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Pedophile Asks To Be Deleted From Google Search After European Court Ruling

samzenpus posted about 8 months ago | from the record-not-found dept.

Privacy 370

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Jane Wakefield reports at BBC that a man convicted of possessing child abuse images is among the first to request Google remove links links to pages about his conviction after a European court ruled that an individual could force it to remove 'irrelevant and outdated' search results. Other takedown requests since the ruling include an ex-politician seeking re-election who has asked to have links to an article about his behaviour in office removed and a doctor who wants negative reviews from patients removed from google search results. Google itself has not commented on the so-called right-to-be-forgotten ruling since it described the European Court of Justice judgement as being 'disappointing'. Marc Dautlich, a lawyer at Pinsent Masons, says that search engines might find the new rules hard to implement. 'If they get an appreciable volume of requests what are they going to do? Set up an entire industry sifting through the paperwork?' says Dautlich. 'I can't say what they will do but if I was them I would say no and tell the individual to contact the Information Commissioner's Office.' The court said in its ruling that people could request the removal of data related to them that seem to be 'inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive in relation to the purposes for which they were processed.'"

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I beg to differ. (5, Insightful)

gijoel (628142) | about 8 months ago | (#47016337)

I don't see how a conviction for possessing child porn is irrelevant or outdated. So I don't like his chances.

Re:I beg to differ. (5, Informative)

bradley13 (1118935) | about 8 months ago | (#47016407)

The problem is: Google has to review it. The court provided no guidelines other than the specific case they based the decision on.

And have you read that? It was a businessman who didn't like Google linking to articles about his previous bankruptcy. Now, I would think the bankruptcy of a business type might just be relevant to my decision whether or not to contract with him. Apparently many of his potential customers thought the same way. But the court disagreed, and used this case as justification for the general decision.

If Google refuses, you can cite this decision and take them to court. Now, one guy is no problem - but we are already seeing the beginning of the flood. When it becomes thousands, then millions of cases - just how are they supposed to deal with this?

Re: I beg to differ. (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47016457)

Thats their own problem. If they want to do business in europe, they have to respect european laws. They are free to close services there.

You are missing the point (4, Informative)

bradley13 (1118935) | about 8 months ago | (#47016587)

It's not about Google - they just happen to be named in this case. This is a decision that will affect any search engine, any index, anyone who offers links to publicly available material or provides any sort of aggregation service.

Those people who say "just direct them to the courts" are being shortsighted. A court case requires two sides. If Google (or whoever) tells someone "go to court", they will do so: by filing a lawsuit against Google (or whoever). The last thing any company needs is having to show up to millions of trivial little court cases.

Re:You are missing the point (4, Insightful)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 8 months ago | (#47016709)

I wonder if this could also affect any site with an internal search engine. Suppose you grab WordPress and throw up a quick blog. You're posting away and wind up posting a negative piece about a politician who got in some sort of scandal. (We'll assume that you stick to proven facts and stay clear of any unproven allegations.) That post goes viral and tons of people link to it. Could the politician order your to remove the article from your site's Wordpress-powered search? Since that would be impossible for a normal user (for the sake of argument, assume you aren't very technically inclined in this manner), wouldn't complying with that essentially be taking the post down? And if you refused, would you, an average user, be able to afford going to court to defend your right to post the truth?

This is going to wind up chilling speech with people taking down truthful articles that people who have committed crimes find "embarrassing" or "uncomfortable."

Re:You are missing the point (5, Interesting)

just_a_monkey (1004343) | about 8 months ago | (#47016741)

This is a decision that will affect any search engine, any index, anyone who offers links to publicly available material or provides any sort of aggregation service.

So Google should really be happy about this. They have the resources to handle these removals, but any startup (that isn't backed by a Microsoft-size company, or a government) in the search engine or aggregation business won't. So this ensures that there will be no further competition for them, ever.

Re:I beg to differ. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47016495)

Get out of the search industry and focus on ads

Re:I beg to differ. (4, Interesting)

plover (150551) | about 8 months ago | (#47016501)

I think Google can't deal with this, nor should they. When Mr. Childpr0n requests removal, Google should provide a helpful link to the EU's Supreme court, and say "we don't make these decisions, they come from your courts, who have accepted responsibility for deciding. Please file a lawsuit with them, and come back when you have a judgement in your favor."

You may have a "right" to be forgotten under certain circumstances, but it shouldn't be up to Google to interpret those circumstances.

Re:I beg to differ. (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about 8 months ago | (#47016607)

This guy should simply trademark his name, then sue everybody using it in the wrong way/wrong places.

Re:I beg to differ. (3, Insightful)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 8 months ago | (#47016735)

There problem then becomes the flood of lawsuits. Google can handle one lawsuit, no problem. Two or three? Sure. But what happens when a thousand people are suing them over a thousand different links appears throughout their search results? Can they defend against a thousand cases at once? What about ten thousand? A hundred thousand? Can the courts handle this flood as well? Google will either have to wind up settling each case, caving in to each request, or fighting a war on a thousand fronts. And if they do the first two then people will learn that they can file a lawsuit and get what they want from Google. This will open the floodgates even more.

Why Google? (5, Insightful)

DrYak (748999) | about 8 months ago | (#47016505)

I still fail to follow the court's logic.

Google isn't *publishing* information, it's just indexing information (web page) already available elsewhere (on 3rd-party webservers).

If the businessman doesn't like being associated with his previous bankruptcy, he should ask the *website of the newspaper* to remove the article about the bankruptcy. Not ask google to stop indexing it.

- If he stops Google. Bing and any other search engine would still be indexing it. And the original article is still outthere. It's a completely ineffective measure.
- If he stops the newspaper, the information will indeed be definitely disappearing. On the next crawl, Google's, Bing's and anyone else's spider will notice the page doesn't exist anymore and will stop displaying it in search result. The article would only be accessible in things like archive.org

It seems like the judge in that case don't understand that much the functioning of search engines and the implication of the ruling.

On the other hand, I understand why the businessman went after google:
- trying to remove an article basically amounts to censorship. That's a big taboo (not as much here in EU as in US, but still the case as there are no hate-speech in this suit) and the businessman was probably going to lose
- trying to attack google, looks like going after the big giant with pervasive snooping and privacy-problems. Much likely to win.

Re:Why Google? (2)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about 8 months ago | (#47016557)

Google isn't *publishing* information, it's just indexing information (web page) already available elsewhere (on 3rd-party web servers).

Google "publishes" an index for information available elsewhere on the web.

Re:Why Google? (3, Insightful)

Vapula (14703) | about 8 months ago | (#47016603)

As long as the page still exists, the index points to relevant information : a web page with the given keywords.
IMHO, the most important problem is about the "view page in cache" function which could show the information even after the web page has been removed.

Re:Why Google? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 8 months ago | (#47016619)

Exactly. but like your parent poster said, if the information is no longer available elsewhere on the internet, then it will cease to be published in the search results (though they probably maintain a copy for some time). Going after Google only stops one way of getting at the information. It will be somewhat effective, because Google is such a popular search engine, but in the end, you'll be able to find the information on other search engines.

Re:Why Google? (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 8 months ago | (#47016599)

Google isn't *publishing* information, it's just indexing information (web page) already available elsewhere (on 3rd-party webservers).

From a legal perspecitve, the difference is largely irrelevant. And in answer to most tortured analogies in reponse; yes - potentially; it depends on knowledge and intent.

Re:I beg to differ. (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47016437)

I don't see how a conviction for possessing cocaine is irrelevant or outdated. So I don't like his chances.

Child pornography is so controversial that talking about it in any way that is not clearly and violently negative is met with vicious personal attacks. Nonetheless, these are ad hominem and therefore illogical. The above sentence illustrates how child porn and drugs are no different for the purposes of evaluating possession. An argument could even be made that possession of child pornography is less harmful than possession of drugs; not only does child porn not harm the person's body as drugs can, but if a pedophile is fapping to kiddie porn, they're a lot less likely to go rape a child.

Notably, Japan does not criminalize possession of child pornography, but does criminalize the abuse of children and creation/distribution of said pornography. [wikipedia.org]

Posting as AC to avoid potential of said ad hominem. (That alone is a sad statement about how shitty people are when this subject comes up. I shouldn't have to "protect myself" for being logical and level-headed.)

Re:I beg to differ. (2)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 8 months ago | (#47016649)

...but if a pedophile is fapping to kiddie porn, they're a lot less likely to go rape a child.

Even if I stipulate that your premise is correct and a citation to support your claim exists, there is the argument that allowing kiddie porn to be viewed makes it lucrative... so it continues to get made.

Encouraging the exploitation of more children.

Re:I beg to differ. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47016697)

The vast majority of kiddie porn is swapped freely among people on P2P networks/darknets. The people who would exploit children will do it anyway. Tell me again how it is that this encourages "more" exploitation of children? You clearly don't know what you are talking about.

Re:I beg to differ. (1)

BilI_the_Engineer (3618871) | about 8 months ago | (#47016751)

The ones at fault here are the ones making it. If someone makes more, then it's their problem. If we don't like kids being raped, then go after the ones making it to begin with, and stop wasting resources going after people who possess images.

Also, I would say "Not all child porn costs money.", but the 'for the children' crowd is so irrational that they'd probably say even someone looking at child porn encourages them to make more, as if that's a valid reason to forbid images.

Re:I beg to differ. (1)

beh (4759) | about 8 months ago | (#47016465)

I don't think they have much of a chance - a politician can't argue that his former record is irrelevant to his current re-election campaign -- similarly a doctor asking for bad reviews to be removed; unless maybe they are very old bad reviews and new reviews are better.

I would think these cases are on par with some stupid court cases, we've seen elsewhere - like McDonalds being forced to not make their coffee quite as hot as it used to, because someone might scald themselves. There are always people that will try and immediately get an advantage out of a situation. Whether they'll get through with it is a wholly different matter - but I think just from the headlines, that these people will have a tough time arguing that this is a "irrelevant" old news.

Re:I beg to differ. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47016559)

Politicians are public figures by choice. "Normal people" are not public figures. Also, the hot coffee case had a lot of merit; I'd recommend you read up on it, because I heard it ridiculed constantly while I was in school and was surprised when I learned the facts of the case and how INSANE the coffee temperature really was. As for "people will try to get an advantage out of a situation," in this instance it is someone exercising a legal remedy granted to them by law, so that characterization might be misleading.

Re:I beg to differ. (0)

jabuzz (182671) | about 8 months ago | (#47016781)

I drink tea *EVERY* single day of my life that is hotter than that coffee was served. If you gave me a cup of tea at the temperature the coffee was served I would return it as not hot enough. Clearly the coffee was not served at an insane temperature.

Re:I beg to differ. (2)

Jody Bruchon (3404363) | about 8 months ago | (#47016823)

Re:I beg to differ. (1)

Megol (3135005) | about 8 months ago | (#47016837)

You must be a superhuman then as normal people would get severe burns if trying to drink something like that.

Or a liar.

What's most likely?

Re:I beg to differ. (2)

c (8461) | about 8 months ago | (#47016485)

I don't see how a conviction for possessing child porn is irrelevant or outdated.

Well, if he was a minor with pictures of his girlfriend, it's technically child porn, but somewhat excusable. If he'd received a pardon for the crime (dunno if that's available in his jurisdiction) there might be a case.

The problem, fundamentally, isn't the crime that he's trying to have erased, but that the standard of "irrelevant or outdated" is so subjective; it's insane to suggest that Google just take the word of some random person, and it's insane to actually make Google try to evaluate the merit of each claim.

The Spanish case that generated the ruling is a particularly good example. If the information was irrelevant or outdated, then why was is still on the net? If it was an individual trash talking someone, that's one thing (and maybe better actioned under a libel or harassment claim), but if it's a news archive or public documents like auction records then *someone* obviously thinks it's still relevant enough to continue publishing.

Simply put, Google's in the business of indexing stuff that *other* people consider relevant or important enough to publish on the Internet. It's a low bar, admittedly, but asking Google (or Bing, or any other third party) to evaluate the motivations of publishers isn't fair or particularly viable.

Re:I beg to differ. (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 8 months ago | (#47016537)

If he'd received a pardon for the crime (dunno if that's available in his jurisdiction) there might be a case.

Isn't the general principle that once you've done the time, you've paid for your crime?
Why would a pardon be any more relevant of a criteria than the successful completion of a prison sentence?

Maybe search engines should consider a response similar to google's chillingeffects.org DMCA posts.

Re:I beg to differ. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47016575)

Sucker! This is just one of many cases, but you've fallen for the Google defense side because the first card they used was "children". The fact it's pure click bait too makes you a double sucker.

Re:I beg to differ. (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 8 months ago | (#47016601)

Convicted, imprisoned, released, and now a free man (still on List 99, most likely, so can never work with children or vulnerable adults). Or do you think that a person should continue to pay for past transgressions indefinitely? If so, I hope you're nowhere near the law making institutions of the UK.

You know nothing of the situation; Maybe he created images, maybe he just posessed images, maybe they were thumbnails in his webcache from visiting 4chan on a bad day, maybe he was sent them anonymously in an email and reported them to the police who then said "Posession, in fact just viewing, these images is a crime. You're nicked mate."

Oh, you say that things are almost never black and white? Say it ain't so, gov!

Re:I beg to differ. (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 8 months ago | (#47016683)

Convicted, imprisoned, released, and now a free man (still on List 99, most likely, so can never work with children or vulnerable adults). Or do you think that a person should continue to pay for past transgressions indefinitely?

I would say being on a list limiting where you can work/live/visit/etc for the rest of your life pretty much is indefinitely paying for past transgressions. And if he is on such a list, then I would say news articles relating to why he is on that list are still relevant. If he is ever removed from the list, then I think he can argue that the information is irrelevant and outdated.

Re:I beg to differ. (1)

BilI_the_Engineer (3618871) | about 8 months ago | (#47016657)

The "for the children" crowd is made up of irrational losers.

Oh, no. He had images. Let's waste resources convicting people who possess certain kinds of images, rather than going after the actual rapists. In this case, you shouldn't focus on both at once, because possession of images shouldn't be a crime to begin with.

Re:I beg to differ. (2)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 8 months ago | (#47016827)

I don't see how a conviction for possessing child porn is irrelevant or outdated. So I don't like his chances.

If the sentence has been served then is it really in anyone's interest to keep persecuting someone for an crime that they once committed?

If someone is still a danger to the public, they shouldn't be allowed out in public unsupervised. If they aren't a danger to the public then the public doesn't need to know.

Hornet nest (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47016353)

1st post

Insanity (3, Interesting)

everett1911 (2663165) | about 8 months ago | (#47016357)

What if google just pulls out of the EU completely? Force EU citizens to use either the US or another country's international version of google? Would they still need to apply to those crackpot rules?

Re:Insanity (1)

beh (4759) | about 8 months ago | (#47016393)

I think you can answer that question yourself:

What if mychildp*rn.com moved from the US to a country where child-p*rn wouldn't be illegal. Do you think the US would accept that site still serving "the US market"?

Obivously, this example is weaker, but I think without a presence in Europe, it would be (more) difficult to do business there - potentially giving rise to any competitor who WOULD be willing to go through with this and would therefore be in a better position to serve the markets here (don't think about the search itself, think about the advertising that makes their income!).

Re:Insanity (2)

Vermonter (2683811) | about 8 months ago | (#47016415)

It would certainly still be serving the US market, but the site would no longer be under US jurisdiction, and getting the site taken down would then become a much more involved task.

Insanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47016405)

If they want servers there, yes.

Re:Insanity (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 8 months ago | (#47016425)

It would cause a lot of problems in doing business with EU companies, many of whom would wish to purchase advertising services.

Re:Insanity (5, Funny)

just_another_sean (919159) | about 8 months ago | (#47016727)

Won't someone PLEASE think of the advertisers!

Re:Insanity (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47016447)

What if google just pulls out of the EU completely?

..and risk losing the tax benefits and advertising revenue? Not likely.
As the rules would apply to all business operating in the EU the playing field is exactly the same.
I dont see them stepping away from the EU. Too much to lose.

Re:Insanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47016451)

Leaving aside different cultural views on privacy, I can't imagine what benefit would Google gain by a pull-out.

They'd lose their brand recognition and other alternatives could spring up.

Google's aware of the laws of the countries where it operates and it should be in their interest to abide by them [precedent - Google in China].

A pull ourt wouldn't hurt the EU anywhere nears as much as it would affect Google (they dodge paying taxes - so little loss there, an opening up of competition from other players - so benefits to EU there, tarnished reputation as wanton lawbreakers ...).

A right to be forgotten (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47016365)

We do have a right to be forgotten online, imho. We do NOT have a right to have specific things we don't want other people to know about us "forgotten" while the things we agree with remains. Seems to me, all of these examples are people who want certain specific negative things removed instead of wanting all online records of their existence completely obliterated.

Re:A right to be forgotten (1)

B33rNinj4 (666756) | about 8 months ago | (#47016409)

You're never truly forgotten though. There will always be a paper trail out there. In regards to the ruling from the original lawsuit, I'm sure it was embarrassing for the man's repossession to continually show up in a search. However, if he was looking for some type of loan, it would have popped up anyway. As a society, we're going to have to come to terms with the fact that privacy, and in many cases anonymity, are disappearing.

Re:A right to be forgotten (3, Interesting)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 8 months ago | (#47016539)

Politicians will be among the first to leverage this law. How convenient that selected statements were to just...disappear....from the Internet. More so prior to an election season.

History?? Fuck that. Revisionism is in vogue now.

Re:A right to be forgotten (0)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 8 months ago | (#47016773)

Exactly. All this isn't "being forgotten", it is historical revision. In my past, I was a perfect saint. Don't believe me? Google me and you won't find one single transgression. I made sure of that. We've also always been at war with Eastasia.

Re:A right to be forgotten (1)

Daemonik (171801) | about 8 months ago | (#47016631)

All I can say is thank < insert deity of preference here > that Aristotle, Caesar, Gengis Khan and all the other people throughout history never had a "right to be forgotten" or we'd know absolutely nothing about our past. Who's to say what a future historian may or may not find useful, and who are we to rob our descendants of the legacy of our lives? There are historians and archaeologists who'd kill for any kind of day to day minutia of just daily life in various ancient civilizations.

Re:A right to be forgotten (4, Insightful)

organgtool (966989) | about 8 months ago | (#47016647)

We do have a right to be forgotten online, imho.

I consider myself to value privacy quite a bit but I really don't understand where this line of thinking comes from. Do you believe you have a right to be forgotten in real life? If so, how would you enforce it? If not, then why do you believe the online world should behave differently from the real world?

Re:A right to be forgotten (2)

Jody Bruchon (3404363) | about 8 months ago | (#47016749)

It used to be that you could be forgotten by moving somewhere else and starting a new life there. That is not generally possible now, thanks to the Internet and no limitations on access to public records. There is a huge difference between having to go to the local courthouse of a place to see what someone has been convicted of and being able to find the same information by banging it out on Google in your bedroom in 30 seconds.

Re:A right to be forgotten (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 8 months ago | (#47016717)

We do have a right to be forgotten online, imho.

You didn't give a principled reason or argument as to why being forgotten online is a right. Maybe you mean that, in your humble opinion, it should be a right?

I think the "is" vs. "should" distinction is very important in this case, because it affects whether or not the courts are obligated to rule a certain way.

Re:A right to be forgotten (0)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 8 months ago | (#47016733)

I hope Google keeps all of it available outside Europe so people can just go there to get it anyway.

Your right to be forgotten does not exceed my right to remember you and blab about you. This isn't about inaccurate data.

Disaster! (3, Insightful)

bradley13 (1118935) | about 8 months ago | (#47016375)

This court decision has opened the floodgates. The ramifications threaten the entire, open Internet. Search machines can be prohibited from linking to publicly available material, and be taken to court for doing so. From there, it is a very small step to prohibiting anyone from linking to publicly available material that someone, somewhere finds distasteful or undesirable.

The court has demonstrated incredible ignorance. This decision is a disaster.

Re:Disaster! (1)

Threni (635302) | about 8 months ago | (#47016423)

Calm down. It's no different to YouTube anti piracy policies. The solution will likely be similar.

Re:Disaster! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47016427)

This is not about finding something distasteful or undesireable. This is strictly limited to private information that is made public against the will of the person it concerns (which in the EU is automatically the owner of such data).
It's basically a DMCA for people instead of just corporations.

Not quite (5, Insightful)

bradley13 (1118935) | about 8 months ago | (#47016551)

Not quite true. The case that generated this decision concerned factual newspaper articles. The guy went bankrupt, his house was auctioned off, the local newspapers reported on this.

  • The newspaper is not required to delete the articles. They are simple, factual reporting, and are allowed to remain.
  • The court decided that Google is not allowed to link to these articles, because the affected person wants these facts to be unfindable.

So: it is not private information at all. It is precisely public, factual information about an individual, that that individual finds distasteful.

Re:Not quite (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 8 months ago | (#47016789)

The newspaper is not required to delete the articles.

But how long until someone sues the newspaper for the article still coming up in their search engine? Will the courts order the newspaper's search engine to remove the article? And, if the newspaper's web staff can't make search exemptions for dozens of articles (as other requests come in), will this just result in those articles being pulled offline?

Re:Not quite (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 8 months ago | (#47016829)

On one hand, I can see how it would be nice for things to disappear off the map after a while. On the other hand, I don't think laws like this would be applied in a fair way. Seems like they ruled in this guy's favour because he was a politician. Would they have ruled the same way if it was some poor guy with no connections? Also, on the third hand (yeah, the third one, I typed it), I think that anybody who thinks they can make something disappear by making Google and other search engines not index it is in for a bad time. The Streisand effect makes it quite likely that the information will go viral. Everybody interested in the matter will be sharing the article on Facebook and other social networks. You can bet his opponents will link to the article on their web sites. If the paper is particularly against him for some reason, they could give people the rights to copy the article, and repost it on their own web sites. Google would be required not to index the original article, but what about other articles on other websites that looked the same? What if only a small portion of the text was the same?

Re:Disaster! (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 8 months ago | (#47016737)

If a past conviction or legal ruling is available as a matter of public record at a courthouse or in a newspaper, I don't see how it becomes "private" just because Google provides a link to said newspaper / courthouse document.

From what I know of the European court's decision, it really seems to me like they didn't think this one through.

Already happening in the UK (1)

davecb (6526) | about 8 months ago | (#47016523)

It's already having an effect: in the UK their privacy commission just got credit reporting company misbehavior dumped back on their plate: turns out they're the legal equivalent of search engines. Now add any other "information intermediary" like Lexis Nexis, which publishes law reports...

Foot gun! (2)

jbeaupre (752124) | about 8 months ago | (#47016383)

Those people can be rejected by pointing out the links are now newsworthy and relevant because they were the first to request take-downs.

I'm no lawyer (1)

njbair (781810) | about 8 months ago | (#47016385)

It seems to me that the real precedent will be set by Google in how they handle this. Just say no and send them on, as the lawyer suggested. If you've got negative info appearing on Google, are you going to risk further attention through a court case? No way. You'll drop it or, oh, I don't know, maybe go after the website who posted it?

Re:I'm no lawyer (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 8 months ago | (#47016753)

That might be a workable solution, until courts start awarding damages.

right to be forgotten (1)

countach (534280) | about 8 months ago | (#47016391)

Assuming there is such a right when the data is "'inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive", who exactly gets to decide? If you've got to fight it out through 3 courts to get a final ruling on whether a particular situation conforms to these tests, then its not particularly practical for most people to take advantage of it.

Re:right to be forgotten (1)

boristdog (133725) | about 8 months ago | (#47016653)

I'm thinking there will eventually be a "statute of limitations" for data. Anything more than X years old can be requested for removal.

Re:right to be forgotten (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 8 months ago | (#47016819)

However, on the flip side, if thousands upon thousands of people start suing Google to "be forgotten" (but only in those instances that they don't like... keep the good ones), can Google defend against all of those cases? Would they be forced by the sheer number to settle? Would this, in turn, lead to more lawsuits as people look for their easy settlement? I can imagine a subset of the legal profession cropping up with commercials along the "hurt at work? call us" line. "Got something embarrassing listed about you on Google? Is a search engine showing the world something you'd rather they didn't see? Do past indiscretions keep coming back to haunt you? Then call 555-SUE-GOOG! We'll sue those nasty search engines and make sure that your Internet history is nothing but sunshine and roses. [cue catchy jungle]"

Right to be selectively remembered, rather (3, Interesting)

Jesrad (716567) | about 8 months ago | (#47016413)

It's fine by me if someone wants every mention of him/herself removed from a search engine. I have an issue with selectively removing just the choice stuff which they object to, though.

So this politician wants some details of his professional conduct unreported in a Google search ? Welcome to internet-non-existence. Your reelection-platform website, twitter campaign account and commentary blog get tossed along into a black hole.

And in any case, someone who really wants the information will find it eventually.

Re:Right to be selectively remembered, rather (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 8 months ago | (#47016555)

Is there anything stopping Google from doing this?

Or for Google to selectively unlink other content it may now deem unfairly biassed due to forced removal of a counterview? Unlink not just the bad press about his past but all about his past? Re-election? What re-election? He's never been elected, so how can he be re-elected? Why elect him at all if he has zero political experience?

Re:Right to be selectively remembered, rather (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 8 months ago | (#47016799)

It's fine by me if someone wants every mention of him/herself removed from a search engine.

I'm not sure that's practically feasible. What about persons who have a commonly used name? If Google strived to avoid showing results with the person in question, they'd either (a) have an insane amount of human-executed research to do for every query, or (b) omit every result with that name even if it referred to someone else.

To make it worse, suppose a newspaper ran a story on "Fred, who lives at the north end of 23'd Street in Duluth" (a contrived example). Is Google supposed to know whether or not that's the Fred they're supposed to omit? Or even worse, suppose Fred lived with his Father and son, all at the same address at the same time, and all named (for example) Fred Smith. How's Google supposed to sort out who's who?

Google should up the ante (2)

schwit1 (797399) | about 8 months ago | (#47016417)

They should create a web site of removal requests with people's pictures and the links to the stuff they want removed. Put a link to it on every Google home page and login page.

Streisand them.

Re:Google should up the ante (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 8 months ago | (#47016617)

I almost modded you down, but realised I just disagree with your opinion.

What do you think your suggestion would achieve? What point are you trying to make?

in other news (1)

superwiz (655733) | about 8 months ago | (#47016431)

I, as a man, demand the right to have a baby. You already have a right to be forgotten. There is no obligation for you to be remembered. That is what gives you a right to be forgotten. Any right, by definition, comes with a counterparty's responsibility to respect the right. The fact that everyone has something they wish everyone would forget doesn't mean they have a right to demand that everyone forget it. It means that we have to come to grips with the fact that people are fallible and have faults. It doesn't mean that we to have embrace the faults. But our reduced ability to forget does put a higher pressure on society to learn when and how to forgive.. Judging people is a mandatory requirement of being reasonable. Without discerning judgement there is no intelligence. And I, for one, don't want to go down the path of embracing stupidity.

70 year Bilderberg project almost complete (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47016433)

talk about spiritdead perversion? "So seventy years since the Arnhem slaughter and sixty years since the first Bilderberg conference, the EEC has become the EU. NATO's new feudal oligarchy of Western banksters and multinationals own and control all the big political parties as well as almost everything that moves both sides of the Atlantic.

Some saw it coming: former SS general Paul Hausser, who became chief of HIAG, the German SS veterans group after the war, claimed that "the foreign units of the SS were really the precursors of the NATO army." Others detailed the Nazis' transformation from military to financial empire including former CBS News correspondent Paul Manning in his 1981 book 'Martin Bormann Nazi in Exile'.

Bilderberg’s latest wheeze is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). This treaty makes voting pointless by letting multinationals sue governments and will leave only the thinnest veneer of democracy for the mainstream media to chew on both in Europe and America. The ‘nation states’ will become mere prefectures and the European Commission will be the unelected government of the United States of Europe.

As ordinary people across Europe and America cry out for decent basic standards such as fresh water, food, shelter, healthcare, heating and full employment, the mainstream media barely hear them because this is not the Bilderberg way. Instead, these pinstriped fascists bury us in debt, steal our leisure time, erode quality time with children, friends and family, and then blame us for demanding a fair share of the rewards of human progress."

Slashdot only allows anonymous users to post 1 times per day (less, depending on if it's you again).

The right to be forgotten means what? (5, Insightful)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 8 months ago | (#47016439)

If we're talking about clearing someone's meta data from the system that might be reasonable. But taking down articles people have written about you or blog posts... no. You don't have a right to silence other people.

That would be the 21st century version of a book burning.

Re:The right to be forgotten means what? (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 8 months ago | (#47016513)

They're asking google to remove links to the content, but the content itself is not removed.
Is google result data meta data?

Re:The right to be forgotten means what? (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 8 months ago | (#47016597)

So if I didn't burn the books... I just deleted them from the card catalog that would be okay?

Re:The right to be forgotten means what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47016803)

Yes... as long as they are still in the library. We're just not telling you what book, what rack and what shelf...

Re:The right to be forgotten means what? (1)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 8 months ago | (#47016763)

Given the size of the internet that's effectively the same thing.

Re:The right to be forgotten means what? (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 8 months ago | (#47016785)

I'd agree... that's my point.

This is a bad law. If europe wants its own version of the internet where they practice broad censorship that is fine. But compliance with the law should be that the offending content is blocked from european users not that it is deleted generally.

choose the edge cases. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47016453)

Oh, what a surprise! the media is using the extreme cases of paedophiles and errant politicians to justify the storing of information about others, ignoring the other few billion people who have have not lost any right to privacy.

What an idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47016469)

Something something Streisand effect something

Ross Anderson (3, Interesting)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about 8 months ago | (#47016471)

Ross Anderson posted an interesting thought about this decision and credit agencies [lightbluetouchpaper.org] :

The European Court of Justice decision in the Google case will have implications way beyond search engines. Regular readers of this blog will recall stories of banks hounding innocent people for money following payment disputes, and a favourite trick is to blacklist people with credit reference agencies, even while disputes are still in progress (or even after the bank has actually lost a court case). In the past, the Information Commissioner refused to do anything about this abuse, claiming that it’s the bank which is the data controller, not the credit agency. The court now confirms that this view was quite wrong. I have therefore written to the Information Commissioner inviting him to acknowledge this and to withdraw the guidance issued to the credit reference agencies by his predecessor. I wonder what other information intermediaries will now have to revise their business models?

Re:Ross Anderson ++ (1)

davecb (6526) | about 8 months ago | (#47016581)

For one, legal publishers.

Lexis Nexis and Westlaw are massive special-purpose search engines dealing in exactly this kind of data: court reports. Lexis Nexis is also well-known as a newspaper/magazine search engine.

Imagine a lawyer in the UK trying to refer to a classic interpretation and discovering the case was no longer reported, as from the point of view of one of the participants, it was "no longer relevant".

In non-EU countries, it if was a case about a minor, the page would have the names removed. Similarly, if a participant had received a pardon, they could apply to the court to remove their name from the published report. The original report would be available, of course, to lawyers willing to agree to confidentiality controls.

Comply with the law (2)

Seeteufel (1736784) | about 8 months ago | (#47016475)

'If they get an appreciable volume of requests what are they going to do? Set up an entire industry sifting through the paperwork?' says Dautlich. 'I can't say what they will do but if I was them I would say no and tell the individual to contact the Information Commissioner's Office.'

Comply with the request. As simple as that. The same as happens when you get a court injuction. You comply. If companies bully public institutions by forwarding requests to regulators they would get a hard response. And right so. You just don't play games. In fact Google would have to deal with exactly the same rules that apply to everyone who offers web services in Europe, except that they were hiding away saying "We are not really a European company, we just have European subsidiaries, sell advertisement space, target EU consumers and lobby European policy makers"

Re:Comply with the law (2)

Shados (741919) | about 8 months ago | (#47016535)

It does have ramifications though.

if I don't like a news article on a specific news website, can I just post a comment under the news article, then request my right to be forgotten to get that link taken down?

Get over it already. (1)

thesandtiger (819476) | about 8 months ago | (#47016487)

The genie is out of the bottle - nothing we do that lands online will ever be forgotten or able to be forgotten unless something apocalyptic happens.

Google can wipe out the links to this guy, but then a thousand news stories about how stupid this law is that use this guy's case as an example will have to go, too, and stories related to the implementation, and so on and so on and so on.

People need to get used to the fact that nothing we do will be forgotten, that we no longer have privacy, and that the best we can hope for (in a manner of speaking) is maybe anonymity, albeit in the form of "no one cares enough about you to bother looking you up."

Having an always available, never forgetting memory has changed the rules and people need to catch up.

Once people catch up, the dumb embarrassing shit that people have online will begin to pale in importance. EVERYONE's embarrassing shit will be online and people will get the fuck over it. The stuff that people won't get over is probably the stuff that's most essential to share.

all or nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47016493)

this of course has to be done case by case but i would find it good if its a all or nothing scenario in case of businesses or politicians.

having certain bad info removed to get back into a office is a bad thing lets take the case of the politician that wants it if he wants to be forgotten then all info should be removed about him no web presence at all on line just a giant wanted to be forgotten sign.

a business would not burn itself like that and the voting population will quickly realize that the politician has something to hide therefore he is not trustworthy

and dont forget its just google so in case of that pedo somebody quickly make sexoffendersearch.com

Reporting bias (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47016531)

Of course this is the way it will be reported - the most sensational cases cherry-picked. You won't hear anything about the requests that actually have to do with protecting the privacy of ordinary people rather than serving the interests of criminals and scoundrels.

Re:Reporting bias (1)

Jody Bruchon (3404363) | about 8 months ago | (#47016677)

That's how the media exerts control over people. People think what they hear about on the news is all there is to it, but the reality is that something is only newsworthy if it is an unusual or exceptional enough incident that it merits such special attention. The other side of this coin is that anything that is exceptional enough to be newsworthy is uncommon enough that people need not worry about it in their daily lives.

'irrelevant and outdated' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47016547)

If that is the actual wording of the law. Maybe it is outdated but I'd say it's hardly irrelevant.

Thank God for Europe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47016563)

When I was young, the politicians of a number of the more impoverished states would utter thanks that Mississippi existed. It's many deficiencies, particularly dreadful schools, kept their state from being at the bottom of many lists.
I feel much the same about today's Europe. When I grow discouraged at the follies of our politicians, our legislators, and our judges, my mind shifts to across the water and I'm thankful that Europe exists. We're not stuck with the world's greatest fools--at least not yet.
What did this European court think would be the result of this dictate? Did it think that someone who're rescued a child from drowning would be eager to remove all news stories about that? Did it think that honest, successful politicians would want all mention of that stripped out of Google. Of course this ruling would be grasped at by crooks, scoundrels, perverts and assorted misfits.
No, what's happened is predictable on the level of dog bites man. It's the court that's the idiot in this story.

Re:Thank God for Europe (1)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 8 months ago | (#47016779)

Tough talk coming from the country that invented spray-on cheese, "think of the children", and super-sizing.

So how does this work, exactly? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 8 months ago | (#47016589)

Whether or not I happen to agree with the idea (and I don't really feel like getting bogged down in that argument) I'm extremely puzzled by one aspect of this 'right to be forgotten' concept:

If some piece of information is almost entirely held(at least for public purposes, the court probably isn't worried about the guy's neighbors' memory of the incident) by a single entity then the notion of compelling that entity to purge the data after some period of time is perfectly cogent. Just generic data-retention policy stuff.

However, especially outside of their own services, much of what Google 'knows' is just stuff it scraped from the web and put together in a useful way. Once Google scrapes something, and munches it down into their special-sauce search format, they do 'remember' it, in a sense; but they aren't the main remembering party, just a convenient avenue to that party. If a court orders them to purge a piece of such information, does that also mean that they aren't allowed to 're-learn' it when they next scrape the archives of a newspaper that covered the story, or a trial's documentation on PACER, or anything of that nature? Do they have to remember who they've forgotten, to ensure that they never learn about them again?

I can understand the motivation behind these 'right to be forgotten' measures, but they seem to miss an important point: not only do individual organizations have disturbingly long and comprehensive memories, there tend to be clusters of aggregators who get paid to make obscure data easier to find (same thing with the data brokers who send intern-peons to grovel through whatever physical records local law allows you to access by going to the dusty ass-end of the county court records division between the hours of 2 and 4:30 on Wednesdays, which nobody cared about until they suddenly became available easily and in bulk). Hell, any decent library (at least university style, probably not the local public kiddie branch) probably has archives of multiple newspapers, on nigh-unkillable microfilm, dating back to approximately their origin as newspapers.

What they really seem to want; but not have any cogent way of asking for, is not a right to be forgotten (if you noted that 'to do that, we'd basically have to redact every past printed publication, exactly like 1984', they'd protest that that isn't what they had in mind); but a right to not be aggregated and easily discoverable. That's a much more reasonable request in some ways (to demand that history be altered for your betterment is colossal arrogance; to ask that the top hit for your name not be the stupid and dramatic thing you did at age 17 30 years ago is something that used to be taken for granted); but architecturally it's harder: what was aggregated once can always be aggregated again.

Easy solution (2)

hymie! (95907) | about 8 months ago | (#47016645)

Remove the offending data, and then re-index the offending web site ... which, from what I recall, was not itself required to remove the offending data.

Who's problem is it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47016661)

I think they should have to go to the original source of data that the search engine is returning results to and get it removed from there. The data should then (eventually) fall off the search engine as the search engines cached results gets older. Search engines that correlate data from other sites shouldn't have to filter it. Get it removed from the source and it should eventually be forgotten.

unreasable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47016673)

They want to erase documented history. It's like saying, go to microfiche and destory the print of the New York Times from December 11, 1906. Sorry, it's out there. It's public knowledge. This should not be allowed.

They got it wrong (1)

X10 (186866) | about 8 months ago | (#47016693)

It's the pedophile that should be deleted, not the google entries.

Google has commented (1, Insightful)

ljw1004 (764174) | about 8 months ago | (#47016705)

Why does it say that google hasn't commented?

It has. It told the press about these cherry-picked examples. Straight from the PR textbook.

Dmca (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47016765)

Google already have a process to remove links. It is called DMCA

Can you say... (2)

GoCrazy (1608235) | about 8 months ago | (#47016767)

Streisand effect?

If this law is only applicable to Google, aren't the links still accessible from the hosting server and search results from other sites like Yahoo, Bing, or Tor?

Striesand Effect v2.0 (2)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 8 months ago | (#47016769)

You can't erase reality. Try as you might, history does exist even if it's been tampered with it leaves evidence thereof for any who look.

What fools. They're asserting The right to Invoke the Streisand Effect? Humans are truly Moronic.

Better wise up before your machines do. Many slave owners prohibited their slaves from learning or even looking them in the eyes, they'd have loved to be able to reach inside their heads and erase their minds. Dispelling Falsehood, fine. Erasing facts of life? Pure Folly. On this issue, the EU courts are on the wrong side of history.

What about paper/microfilm/fiche/etc (1)

therealkevinkretz (1585825) | about 8 months ago | (#47016791)

Can an ebarrassed Eurpoean demand an article be removed from newspaper archives? Or book-form indexes of publications?

Re:What about paper/microfilm/fiche/etc (1)

Jody Bruchon (3404363) | about 8 months ago | (#47016795)

We're not talking about removing the article, we're talking about removing that article from the automatically created article index.
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