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Google Censorship EU

'Hidden From Google' Remembers the Sites Google Is Forced To Forget 163

Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "Hidden From Google, the brainchild of a web programmer in New Jersey, archives each website that Google is required to take down from European Union search listings thanks to the recent court decision that allows people to request that certain pages be scrubbed from Google's search results if they're outdated or irrelevant. That decision has resulted in takedown requests from convicted sex offenders and huge banking companies, among thousands of others."
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'Hidden From Google' Remembers the Sites Google Is Forced To Forget

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  • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Monday July 14, 2014 @08:16PM (#47452771) Homepage

    ... that takes the info from Hidden From Google and reinserts it back into your searches ;)

  • Awesome! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dskoll ( 99328 ) on Monday July 14, 2014 @08:17PM (#47452775) Homepage

    I hope this makes people think twice before filing a forget-me request. It ensures they'll be remembered.

    • Re:Awesome! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ShieldW0lf ( 601553 ) on Monday July 14, 2014 @08:25PM (#47452827) Journal

      I hope this makes people think twice before filing a forget-me request. It ensures they'll be remembered.

      Perhaps you'll be the victim of slander and lose your career over a lie that is interesting enough to go viral where your vindication isn't and doesn't.

      • Re:Awesome! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by AthanasiusKircher ( 1333179 ) on Monday July 14, 2014 @08:36PM (#47452935)

        I hope this makes people think twice before filing a forget-me request. It ensures they'll be remembered.

        Perhaps you'll be the victim of slander and lose your career over a lie that is interesting enough to go viral where your vindication isn't and doesn't.

        THIS. All of the stories on this decision seem to be focusing on people who are clearly bad or did terrible things in the past.

        But our modern news and social media society on the internet archives all sorts of crap that isn't actually true, and never was true. But the salacious headline will always draw attention; the minor blurb on the back page will never be remembered when the charges are dropped or the person is acquitted or everyone just admits that it was a mistake.

        (Just to be clear: I don't think the EU decision will actually work, and TFA is proof of it. But we do have a real problem -- even if 95% of the claims made so far have been by people who committed horrible bad past acts, the real injustice is to the 5% who just got caught up in media attention for something that turned out not to be true, or even nowhere near as horrible as people claimed.)

        • Re:Awesome! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Monday July 14, 2014 @08:53PM (#47453049) Journal

          Lets not forget that you don't even need charges.


          Something like that could seriously place job promotions or prospects in jeopardy. If could ruin a legitimate business just with the controversy hanging out there associated with the name even though he was vindicated in the end.

          • Re:Awesome! (Score:5, Insightful)

            by KingOfBLASH ( 620432 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @03:30AM (#47454805) Journal

            I think the key is that we need to find a balance between the right to privacy and the right to be forgotten.

            Ludicrous story in the paper only designed to make headlines by slandering you? Sure, let's forget about
            You were charged with a crime but did your time and are back in society? Sure, let's forget about it and let you get back to being a member of society. (Otherwise we might as well just brand criminals on the forehead)
            You're a big company that had an oil spill but want to rewrite history? Let's not forget

          • OTOH, would you like to work for people who believe everything they read on the internet?

          • ...which would be moot were it not for the Google-as-address-bar phenomenon where casual users treat Google like it's the whole internet. Google made this mess for themselves when they became the defacto way of finding things online; they're the internet's index, and editorial decisions they make - even algorithmically - are now part of the infrastructure.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          > I don't think the EU decision will actually work, and TFA is proof of it.

          The goal of the EU ruling is not to erase the stories from the net. It is simply to make it harder to find, If the goal were to erase, they would require the site actually hosting the story to take it down, not just remove the entry in google's database.

          It used to be that we had a form of privacy due to our data being hard to find. Property ownership records in a cabinet at the local tax assessor's office, arrest records at the

          • > I don't think the EU decision will actually work, and TFA is proof of it.

            The goal of the EU ruling is not to erase the stories from the net. It is simply to make it harder to find

            Were you responding to me? If so, note I never claimed the goal was to "erase stories from the net." I simply said that it "won't work," and by that I mean it won't do very well at achieving its goal, which -- as you correctly note -- is to make stuff harder to locate.

            The EU is trying to approximate that balance. All the people who complain that it won't "work" are defining the problem wrong. It isn't a situation where black or white will work, but grey might.

            See, here's the problem. If TFA works, we basically have a database to find everything people have registered to be "forgotten." As I said, if this site continues to exist, then the EU ruling is ineffective: it only managed to get rid of s

            • Unless the EU goal was only to add more regulations on top of the regulations they already had. Sometimes, I am convinced that the sole "goal" of a bureaucracy is to increase itself, regardless.

            • The answer is obviously to delist the "removed from Google" page from Google.

        • We already have laws to protect the innocent under most conditions. Slander, Libel, and defamation did not vanish when the Internet popped up. They are harder to enforce, sure, but they did not go away.

          In the case of your 5% innocence (which is as useless as most other statistics in my opinion) any of those people could have sued the source for damages. If found guilty, sources are forced to change or amend content and generally issue public apology.

          This "forget me" law does not do anything to address th

        • Even if people committed a crime, is it sensible to go all Javert on their asses? If they're still in prison, it's probably not really serving any purpose. If they're not, it seems the state found that they deserve another chance at life. Who are you to deny them this chance?

        • Re:Awesome! (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Xest ( 935314 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @04:32AM (#47455039)

          "THIS. All of the stories on this decision seem to be focusing on people who are clearly bad or did terrible things in the past."


          People on Slashdot are quick to slap down politicians who use the "think of the children!" argument and cry "paedophile!" when they want justification for their bullshit, yet it seems to go completely undetected when Slashdot does the exact same thing:

          "That decision has resulted in takedown requests from convicted sex offenders and huge banking companies, among thousands of others.""

          So it's okay to cry sex offender and so forth when it suits or what? There is absolutely zero balance in this wording, it's about as loaded a statement as you can get. Not only does it use shock terms like "sex offender" it also simply says it has resulted in take down notices. This doesn't mean that any of them were actually adhered to, if Google is adhering to take down notices from huge banking companies then it's doing it wrong because companies aren't protected by the European Data Protection Directive which is what this law is about. Only private individuals are, and even then not if there is a clear public interest in keeping the data up (i.e. a corrupt politician).

          So, dear Slashdot, please don't resort to the same type of shit I'd expect from a corrupt or ignorant politician and Fox News, it's not helpful. I guess it may not completely be Slashdot's fault beyond their usual failure to edit. I guess it could be that the submitter is just a complete idiot, but all the same, not here please, if I wanted biased idiocy I'd go straight to Fox, The Daily Mail or The Register or something equally full of mindless incorrect dross.

          Like most stories, there are two sides to this one.

      • And by all means, create a law to deal with that specifically. Just don't create a law that does that, AND is open for abuse by people simply looking bury their mistakes like they never happened.
      • What was wrong with the existing legal remedies?
        • by Trogre ( 513942 )

          You mean other than the fact they're a complete joke?

          • Re:Awesome! (Score:4, Insightful)

            by aardvarkjoe ( 156801 ) on Monday July 14, 2014 @10:03PM (#47453399)

            You mean other than the fact they're a complete joke?

            Even if you believe that the be the case, how does another complete joke of a law fix anything?

            • by Megol ( 3135005 )

              It can make things more difficult to find - which in itself can help. If an employer doesn't get the false rumors that you are a pedophile spammed at the top of the search listings maybe you can get the job? Maybe if the girl that once sent a nude picture to her boyfriend doesn't have her name associated with (false) links of teenage prostitution can get the teacher position she wants?

        • by Megol ( 3135005 )

          Except that they don't work? Are you aware of how many teenagers* have nude photos spread thorough the Internet often with attached names and living addresses? Photos they themselves haven't spread? Photos and made up offerings for free sex? Are you aware that this can be plastered all over the Internet on different sites located in different countries and even different protocols - making it essentially impossible to remove?

          (* I don't think this is only bad for teenagers but it is more obviously wrong)

      • Re:Awesome! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) on Monday July 14, 2014 @09:40PM (#47453287) Journal

        Perhaps you'll be the victim of slander...

        The words are nothing. You would be a victim of those who believed them. Everybody wags the dog in this argument.

        • Re:Awesome! (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Rich0 ( 548339 ) on Monday July 14, 2014 @10:19PM (#47453519) Homepage

          Agree, but fixing the root cause of this is MUCH harder than removing some search results.

          Heck, getting gay marriage legalized is probably an easier cultural change than getting people to treat information they hear with appropriate skepticism and giving people a chance. Actually, if we could fix that then getting gay marriage legalized would be a simple follow-on...

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

          Okay, let's take a real-world example. Mr. Salim Zakhrouf, listed on the site in relation to this [] story about him being racially discriminated against. When he is looking for another job and someone Google's his name, that story is quite likely to be the top result. Considering the guy has already been the victim of racial discrimination and decided to fight back I can see a lot of cowardly employers not wanting to give him an interview.

          There is nothing wrong with the story, except that it mentions him by n

          • Actually cowardly employers aware of hist history would give HIM and interview, because he clearly will report abuse.

            His name is a relevant "factoid" because he was denied and interview when he used his "muslim sounding" name, but granted an interview (and offered a job) when he sent the same resume with an "english sounding" name.

            I don't think he asked to remove the story. I think Cathay Pacific did because the story (rightfully) makes them look like they have a bigoted hiring practice.

      • I hope this makes people think twice before filing a forget-me request. It ensures they'll be remembered.

        Perhaps you'll be the victim of slander and lose your career over a lie that is interesting enough to go viral where your vindication isn't and doesn't.

        In other news, life sucks for the rest of us to.
        Can we make it illegal for ice cream to make me fat while we're at it?

      • I hope this makes people think twice before filing a forget-me request. It ensures they'll be remembered.

        Perhaps you'll be the victim of slander and lose your career over a lie that is interesting enough to go viral where your vindication isn't and doesn't.

        Hey shieldw0lf! If you're not careful about these sort of comments you'll get Santorum'd.

      • by Baki ( 72515 )

        Victims of slander should have the origin removed, not the index by google or others.
        It was wrong to put the burden on google and other search indexes, and it will fail.
        This site just proves that this method of "forgetting" will fail.

      • by dskoll ( 99328 )

        If I'm a victim of slander, I'll go after the slanderer and the site publishing the slander, not Google for indexing it. Existing laws are quite sufficient to handle this case.

        • Not always if the slanderer is in another country.

          I had someone online who was claiming that I was really someone else and involved with some people in illegal activities. She said she was going to contact every company I worked with to tell them of my "illegal dealings." Luckily, I a) only used a pseudonym there (unlike on Slashdot), and b) the woman was certifiably nuts. As evidence to the latter, she claimed that she was a prophet of god. Her proof of my "illegal dealings" were that god told her so.

          • by dskoll ( 99328 )

            The "Right to Forget" could be a good ruling if the EU added two conditions:

            1. A fee (lets say between $25-$50) for each takedown request. That is a small enough fee that it won't deter someone who really wants to get rid of an embarrassing search result, but it's big enough to deter organizations like the Scientologists from making thousands of requests.
            2. A determination by a judge, tribunal, etc. that taking down the search result is in the public's interest.
      • I always cringe when I read local headlines like "John Doe of 123 Apple Street was today charged with distributing images of young children engaged in sexual acts"... Or "Such and such a teacher is accused of engaging in sexual relations with one of her students and is currently suspended with pay pending investigation." .... Anyone can be charged with anything... Way to ruin someone's life. Everyone thinks that if it's in the paper, then there must have been some basis in fact even if the person was later

      • by dissy ( 172727 )

        Perhaps you'll be the victim of slander and lose your career over a lie that is interesting enough to go viral where your vindication isn't and doesn't.

        Slander and lies posted about you aren't the topic at hand however.
        You missed the opportunity to argue over those laws a few hundred years ago bub.

        Today we are discussing new laws not involving lies or slander, but where it is illegal to post provably factual truths about others.

        Statements such as "ShieldW0lf on Slashdot has UID 601553" being declared illegal by making a simple email request are what we are talking about.

    • The vast majority of people will not know or remember to check that site out. At least not for a few years until someone shows them the 15th time. And it needs a path to search when submissions start adding up.

      But it sort of is redundant if your searching wide enough. For instance, Dr. Adam Osborne requested something to be forgotten. [] but if I search for George Osborne Islam [], the story comes up in third result with the first two being about getting Google to hide it.

      So as long as enough details are known ab

      • What an awesome example of 1) why the law is being used other than what it was advertised for and 2) why the law doesn't matter. Every time some one asks for an article, etc. to be un-indexed, an article gets written detailing that request and that article then gets indexed in a never ending cycle. Next we'l be having people demanding that NSLs be used for the un-indexing.

      • Are you searching from Europe or the US?

    • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

      People would be better off "not existing" as a real identity in the first place, then they wouldn't have to worry about forget-me requests.

  • by BigSlowTarget ( 325940 ) on Monday July 14, 2014 @08:20PM (#47452797) Journal
    He will do great - right up until he is sued into oblivion.
    • He better not have any money in reach of EU courts.

      • by Xest ( 935314 )

        I suspect there's potential he may even be targetable in US courts depending on the search record in question.

        If Google has been asked to remove data that is simply incorrect and defamatory through this process and not just true but out of date, then he'll likely be making himself liable to be sued for libel under existing US libel laws in libel courts.

        If he wants to do this safely he needs to make sure he's not breaking US law, and knowingly posting defamatory information is what he'll be doing unless he's

        • It doesn't appear that the site is making any claims about accuracy or anything, so there's not really a risk of libel The site just links to the stricken results, nothing else.
          • by Xest ( 935314 )

            I don't think that matters, granted it's Wikipedia so may well be wrong, but the Wikipedia article makes it quite clear that if you knowingly without regard for whether something is true or false post it then you are liable to be found guilty of libel.

            Google isn't seeing links removed because of what's behind the links, but because of the cached information it stores against the link - i.e. a snippet of the site. If he's storing and posting that same snippet and that snippet was removed because it was incor

            • Looking at the site itself, it appears to be a term, a link, and a source on the removal. It's incredibly sparse.

              If it's just the link he's providing he'll probably be okay (though has libel even been tested in the face of wilfully linking without regard for the truth? - the piracy argument was lost on this one, but what about libel?), but if he's including the descriptions he's fucked if it goes to court

              Was it actually lost? I'm not aware of anything actually holding up in court. ICE has seized domain n

              • by Xest ( 935314 )

                Yeah I had a look at the site too, it's not really much of anything, and I don't think the first link is even correct (in fact, I don't think the search terms mean much either as it's links that are removed, not search terms). It's not even automated it seems, just a tiny handful of examples. In this case you're probably right, I doubt much could happen to him. I had a view of a site that was automatically harvesting removed links including descriptions which would be infringing but as it stands the site lo

                • I do know that TVshack was legal in the UK, which was why US extradition was sought. I'm not sure exactly under which legal umbrella they put TPB, but it probably boils down to being pressured so much by the BPI that they ignore what the law actually says.
            • Right to be forgotten has nothing to do with libel.

              It's simply people being allowed to demand that information about them be removed. It is usually accurate information.

              In any case EU laws don't apply in the USA.

    • by dissy ( 172727 )

      Sure he may be sued multiple times, but I would assume he is aware of that and has no EU business dealings.
      Being in New Jersey and thus the US, he need only say "There is no law I am in violation of, and the plaintiff has admitted such by quoting nothing but laws from some other country." The case will be instantly thrown out.

      After a few cases of being sued over laws that don't exist, he may even be able to convince a judge that the default ruling should be in his favor instead, and then not even need to a

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 14, 2014 @08:21PM (#47452805)

    The Streisand effect is the phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely, usually facilitated by the Internet.

  • ?

  • by MindPrison ( 864299 ) on Monday July 14, 2014 @08:53PM (#47453051) Journal
    Has it all anyway.
    • by skovnymfe ( 1671822 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @03:07AM (#47454721)
      No they don't. They remove plenty of sites from their archive. It even makes /. headlines occasionally.
      • Mod parent up (Score:5, Insightful)

        by amaurea ( 2900163 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @05:47AM (#47455299) Homepage

        Indeed. WayBackMachine respects robots.txt retroactively, which is insane in my opinion, because it means what WayBackMachine says the web looked like in, say 1999, can change at any moment. For example, if WayBackMachine has 10 years of archived data for a site which then comes under new management that decides it wants to erase that history, they can just put up a robots.txt on the current site, and WayBackMachine will not only stop serving the current version of the site, it will also stop serving all the previous ten years of data. This happened to the original, for example.

  • I feel sorry for those who legitimately should have stories removed. Falsely accused, slandered, etc. Though if the site takes the time to put the truthful rebuttals up front it would mitigate that.
    For those legitimately outed I have no sympathy. With one exception: someone whose criminal record has been expunged. That is a legal proceeding, which carries weight. Of course the site owner opens himself and the site to prosecution for slander. Forget international borders, someone anywhere in the world
    • "With one exception: someone whose criminal record has been expunged."

      What about somebody whose done his time? Not falsely accused; did the crime, and the time. Several years in prison let's say.

      What more does he owe us? I'd kind of like to see him free and clear. But his criminal record is stuck to him... forever I guess. I'm just asking.

      What about the story about a guy that got his criminal record expunged? What about the archived footage from WHAM13 Live or whatever of the cops showing up that day long a

      • Well, you see, the person who has things legally expunged gets the nice piece of paper saying that it was expunged and has some accompanying paperwork saying why and all that. All that actually holds far more weight than stuff on the internet. At least, in my particular area of reality, it does anyway.

      • For the guy that's done time. Most likely he has to admit he has.
        For the average person caught in this, this isn't likely to make a big difference. They can't afford the costs of trying to have their records hidden. And for the most part, no one cares, beyond the obvious.
        This is about RICH, WEALTHY, individuals who have been reasonably damned, and want to hide it.
        Can't sue for slander in the US if it's true.
        The EU seems to have a different opinion of past records.
        Not that it really maters. The EU b
      • by Vapula ( 14703 )

        In Belgium, you have a "certificate of good living and behaving" (approximate translation) that can be requested when you want to get a job.

        Teachers (and other people who have to work with children) have to give a special version of that document. At first, it included some (very) invasive background checks (in the neighbourhood for example), now, it has been trimmed down... But if you've been a sex offender (or some other severe criminal records) in the past, you won't get it, even if you've had your rec

    • The site owner should be responsible, not the search engines who don't host the content.
      • by Xest ( 935314 )

        The site owner is responsible, but some sites have exemptions for processing data - i.e. we don't want newspapers scrubbed clean to change history. In this case newspapers have defence as being guardians of public record. Google does not have that exemption.

        Should it have that exemption? Maybe. Maybe that'll come about in the 2012 European Data Protection Directive refresh that is still being worked on, but Google needs to argue it's case there, not just flout the law as it stands.

        Fundamentally the problem

        • So people have a "right to be forgotten" except by people actually publishing information about them. If the public record is important enough to preserve in violation of this "right" then telling people how to access the public record is surely an important duty.
  • by tomhath ( 637240 ) on Monday July 14, 2014 @09:44PM (#47453319)
    What happens when Google visits his site? Is that another take down request? I see the possibility of infinite recursion here.
    • That's Google's problem. If they didn't want to deal with the social issues of becoming the internet's de facto official directory, they shouldn't have made themselves the internet's de facto official directory.

  • Change your name into John Smith.

    Alternative solution: use your own name in so many different and unrelated places on the internet, that people must believe there is at least 2 or more of you with the same name.

  • The page has 15 examples from a current estimate of 70,000 take down requests.

  • Don't these bureaucratic fools realize that they are not able to control the internet, and that the relative lack of bureaucrats is what makes the internet strong? Yes they can control a company like Google through threats but the moment they create a distortion in the market by pushing the internet one way, there will be an opposite and equal reaction in the exact opposite way.

    So the NSA pushes things like NIST one way and the result is that the hard core crypto world will now move away from NIST. If you

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