176252)

        The directive is from nearly 20 years ago so I doubt there are many MEPs or commissioners who couldn't blame their predecessors if they wanted to, or point out that few people were really expecting Google and the Internet as it is now. Besides, it's been working OK for a long time (except for continuing poor enforcement). It was written to stop companies selling on your data as sales leads, credit reference agencies giving out inaccurate data you're not allowed to see or correct, employers keeping irrelevan

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        Fact is, the European Parliament passed a law

        The problem is that they didn't pass a law and are simply relying on the older Data Protection rules that were written in the mid 90s. Member states have not been able to agree on updated rules that would clarify this issue, so the courts must rule based on existing ones.

      • Politician's ability to change their minds is remarkable.

        Most of the members of the US House who were there under GW Bush voted for everything he wanted. Now almost all of them identify him as an un-conservative deficit-spending big government hypocrite. Paul Ryan is the best example.

        In this case it would be fairly simple to solve the problem: send a couple dozen of their multi-lingual lawyers to a google campus to go through the requests with google. That actually does not require that they change their mi

    • Re:Well, duh... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Karmashock (2415832) on Friday July 04, 2014 @05:20AM (#47382463)

      agreed... the eu had a stupid ruling that is having predictably stupid consequences.

      • agreed... the eu had a stupid ruling that is having predictably stupid consequences.

        the obvious solution is to have all mentions of it removed from internet search results. ;)

    • Re:Well, duh... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by FireFury03 (653718) <slashdot@nexusukGAUSS.org minus math_god> on Friday July 04, 2014 @05:22AM (#47382473) Homepage

      ...but that's exactly what the ruling does. The original case was a businessman objecting to Google links to newpaper stories about his life. This is no different.

      Fact is, the court that issued this ruling screwed up big time. Perhaps, if Google can find a few more egregious deletions to make, the European Parliament will correct the error.

      I think the big problem here is that Google are expected to be the judge, jury and executioner and are getting smacked down when someone thinks they made the wrong judgement call. This stuff should be going to an independent judge instead of expecting Google to uphold a new law that has a fairly vague scope.

      • Re:Well, duh... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Frobnicator (565869) on Friday July 04, 2014 @05:34AM (#47382497) Journal

        I think the big problem here is that Google are expected to be the judge, jury and executioner and are getting smacked down when someone thinks they made the wrong judgement call. This stuff should be going to an independent judge instead of expecting Google to uphold a new law that has a fairly vague scope.

        Yeah, that would work.

        The article states that Google alone is getting over 1000 requests per day. How many other companies are getting requests, and at what rate?

        While it would be ideal for some humans to look at the tens of thousands of requests made daily and carefully judge the merits of the request, it won't happen.

        It won't happen for the same reason real people don't look at the DMCA takedown lists.

        There are too many, and it is easier to just automate the system than to validate that every single line item is an actually infringing item. It won't take long before the requests become fully automated much like the DMCA lists are. People will download a simple tool that scours the interwebz for your name, then submits takedown requests for every match. There will be many incorrect matches made as the plebeian masses use the simple automated tools.

        • That is another big problem. Google should onyl get requests for content they specifically host, and in the cast of google blogs it should go to the original content creators themselves. Google should be getting zero requests the only content they create is a few employee blog posts and new announcements.
      • by pjt33 (739471)

        "A new law that has a fairly vague scope"? It's a law which dates back to 1995, and its scope is fairly clear. See the ECJ's Factsheet [europa.eu].

        • Re:Well, duh... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by FireFury03 (653718) <slashdot@nexusukGAUSS.org minus math_god> on Friday July 04, 2014 @07:37AM (#47382895) Homepage

          "A new law that has a fairly vague scope"? It's a law which dates back to 1995, and its scope is fairly clear. See the ECJ's Factsheet [europa.eu].

          The whole idea of treating a news report as "personal data" seems completely flawed to me.

          But in any case, there seems to be a "public interest" judgement to be made, with respect to this law. In general I think "public interest" judgements need to be made by judges and other public organisations within an established framework, rather than as ad-hoc judgements by private businesses.

      • ...but that's exactly what the ruling does. The original case was a businessman objecting to Google links to newpaper stories about his life. This is no different.

        Fact is, the court that issued this ruling screwed up big time. Perhaps, if Google can find a few more egregious deletions to make, the European Parliament will correct the error.

        I think the big problem here is that Google are expected to be the judge, jury and executioner and are getting smacked down when someone thinks they made the wrong judgement call. This stuff should be going to an independent judge instead of expecting Google to uphold a new law that has a fairly vague scope.

        And not only do they have to be judge, jury, and executioner; they have to do it in every language anyone in Europe speaks.

        If an Italian gets in a car wreck on the Isle of Lewis, and then wants to be forgotten 10 years later, you have to have someone who knows Gaelic on hand to read the blog post the other guy wrote about it.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      ...but that's exactly what the ruling does.

      No, it isn't. It wasn't even the guy mentioned in the article who requested the removal, it was someone who wrote a comment on the article. If you search for "Stan O'Neal" the article still comes up, it's only searching for the commenter's name that has been censored. The commenter is not a public figure, just a random internet user.

      This morning on the radio a spokesperson from Google was quite clear that they would not allow public figures to use the right to be forgotten in this way. They only acted beca

  • by aaaaaaargh! (1150173) on Friday July 04, 2014 @04:32AM (#47382315)

    The important question for me personally is this: As someone living in Europe, how can I ensure that I see the US search results? Does switching to google.com suffice? Or do I have to use a proxy or VPN?

    • Google.com redirects you to the appropriate country.

    • by gweihir (88907)

      Use TOR and select an US exit-relay. Very simple to do, for example with the TOR-browser bundle. Start, select "verify TOR", select Altlas, select new identity, if the exit-relay is not in the US. Repeat until US exit relay is obtained.

      But be aware that using TOR puts you into the NSA's "extremist" database...

    • by PhilHibbs (4537)

      Try www.google.com/ncr [google.com]

  • by lostandthedamned (907167) on Friday July 04, 2014 @04:33AM (#47382317)
    Apparently Robert Peston did some digging and it wasn't searching for the Article that was being removed but searching for one of the comments. Right to be forgotten is all well and good, but using that to try and remove a post you yourself put in a public place is a bit barmy. Props to the first person who changes their name to Anonymous Coward then makes the request for all their posts to be unsearchable.
    • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo@NOspAm.world3.net> on Friday July 04, 2014 @06:24AM (#47382643) Homepage

      I had an issue with a comment I wrote on the BBC site years ago. Due to the way the page was laid out when you googled my name the snippet they displayed from the BBC site had some other person's vaguely racist and childishly simplistic comment next to my name. I contacted Google and they said contact the BBC. I contacted the BBC and didn't get a response, but about six months later the page was taken down. I didn't really want a complete take-down, just a fix for their layout.

  • My two cents... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 04, 2014 @04:40AM (#47382337)

    Google shouldn't have to make intelligent decisions as to what needs to be removed. It should all be automatic. Either everything is removed, or nothing is removed. Only by court orders otherwise.

    Those people, who want to be forgotten, should go after those hosting the material, not the search engine pointing. Don't we have an expectation to know where things are when searching? The search engine should be neutral is discovering the information.

    The existence of a site doesn't necessarily mean something is negative. Facts are facts. If it's copyright infringement, defamation, libel, whatever, then it's the site that should be dealt with, not someone pointing to it.

    To me, the E.U. isn't making progress. (I'm an American in the U.S.A.)

    How does the existence of facts make a person any less qualified to do a job, if said facts aren't relevant? Employers, lenders, whatever, shouldn't be allowed to take factor in certain things when it comes to hiring people. It should be illegal. Kind of like how when asking about criminal activity, here in the U.S., I don't think they can count convictions over 10 years old. Why not do that sort of thing for stuff over there? Wasn't this whole thing originally about some guy and his tax foreclosure on his house or something like that?

    • Google shouldn't have to make intelligent decisions as to what needs to be removed. It should all be automatic. Either everything is removed, or nothing is removed. Only by court orders otherwise.

      Those people, who want to be forgotten, should go after those hosting the material, not the search engine pointing.

      That's what has been tried first. But as a newspaper archive, the source is protected from removal. Then that guy decided to to so big time trolling and shoot the messenger (sue Google) instead.

      Don't we have an expectation to know where things are when searching? The search engine should be neutral is discovering the information.

      One of the biggest misconceptions ever. Altavista was neutral, going only by comparing the search keywords to the keywords on the websites. It got spammed and SEOed into oblivion. Google finally sent them into oblivion by showing search results that DID NOT try to be neutral, but tried to guess what the user was actu

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Google finally sent them into oblivion by showing search results that DID NOT try to be neutral, but tried to guess what the user was actually looking for.

        But that is neutral. What the user is looking for, neither this other thing nor that other thing. What Altavista actually did was show unprocessed results. When speed of search engines was a differentiating factor, that approach paid off. Then they advanced in performance and it didn't.

    • by PhilHibbs (4537)

      Google shouldn't have to make intelligent decisions as to what needs to be removed. It should all be automatic. Either everything is removed, or nothing is removed. Only by court orders otherwise.

      So I should be able to request that searches for "microsoft" should not go to "microsoft.com"? And Google should be forced to honour that?

      Those people, who want to be forgotten, should go after those hosting the material, not the search engine pointing.

      The reason that going via the search engine works, is that it is possible. Many content platforms don't have easy mechanisms for identifying and removing content, and many are hosted abroad (whereas Google is active in the EU and can therefore be instructed by EU authorities). Slashdot, for instance, has only ever removed comment content once to my knowledge and they made

  • A good idea, but... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bigalzzz (2692893) on Friday July 04, 2014 @04:58AM (#47382389)
    Whilst it's a good idea for most people to be able to hide some embarrassing stuff about them, sadly it can be used to hide information that should be public. For example I know of someone who owes me a considerable amount of money, and several others. He deliberately ran up the debt with no intention of paying. Whilst trying to find information about him the other day Google showed that it has hidden a results because of the right to be forgotten. I know that he's done this so he can get out there and con more people with less chance of being found.
    • by gbjbaanb (229885)

      The ruling only refers to information that is no longer "inadequate, irrelevant, or no longer relevant" - so if its still relevant it should not be unlinked.

      Maybe you should write to Google to inform them of this and to get the link re-instated.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Whilst it's a good idea for most people to be able to hide some embarrassing stuff about them,

      [citation needed]

      People already have too little motivation to do the right thing. Their misdeeds must be recorded for posterity. As well, too many people take stupid shit too seriously. The fact that it's just stupid shit must also be recorded for posterity, so that we can get over the stupid shit.

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        Are you saying you never made a mistake in your life that you find embarrassing now? As cameras become ubiquitous and social networks generate vast amounts of data about people it becomes more and more likely that the one time you got drunk and did something daft will be recorded for posterity and screw up the remainder of your otherwise good life.

        • by Ardyvee (2447206)

          A long time ago I made the decision to live with my actions online. I say this as somebody who grew up being told to never publish anything that might ID me online. As such, I've tried my very best to: not publish something I don't want to remain on record for eternity; and if I do write something I later find... regrettable, not ask for it's deletion or it's inclusion. If somebody finds it, I hope they are capable of understanding that people change. If they aren't, I'm okay with not interacting with them

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Are you saying you never made a mistake in your life that you find embarrassing now?

          I'm saying that we need both a sense of perspective about embarrassment (and that complacency is bred from familiarity) and about appropriate behavior in public, in which case respect will come from familiarity. Right now, some people are wildly inappropriate in one direction, or even both; some people need to learn to mind their own business, some people need to learn to keep their business more private, and some people need to work on the log in their own eye, et cetera. Hiding the facts only obfuscates t

      • People already have too little motivation to do the right thing. Their misdeeds must be recorded for posterity. As well, too many people take stupid shit too seriously. The fact that it's just stupid shit must also be recorded for posterity, so that we can get over the stupid shit.

        What about when the "truth" is incredibly misleading? What if there were actually no "misdeeds," but there is an implication that there were?

        Also, many of the cases so far seem to be dealing with media reporting. Do we really believe that the media always gets it 100% correct -- and, more importantly, that they care about giving enough context that a reasonable reader would draw the correct conclusions?

        For a really common example, what about people who are arrested, but no charges are ever filed (perh

  • I've been doing a bit of digging on the page, apparently the takedown was because of one of the comments so I did google searches for the page and each commentors name and they all came up ... though the searches were very slow and occasionally died with a 500 error.
  • ... I thought this law was so forward-looking and enlightened and European (but I repeat myself) and all. But now it's a censorship tragedy instead?

    It's so hard to keep up with what I'm supposed to think these days ...

  • First, I'd point that for many quite common names, you may find several people with same Name+Surname in Europe... sometimes hundred of people sharing the same name. So, what if John Doe A ask to remove some fact about John Doe B ? That's clearly impossible to google to judge about it.

    I think that a quick "fix" to the problem would be Right to be cast in oblivion... Google just has to keep (in addition to removal of a specific link) a list of the people who asked to have their name removed and simply re

  • Muslims want all reference to the twin towers bombing and the london underground bombing removed. Sure it's irrelevant! Translations of the Qur'an - sure it might give people the idea that Islam isn't all peaceful
  • I officially no longer understand how the hell our government works.

    He said the ruling should not allow people to "Photoshop their lives"

    Isn't that exactly, to the letter, what the ruling does?

  • seems to me that it's better to err on the side of safety by complying with all requests than have to deal with people in court because joe blow didn't like that you wouldn't remove his misdeeds. i mean, there are about 1000 requests a day and if you deny even 1% of people, you could end up in court in multiple countries in just one day.

  • I said we wanted a slope. Nobody said it had to be slippery.
  • if people and companies always had "good judgement" there would be no need for laws and legal precedents in the first place. Laws are a fundamentally there to replace judgment, they provide a prescription of what one can or may do given a set of facts. They replace the use of ones judgement.

    Maybe the EC should recognize that the problem lies with their law codes and their courts and not with Google.

  • It is an american Corporation with no assets in Europe! In the United States it is protected by the Speech Act! Europe can not corerce DuckDuckGo! It has a policy about not recording your searches!
  • by bmo (77928) on Friday July 04, 2014 @11:44AM (#47384155)

    Does not exist.

    It didn't exist before the Internet, and it doesn't exist now. It's a complete fiction. I don't even know why we're discussing this as if it exists. It doesn't. I can't go back and tell people to forget things or destroy newspaper clippings about what I did any more than I can stop the tide from coming in.

    --
    BMO

The world is no nursery. - Sigmund Freud

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