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Spanish Company Tests 'Right To Be Forgotten' Against Google 200

suraj.sun writes with an excerpt from an article over at Ars Technica: "Los Alfaques, a bucolic campground near the Spanish town of Tarragona, isn't happy with Google. That's because searches for 'camping Alfaques' bring up horrific images of charred human flesh — not good for business when you're trying to sell people on the idea of relaxation. The campground believes it has the right to demand that Google stop showing 'negative' links, even though the links aren't mistakes at all. Are such lawsuits an aberration, or the future of Europe's Internet experience in the wake of its new 'right to be forgotten' proposals? Legal scholars like Jeffrey Rosen remain skeptical that such a right won't lead to all sorts of problems for free expression. But in Spain, the debate continues. Last week, Los Alfaques lost its case — but only because it needed to sue (U.S.-based) Google directly. Mario Gianni, the owner of Los Alfaques, is currently deciding whether such a suit is worth pursuing."
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Spanish Company Tests 'Right To Be Forgotten' Against Google

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  • by maugle ( 1369813 ) on Monday February 27, 2012 @11:30PM (#39181755)
    Next up: Germany uses the "right to be forgotten" on all events between 1939 and 1945.
    • by Shikaku ( 1129753 ) on Monday February 27, 2012 @11:36PM (#39181783)


      History is history. PR and marketting be damned!

    • by Latent Heat ( 558884 ) on Monday February 27, 2012 @11:44PM (#39181843)
      If the owners or operators of the resort campground had any degree of responsibility, culpability, or negligence in the accident that had happened there, I might agree with your reasoning. As far as I can tell, that a petrochemical company had a hazardous load on a tanker truck blow up on the road outside the resort has absolutely no correlation or comparison with the complicity of the German people, either active or silent, in the events you describe.

      You are going to have to come up with a better argument in favor of Google, a commercial entitity, in reminding people about a tragedy of which another commercial entity was an innocent victim. Your snarky post has me siding with the folks in Spain.

      • by jdgeorge ( 18767 ) on Monday February 27, 2012 @11:58PM (#39181901)

        The events of history should not be erased simply because they are unfortunate. In my view, you have the right to pursue success, but you don't have the right to be successful. In this case, the campground operator doesn't have any right to be successful, no matter how much it wishes its context or were different.

        As others have suggested, the easy solution is to choose a new name. Asking Google to "forget" is foolish, and does a disservice to people who are interested or were affected by the disaster.

        • by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @02:28AM (#39182537) Homepage

          OTOH, the campground owner does probably have the right to sue the petrochemical company for financial compensation, and likely already has.
          Why should compensation for damages be more than actual damages?

          • Well, the usual reason is typically something like lost revenue. Possible reasons include your minor tourist destination being more famous for a horrible historical event than its services. Remember when everyone stopped using ReiserFS?
            • by wisty ( 1335733 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @04:36AM (#39182987)

              Something about instability?

            • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

              Actually I think it's pretty sick to continue to use a camp ground where 217 people died. Normally these places get turned into public parks in memoriam to the lives lost there.

              Many people would demand the right to know the history and would refuse to stay there based upon it.

              For many people, likely the majority, it would be like setting camp up in a graveyard. Personally I think the camp ground owners lack any sense of taste or reasonably moral behaviour. Greed seems to have won out over any form of r

              • I'm not European, but we're talking about a place in Europe here. With your line of thinking, there'd be very few places in Western Europe that would be usable for anything except memorial parks; the whole place has been bombed out many times, and many cities completely rebuilt from rubble. Do you think the city of Dresden should be emptied of occupants and turned into a memorial park, because the place was leveled in WWII? Where are those half-million people going to go live? What about Hiroshima, wher

        • by meerling ( 1487879 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @04:44AM (#39183021)
          Did it happen? Yes
          Is it public record? Yes
          Is the owner of the campsite trying to hide the facts? Yes
          Is he doing it out of respect for the hundreds dead and wounded in a tragic accident? No
          Is he doing it for monetary reasons? Yes

          If he didn't want the human bbq to 'taint' his reopening of the campground after this event, he should have picked a different location.
          I doubt he could have sold the place though, few people would want to buy someplace where those kinds of horrors have occurred.

          What he's trying to do is censorship or elimination of history for purposes of commercial gain. I don't care how you slice it, that just isn't ethical.

          Maybe he should try to embrace it, and have ghost hunter conventions there, or really spooky Halloween events. I don't know, but trying to deny the past is not the way to go about it.
          • Maybe he should try to embrace it, and have ghost hunter conventions there, or really spooky Halloween events. I don't know, but trying to deny the past is not the way to go about it.

            I agree with the gist of the rest of your post. but some people will be aghast at idea of ghost hunter or other such idiocy there. it is just insulting to the people who died there and also to their relatives. it is one thing opening such thing on place of accident some 200 years back... but this was just 35 years back. yes "too-soon-to-joke" logic :(

            • by tqk ( 413719 )

              Maybe he should try to embrace it, and have ghost hunter conventions there ...

              ... some people will be aghast at idea of ghost hunter or other such idiocy there.

              Perhaps Day of the Dead [] would be more apropos.

      • by 1u3hr ( 530656 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @12:22AM (#39182029)

        a better argument in favor of Google, a commercial entitity, in reminding people about a tragedy of which another commercial entity was an innocent victim

        The 217 people who were incinerated should be erased from history because a commercial entity would rather no one knew about it?

        That was the most important thing that has happened at that place, it's perfectly correct that it should be one of the first things that comes up on a search for that name.

        If I operated a camping ground at Auschwitz, should I sue to make the concentration camp not turn up on searches? I That wasn't my fault, why should I have to suffer the negative publicity?

        • by Sir_Sri ( 199544 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @01:00AM (#39182209)

          If I want to visit Nuremberg on business I don't necessarily need a slew of results about Nuremberg laws. If I'm going to China I probably want to see Tianamen square, just as I would want to see Trafalgar square in the UK. One happened to have a massacre in it, but unless that massacre is happening *right now* I care more about directions, parking etc.

          It's not that there's a problem to have results that list all of the terrible things that have happened somewhere in the past, it's that they are just that, history, and if you want to go camping something that happened 34 years ago is not really relevant. It's not that the links shouldn't be there, just they should maybe be slightly deprioritized over current events or status. If there's a flood in Nuremberg I'd rather that be at the top of the list, than an event, horrific as it may be, that happened 70 years ago.

          Do you really want a world where the first search for Kansas is about bleeding kansas and the fight over slavery that happened there 160 years ago? That might be history, and it might make for some historical sites worth visiting (having never been to kansas I have no idea), but I may care more about a map than about one specific event that happened to be the worst thing to ever happen to a place. The history of the world is full of dirty laundry, that's important, but it's probably more relevant that the top result for anything be somewhat current.

          We might be arguing about degree. If I search for Tianamen square should the first 3 results be: a map, tourist info, and the offical website of the place or should it be a series of things about the 'protests' of 1989 and videos of tank man? How about the "National Mall" in DC (I think that's what it's called) where there have been a few shootings over the years? Should a search for verden (a town in germany) produce a page full of results for a massacre in verden ordered by Charlemange in 782, before information such as the local government webpage, or a map? I tend to think the first few results should be relevant to right now, and the lower results still have all of the messy history, and, especially in Europe, lets face it, there are a LOT of layers of history, you kinda get used to it, and focus on today even if your local bank branch is in a 900 year old castle.

          • by webnut77 ( 1326189 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @01:09AM (#39182253)

            Isn't this a matter or SEO? Get positive links to your site?

            And on the flip side, don't these other sites, the ones that have info about the disaster, deserve their place in the search listing?

            This sounds like: "Please adjust the rules in my favor"

            • by Sir_Sri ( 199544 )

              And on the flip side, don't these other sites, the ones that have info about the disaster, deserve their place in the search listing?

              Sure, so now we're arguing degree. Should the first result for Nuremberg be the city, or the laws passed by the Nazi's? Which search ranks matter, the top 3, top 5, top 10? Does it matter how exactly they're displayed? If I'm searching for this specific phrase should the top result be that specific phrase, or a more popular variant thereof.

              If I search for slashdut I may really specifically mean whatever the hell slashdut is, or I may mean slashdot. The priority should go to the actual thing slashdut wi

              • by James_Duncan8181 ( 588316 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @06:03AM (#39183329) Homepage
                If only we could tell which was most important to people. But wait! We could check by seeing the most useful information via the amount of links. Although we might want to add other metrics like social network mentions and such. We could make some kind of ranking rank pages...if only there was some word for this.
              • So if my child was the one killed in front of webnut77's business, you'd argue that I cannot purchase the store across the road and set up a museum/mausoleum dedicated to my child, with a large banner in the window saying "across the road from here, in front of webnut77's business, my child was brutally stabbed to death"? Can I petition the city to replace a piece of pavement with a plaque honouring my child's death? If I create an association aimed at preventing child murder, can I name it the address desi
                • That food poisoning accident we had a few years ago because of unsanitary practices

                  Try searching for Kartoffelkeller Lübeck, and watch what turns up as 7th and 8th link...

                  ... and it wasn't even their fault. And actually, they weren't even the unwitting "origin", that hypothesis got disspelled within days. And yet, Google, like Anonymous, never forgets...

                • Asking for that to be "forgotten" is IMO ridiculous and extremely dangerous, since it opens up the door to whitewashing history. "That food poisoning accident we had a few years ago because of unsanitary practices? Don't worry about it, we've changed ownership." "That boat that capsized in Italy? That was a whole month ago! Google's insistence on bringing it up in searches about us is damaging our business."

                  The things you list were the fault of the owners. The campsite was innocent.

                  Not saying they should try to erase it from history but I think a name change is justifiable in the case of the campsite.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by maj1k ( 33968 )
            google 'tianamen square map' google 'tianamen square tourist info' google 'tianamen square official website' is that really that hard?
            • by Sir_Sri ( 199544 )

              You can make the same argument the other way. If I want info on Tianamen Square massacre shouldn't I have to type that in first? If I just want info on tianamen square, I just want info on Tianamen square, I don't necessarily want the Tianamen Square official website, but I do want information about Tianamen Square.

              Why is one prioritized over the other, and is that merely a self fulfilling prophecy, again, how far back do we want to drag history. Just because it happened after the advent of colour photog

              • by Omestes ( 471991 ) <> on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @03:16AM (#39182695) Homepage Journal

                A bigger question, though, is which is more important or relevant? Your vacation to Tienanmen Square, or the events that happened there? Also, from a search engine's perspective, which is more relevant to more searchers? Are more people trying to look up historic events, or planning a trip?

                My snarky answer (its late) is; your vacation plans are pretty much completely irrelevant next to the events in historical Nuremberg. Those events (the laws, and the later trials) effected far more of the world than your vacation ever will, and are vastly more important than you finding cheap lodging without having to type in a couple extra words into a search. Ditto for Tienanmen Square.

                Also, while I'm on the snark train, I don't feel one small shred of pity for the director of this camp ground. Sure, it sucks to be him, but that is life. Google generally ranks things according to relevance, and I'm guessing there is more interest (and hence more Page Rank) in the disaster than in his little camp ground. Nothing wrong with that. Google doesn't exist to ensure this guy stays in business or pulls a profit, nor should they.

              • Why is one prioritized over the other[]?

                Uh, because it's a linear listing - which means that one has to appear first, and the other afterwards? Do you think that all results should be displayed side-by-side?

                Or, if you accept that search results have to appear in *some* order, how do you expect Google to know that you're planning a trip and not writing a school paper? Should Google be able to work out where you live, find the nearest schools, look up the History lesson plans and see that you've got a Chinese

          • Great post, except top result for "camping alfaques" is "Alfaques Camping - Apartamentos - Camping" both on Google and Bing and they are just ticked off by image search feature showing unpleasant pictures.

            But why get constrained by boring reality, when you can rant instead?

            • by Sir_Sri ( 199544 )

              The top result for "Alfaques"

              In order are:
              The wiki about the disaster
              Pictures of the disaster
              The offical website (without thumbnail)
              Newspaper about the disaster (with picture)
              A youtube video about the explosion
              Two campground things
              Results related to the current discussion about their search problem.

              Search from Ontario Canada.

              Every example I cited I specifically searched for in advance to be specifically illustrative of the problem, why is one place saddled with search engine results that are negative and an

              • > why is one place saddled with search engine results that are negative and another not?

                Because one place is famous for bad thing happening there and another is not. Searching for Jane Q. Celebrity will turn up her personal site first, as she's famous by herself, but searching for brutally murdered John Smith will turn up news reports, not his facebook page.

                Your definition of "relevance" is strange. If most people looking for "Nuremberg" or "Bhopal" are interested in trials and chemical plant disaster, f

              • by 1u3hr ( 530656 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @05:49AM (#39183269)

                Every example I cited I specifically searched for in advance to be specifically illustrative of the problem

                What problem? Two links about he campsite, as a tourist venue, are on the first page.If that's what you wanted, you found it. If you were planing to go on holiday to a place that had a huge toxic waste disaster, you might want to read up on that too. So, no problem at all.

              • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

                tbh, sorting of search results, and which additional parameters may or may not be required to reach certain specifics... it seems entirely irrelevant for the case that camp owner is trying to make.
                "The right to be forgotten". If the information is available one way or another, with any string of additional parameters attached or not, it was not forgotten. So either Google erases history, or they fail to comply.
                As for finding relevant results and sorting them properly, it's in Google's best interest to do
          • by philip.paradis ( 2580427 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @02:37AM (#39182563)

            If I want to visit Nuremberg on business I don't necessarily need a slew of results about Nuremberg laws. If I'm going to China I probably want to see Tianamen square, just as I would want to see Trafalgar square in the UK. One happened to have a massacre in it, but unless that massacre is happening *right now* I care more about directions, parking etc.

            This is where the discussion shifts to "your personal needs versus the needs of the majority." Most people will never visit Nuremberg on business. Actually, most people will never visit Nuremberg at all. However, many people are interested in Nuremberg in a historical context. Your personal interest in Nuremberg massively pales in comparison to that of the majority. Why should your needs and interests suddenly gain precedence over those of the majority?

            There is, of course, an easy way to deliver relevant results either way. It's called "personalized search," but implementations of such ideas are the target of frequent and in some cases massive outcry from privacy advocates, because accurate personalized data mining requires having a whole bunch of data about you to work with.

            The world can't have it both ways.

          • by izomiac ( 815208 )
            If you're looking for parking in Tianamen square then how is Google supposed to know what you want when you just type "Tianamen square"? Isn't it worse if they have so much data on you they can predict what you're searching for without you even needing to type it?
          • So basically you want to force search engines to only list nice, clean un-objectional results that don't offend anyone... all so you won't see anything that might upset you. Nice. That is how all censorship and oppression starts. Anything from censoring nudity to homo-sexuals being banned from kissing in public. Someone might be offended so it must be hidden.

            You are the enemy of any person who desires freedom. If we left things up to your kind we would life in a sanitized world were those who object to Tell

            • by gutnor ( 872759 )

              No what he and businesses want is Google to work as a giant billboard instead of an index as it currently does.

              Considering that Google is making money solely on advertisement, a very successful one making billions every year, you may understand why they get confused. At the end of the day, businesses pay for what the rest of the world enjoys for free. They don't want censorship, they just want to get their money worth.

              Of course, that is no good for us and I hope that the Justice does not set a bad prec

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by 1u3hr ( 530656 )

            IIf I'm going to China I probably want to see Tianamen square, just as I would want to see Trafalgar square in the UK. One happened to have a massacre in it, but unless that massacre is happening *right now* I care more about directions, parking etc.

            Well, duh, if you want to know about parking in Tiananmen, ASK FOR THAT. How the hell is Google, or anyone, supposed to know what you want?


            Is that hard?

            Failing that, the most widely discussed information is at top, which is about the massacre.

      • by blackest_k ( 761565 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @05:30AM (#39183205) Homepage Journal

        It is an interesting and tragic story, largely of greed and incompetence on the part of a petro chemical company who overloaded the tanker, a tanker that was not designed for that load and the tank was weakened by stress corrosion cracking. The driver who was not trained in hazmat and apparently seems to have taken the route he did in order to avoid motorway tolls. It seems that the tanker had a tyre blow out possibly due to the overloading of the tanker who's weakened tank then struck the wall and leaked a huge cloud of highly inflammable gas which eventually ignited killing all those poor people.

        The responsibility is largely the petroleum companies and the regulations which they operated under and compensation has been made to the victims and their families and presumably to the camp ground operators. Due to the tragedy regulations have been changed and safety procedures improved.

        Probably the camp ground should have been bought out by the Petro Chemical ground and closed and left as a nature reserve and memorial to the people who died there. Even so as a destination for tourists it has been tainted and will be for the foreseeable future. It was a poor decision to rebuild the camp ground However it is clear that it's profitability is and always will be effected by the events that took place regardless of Google.

        Knowing what took place there would that effect your decision to stay there? If the answer is yes and you wouldn't stay there because of the history of the place, how would you feel if once you arrived you found out about the history of the place?

        I think if you try pulling the wool over peoples eyes they will be angry, if you have a family with young children how are they going to react once they find out they are staying in the death camp.

        Now if you know the truth you may decide that doesn't bother me, it is in a great location and book anyway. It might even appeal to some people. [] is in catalan but talks about ghosts seen at the site since 1980 (page 6 on the google results and About the first result which i thought might not be talking about the accident). The only place it seems it isn't mentioned is on the website for the campsite. Personally I think it is a mistake on their part not to mention it as it seems quite disrespectful to the victims of that fire.

        You see if your going to make an informed choice of where to holiday then you can't just not mention the horrific deaths that took place there, and they are mentioned a lot in this case. just like lockerbie, heisel , flixborough, mousehole and the loss of the penlee lifeboat crew.

        The village of mousehole turns off the christmas lights on the 19th of December in memory of the lifeboat crew who lost their lives that night in 1981. Honouring the dead, not ignoring them.

        I don't think it is in anyway reasonable to pretend that the tragedy didn't happen it is disrespectful to the victims and their families.

    • 1933-1945. The Nazis didn't start WW2 on day one - they'd been in power a while.
    • Both the Los Alfaques disaster and Nazi Germany are events that occurred several decades ago, so interested parties should have a right to complain about the ranking of search results based upon a simple search like "Los Alfaques" or "Germany". And Google should take the initiative to improve the ranking of the results.

      Note, I am not saying that Google should sanitize the results. Searches for "Los Alfaques disaster" and "Nazi Germany" (or anything of that ilk) should definitely present the relevant resul

    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

      I though this whole "right to be forgotten" only applied to non-newsworthy humans. I.e. facebook and twitter profiles of ordinary people.

    • by Dave Emami ( 237460 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @02:38AM (#39182565) Homepage
      Brian: Yeah, about your pamphlet, I'm not seeing anything about German history between 1939 and 1945. There's just a big gap...
      German tour guide: Everyone was on vacation! On your left is Munich's first city hall, erected in 15...
      Brian: What are you talking about? Germany invaded Poland in 1939 and...
      Tour guide: We were invited! Punch was served! Check with Poland!
      Brian: You can't just ignore those years. Thomas Mann fled to American because of Nazism's stranglehold on Germany.
      Tour guide: No, no, he left to manage a Dairy Queen.
      Brian: A Dairy Queen? That's preposterous.
      Tour guide: I will hear no more insinuations about the German people! Nothing bad happened! Sie werden sich hinsetzen! Sie werden ruhig sein! Sie werden nicht beleidigen Deutschland!
    • Unlikely, since last time I checked Holocaust denial was a criminal offense in Germany.

    • by gmhowell ( 26755 )

      Next up: Germany uses the "right to be forgotten" on all events between 1939 and 1945.

      Why not, the Japanese do.

    • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

      So we'd never hear of Orwell or 1984, either, which pretty much cautioned against revisionist history. The American Democratic political party would probably like people to forget about the Chicago Seven; and the Republicans, who whine that only half of Americans pay Federal tax, would probably like you to forget that in the 1920s only the rich paid Federal taxes.

      Wait, I think they got their way. I only know about it because my grandparents were young adults then.

      The truth is the truth. The past should only

  • by enoz ( 1181117 ) on Monday February 27, 2012 @11:36PM (#39181785)

    Wouldn't it be cheaper, easier, and more effective to simply rename the campground?

    • That was my first thought. Especially since the results being returned are accurate information. This doesn't even rise to the level of a Santorum situation where irrelevant and/or unrelated results are being provided.

      • by artor3 ( 1344997 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @12:52AM (#39182177)

        I wouldn't call the Santorum/santorum situation irrelevant. The term, and the website behind it, began several years before the man became a presidential aspirant, as a response to his medieval views on sex and his desire to get the government involved in it. Since he still espouses those same views, I'd say that lower-case "s" santorum is still very relevant.

        Americans forget past transgressions by politicians far too quickly. How else to explain Newt Gingrich ever polling above 5%? Or Ollie Fucking North working in a job that doesn't involve busing tables? As soon as it stops getting ratings, the media moves on, and no one cares anymore. I'd like to see more "Google problems" haunting people like that, not fewer.

    • by TheRealMindChild ( 743925 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @12:26AM (#39182053) Homepage Journal
      Sure, that worked when they renamed Camp Crystal Lake to Forest Green
    • The publicity is worth far more than they're paying in the suit. Streisand was already famous in 2003, this campground's 15 minutes of fame were over once the headlines stopped. Suing Google gets their name alongside Google's name, and the press coverage it brings is significant. I'd say they've already won. All they need to do now, as someone else mentioned, is build something that is very tasteful and respectful of those who died. Perhaps they could sponsor legislation for better safety standards aft
  • Hasn't this lawsuit already been dismissed by said courts?
    • It was only dismissed because they sued the wrong entity (a Spanish Google subsidiary rather than Google itself). The dismissal says nothing about the merits of the case, and it can be refiled against Google.

      • by Capsaicin ( 412918 ) * on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @02:21AM (#39182507)

        It was only dismissed because they sued the wrong entity (a Spanish Google subsidiary rather than Google itself). The dismissal says nothing about the merits of the case, and it can be refiled against Google.

        IAAL, not one who understands European, but issues of jurisdictional standing etc are very much part of what I would consider the merits of the case.

        That Google's Spanish subsidiary could not be sued (apparently because it did not run the search engine, but only engaged in marketing) may turn out to be significant. Assuming Google has no other corporate presence in Spain, would the court enforce the judgment, nonetheless, against this subsidiary?! If not, and assuming a US court would not enforce such a judgment, that would rather limit the effect of this law as regards extra-national search engines, even where they have a Spanish corporate presence.

  • Santorum (Score:3, Funny)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Monday February 27, 2012 @11:38PM (#39181797) Journal
    I'll bet Santorum wishes Google would forget him.
  • Sounds like a job for search engine optimization services. Bury all those old news stories.

  • They should contact/sue the hosts hosting the content, and not Google
  • by Skapare ( 16644 ) on Monday February 27, 2012 @11:41PM (#39181819) Homepage

    If the campground sues and wins, then we forget about the campground, but that won't affect the disaster. The campground does not own the disaster. To forget the disaster, then the disaster must sue.

    What about MY right to remember history the way it truly happened?

    • What about MY right to remember history the way it truly happened?

      Apparently, you are allowed to remember whatever you like, just not distribute information regarding it over the internet.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      This has absolutely nothing to do with the right to be forgotten, I don't know why the summary says it does. That right only applies to individuals and the material they themselves have created, so at beast the campsite owners could get their own photos and blog posts removed.

      It absolutely does not allow you to censor other people, except in the very specific circumstances of them having reposted material you own (e.g. embarrassing photos) or where the law says you are allowed to (e.g. some spent conviction

  • by Valacosa ( 863657 ) on Monday February 27, 2012 @11:43PM (#39181835)
    There's no way in hell your "right" to be forgotten is more important than our right to remember.
  • by wisnoskij ( 1206448 ) on Monday February 27, 2012 @11:43PM (#39181839) Homepage

    There is a big difference between the right to be forgotten and the right to decide what is remembered and what is forgotten.This picking and choosing seems to be a completely untenable situation.

  • by Ambvai ( 1106941 ) on Monday February 27, 2012 @11:46PM (#39181861)

    The 'right to be forgotten' sounds fine-- if the campground wishes to remove all mentions of itself, then by all means, they can. But they can't pick and choose what gets eliminated based on their own criteria of 'good' and 'bad'.

    It rather reminds me of that Belgian newspaper who brought suit against Google to stop linking to any of their pages... and complained when Google did that and their traffic dropped through the floor. (Though they referred to it as some kind of hostile retaliation...)

    • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

      in this case, no, it's not fine. no pick and choose either. the campgrounds should simply change their name, the disaster happened and it's not right for them to ask google to censor it from having happened.

    • It rather reminds me of that Belgian newspaper who brought suit against Google to stop linking to any of their pages... and complained when Google did that and their traffic dropped through the floor.

      If I remember correctly the lawsuit was not about linking, it was about the use of their content on google news. However, the court ordered ALL content to be removed, and google complied with exactly that. But it was a wonderful case of biting the hand that feeds.

  • We are caught in a dilemma. While most people trust Google search indexes / algorithms and, thus, its results, Google is, nevertheless, a private company. As such, it will be regularly (probably more and more) attacked by some people for the same - apparently legitimate - reasons as the ones mentioned in this story ; Google being unable to prove the relevancy of such results without revealing the secret algorithms. The dilemma is, can we let/trust Google as an honest company that does the best it can to pro
  • by bdwoolman ( 561635 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @12:33AM (#39182087) Homepage

    What is... is. Any decent tourbook that includes this campsite will of course mention the disaster. It is feckless to ask any supposedly objective information source to skip over a significant element of a place's history.

    Or a person's history. "Here are my transcripts... Oh wait! We have a right to forget that C- in calculus."

    "Really? Somehow I think not Mr. Woolman."

    As I said, What is So the place in infamous. So what? Why not capitalize? Build a shrine. Pay some monks to consecrate it. Build a museum filled with grisly photos. Put up a flower wall. These Europeans simply need to take a page from the How To Be An American Handbook. Seems to me these people are sitting on a goldmine. Picture this: Next to the grisly search results a Google text ad that reads. "See the Alfaques Museum and Shrine." Some people just don't realize when they have it good. Sheesh!

  • The disaster happened in 1978. That's a long time before Google existed! If they worry about association with it so badly, why not just change the name of the bloody campsite! Job done. Idiots.
  • by aqui ( 472334 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @01:06AM (#39182239)

    These guys will learn the hard way about the Streisand Effect ( [] ).

    Heck I would just rename the campground and associated website. It would cost less than the lawsuit and would be a lot easier than trying to rewrite history.
    With the money I'd save, I'd even set up a camp ground sponsored road side shrine (To make sure that no one would accuse you of changing the name to hide the history). The only thing this camp ground is guilty of is bad luck. If the truck had been 2-3 km down the road they would have never been a news story, except for maybe bad sun burn.

    Oh well some people always seem to learn the hard way.

  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @01:43AM (#39182373)

    Block the portions of the internet you don't like. Forbid them access to your country.

    really... you might as well just disable internet altogether.

    Happy now? People have a right to express themselves. If people want to show horrible images of your beach and give it poor reviews that is their right. You don't counter that by suing them. You counter it by flooding the search engine with a different set of links. Talk to an SEO company and just pay them. Or hand out a set of instructions and have everyone in the town click on different links or submit different information. I should think even a small town should be able to collectively force an algorithm to show different content.

    Man up and join the 21st century.

    • by oreaq ( 817314 )

      Man up and join the 21st century.

      That's the spirit citizen. Join in and do what is necessary to please the algorithm. After all your only purpose in life is to server the all mighty algorithm. Doesn't matter if it's about Google's page ranking or Goldman's stock evaluation; they all are our new gods.

      • I looked for an intelligible argument and didn't find one.

        Please rephrase your comment in the form of something rational.

  • Want's that law intended for protecting individuals? Or is this the old 'businesses are people too' shtick? Where's the damn Wikipedia article.
  • The campground wants the bad results removed. These images and pages belong to other people/sites/etc. They have a "right to be forgotten", but that won't extend to other peoples property. If it was pages/results on their site, it'd be fine, but they are not, and what they are really trying to do is remove competion from the search results for their own commercial benefit.
  • The sanitized web (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @03:35AM (#39182763) Journal

    This is not about the right to be forgotten,this is about the commercial sanitized web, where no search result may interfere with business and the business of marketing. Related to it are the religious nutters who want to censor the world of anything that might offend. The water-shed but also "Don't ask, don't tell" are symptoms of this. They might seem harmless but once you start giving into these extremists, freedom goes out the window.

    It after all never ends. Take this case, at what page of image search ARE the charred corpses allowed to start appearing? Bottom of the first page? 2nd page? For what search results? There is always more sanitizing to be done.

    Telly tubbies anyone? Lot of fuss because one of the characters supposedly was gay. Can't have that. Not because being gay is bad of course... it just needs to be hidden. From toddlers, from small children, from teens, from young adults, from adults... go into your ghetto and don't come out and upset right thinking people!

    Search engines and the internet have allowed us to do something unheard of in previous era's, to consume any information we want regardless of other human beings. If you were to ask in a christian town in the library for a book on homo's, you might not get what you want, information is easily censored on a local level. With the internet, you can get ANY opinion on the subject, good and bad and make up your own mind. Doesn't mean everyone will, but you can. And that is a great power to have.

    Censoring search results because someone doesn't like them might seem harmless in individual cases but cases set precedent and precedent is abused by those who know their individual case gets no symphaty.

    I am fairly certain a certain cruise company would like NOT to have a certain accident be linked to it constantly especially now it is again in the news with another ship. How far, how soon would you censor search results? The answer? Always to far and to soon.

    Freedom of speech dies fastest when you are free to speak but nobody is allowed to hear you.

  • by Tom ( 822 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @05:40AM (#39183229) Homepage Journal

    Another misleading /. article.

    Can you guys please hire a few european editors, who might have half a clue on things this side of the pond?

    The "right to be forgotten" doesn't even get touched by this nonsense lawsuit. First, it's not yet a law, so how could it? Second, it is about your own data and information. Think FaceBook no longer being allowed to ignore that you deleted your account and keeping your data anyways.

    • by Tim C ( 15259 )
      The last time I could be bothered to check the FAQ, it specifically stated that they don't do any fact-checking at all, and that they leave that up to us. More cynically, slashdot is now a commercial operation (has been for a while of course) and anything that drives page impressions (and thus ad impressions) is in their interest; throwing in a "stoopid EUian gubmint don't unnerstand t'Interweb!" angle helps fan the fires of controversy.

Have you ever noticed that the people who are always trying to tell you `there's a time for work and a time for play' never find the time for play?