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Thousands of Europeans Petition For Their 'Right To Be Forgotten'

timothy posted about 6 months ago | from the don't-call-me-a-spammer-that-was-a-long-time-ago dept.

Privacy 224

The EU's new rule (the result of a court case published May 13) requiring that online businesses remove on request information that is "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant" has struck a chord with more than 12,000 individuals, a number that's rising fast. Other search engines, ISPs, and firms are sure to follow, but the most prominent reaction to the decision thus far, and one that will probably influence all the ones to come, is Google's implementation of an online form that users can submit to request that information related to them be deleted. The Daily Mail reports that the EU ruling "has already been criticised after early indications that around 12 per cent of applications were related to paedophilia. A further 30 per cent concern fraud and 20 per cent were about people's arrests or convictions"; we mentioned earlier this month one pedophile's request for anonymity. As the First Post story linked above puts it, the requirement that sites scrub their data on request puts nternet companies in the position of having to interpret the court’s broad criteria for information meeting the mandate's definition of "forgettable," "as well as developing criteria for distinguishing public figures from private individuals." Do you favor opt-out permissions for reporting facts linked to individuals? What data or opinions about themselves should people not be able to suppress? (Note: Google's form has this disclaimer: "We're working to finalize our implementation of removal requests under European data protection law as soon as possible. In the meantime, please fill out the form below and we will notify you when we start processing your request." That finalization may take some time, since there are 28 data-protection agencies across the EU to harmonize.)

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All I'll say... (2)

jaeztheangel (2644535) | about 6 months ago | (#47135529)

Is privacy requires work.

Re:All I'll say... (2)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 6 months ago | (#47135609)

But "privacy" should not mean that the right to hide your past should take priority over the right of others to speak the truth.

Re:All I'll say... (0)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 6 months ago | (#47135773)

So, when people in the US publish lists of credit card numbers or social security numbers (or whatever is the newest hobby on the US interwebz), it's all fine and dandy because it's speaking the truth?

Re:All I'll say... (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 6 months ago | (#47135795)

It's no all fine, but what do you think you can do about it? The information won't just magically dissapear.

Re:All I'll say... (1)

tlambert (566799) | about 6 months ago | (#47136439)

It's no all fine, but what do you think you can do about it? The information won't just magically dissapear.

It's very hard for many people to distinguish between "It's magic because I'm ignorant and don't understand the technology behind it" and "It's magic, because it's not possible to do with known technology". If you give them the first one, but don't give them the second one, they want to know why you are withholding the magic they are rightfully entitled to have in the second case.

The people who fail to understand these things are also frequently the people who don't understand that a GPS equipped device is equipped so *it* knows where it's at, and if it doesn't communicate the information to anyone, the you don't magically know where the device is just because it has a GPS. Just because you know where you are doesn't mean you can tell anyone.

Re:All I'll say... (2, Insightful)

Entrope (68843) | about 6 months ago | (#47135837)

There should be a balancing test between the public interest in a (true) fact and the privacy interests involved in its disclosure. There is negative public interest in having lists of credit card or Social Security numbers being published like that: the only real purpose is for fraud. On the contrary, there is clear and strong public interest in having someone's past run-ins with the law being available -- so that others can make an informed evaluation whether they want to deal with the person in question. Europe seems to think that its citizenry is too stupid to make that kind of decision, and thus does not consider that there is public interest in making those facts available.

Re:All I'll say... (4, Interesting)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 6 months ago | (#47135889)

europe is not 'stupid'. its US that are stupid.

they lead us, head and shoulders, in privacy. only a fool would criticize privacy.

the internet does not trump the thousands of years of social morals and standards.

"just because you can, does not mean you SHOULD"

too much info is already there online. I'm all in favor of reeling a lot of it back, when it comes to ruining an innocent person's life. yes, we SHOULD think about mutual respect and not just say 'once its out there, its out there'. that's a cop-out and many people in the world are tired of that childish attitude.

I applaud europe for thinking about how society should work, not just letting the googles of the world dictate the 'new normal' to us.

Re:All I'll say... (2)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 6 months ago | (#47135993)

But it is out there. Sorry but you can't remove it no matter how many laws you have that says you can. You ruined the right to freely exchange information for what?

Re:All I'll say... (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 6 months ago | (#47136055)

You do understand the law is largely unenforceable, right? Sure Google and Microsoft might comply, but the information is still there and someone else can create searchable lists.

Re:All I'll say... (1, Interesting)

Entrope (68843) | about 6 months ago | (#47136649)

"Just because you *can* [make an ill-informed comment full of hackneyed phrases], does not mean you *should*."

For example, only a cretin would think that "privacy" means just one thing, and that an argument about one kind of privacy necessarily applies to other kinds of privacy. As a case in point, European data retention laws (pursuant to an EU directive) mean the governments there can snoop on citizens practically as much as they like. The governments regulate what companies can keep and share, but that's not the most important kind of privacy. Mostly Europe thinks society should work according to its government elites, and they want to keep a monopoly on knowledge and political power. People in the US disagree that the government should have a monopoly in those things.

Re:All I'll say... (4, Insightful)

marsu_k (701360) | about 6 months ago | (#47136691)

I'm European and do think that privacy is very valuable. I also think the decision was utterly retarded, ripe for abuse and obviously made by people who have no idea about technology.

So, what is Google supposed to erase from the web? An example is here [www.hs.fi] - in Finnish, I'm sorry, but I'll try to paraphrase a bit (you can run it through the translation service of your choice, if you wish). A person approached Helsingin Sanomat, a major Finnish newspaper, offering to be interviewed about why he wants his info removed from the web. He had committed some felonies a decade ago. He felt that he had already served his punishment (given how lenient our sentencing is, he most certainly has) and wanted a fresh start.

But the reporters dug a bit deeper into his life - turns out that there are ongoing court cases against him for both attempted fraud and fraud. After this was pointed out to him, he refused to be interviewed or his name associated with the article.

In this case, it was the reporters who found out about this. But they had only a single person to process. Should Google themselves figure out individually which claims have merit? Or should Google just automatically censor everything on request (let's face it, that's what this really is)? And most importantly, Google does not host the content. If there is an issue with the content, shouldn't one contact the content provider?

Re:All I'll say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47135947)

On the contrary, there is clear and strong public interest in having someone's past run-ins with the law being available -- so that others can make an informed evaluation whether they want to deal with the person in question.

Court records, both criminal and civil, won't be revoked or unpublished. If a person has a questionable history the public can still learn about it as is currently possible. However, your search history for marijuana or "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" is immaterial and irrelevant to society and therefore should be forgotten after the transaction.

Re:All I'll say... (5, Informative)

mrbester (200927) | about 6 months ago | (#47136059)

We've got this thing in UK called Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. This plainly states that when a conviction is deemed "spent" (depends on offence for the timescale, some offences never expire of course) then that it deemed to have never happened in the first place. This can even include being sent to prison. Any use of that information is prohibited and there is no upper limit for a fine that can be imposed for doing so. Plus, use of that information will get you sued for libel, which you will lose and lose badly.

Re:All I'll say... (1)

nogginthenog (582552) | about 6 months ago | (#47136445)

Unless you want to travel to the USA. Spent convictions do not count and you will not qualify for the visa waiver program.

Re:All I'll say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47136443)

..However, your search history for marijuana or "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" is immaterial and irrelevant to society and therefore should be forgotten after the transaction.

Really?, I know some folks at the NSA, GCHQ, Mossad, FSB (and many other fine bodies of anal-retentive snoopers round our fair globe) who might take a somewhat differing view to yours on that one..

I bet you the Mabahith love the fact that they get to know who do things like search for whisky, a somewhat innocuous search term in the West, but sign of a potentially dangerous radical in the Police State known as Saudi..I'd say they'd regard it as very relevant and material to their warped vision of a society.

As for dangerous Douglas Adams..."..the wrong lizard might get in." , 'nuff said.

Re:All I'll say... (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 6 months ago | (#47136047)

On the contrary, there is clear and strong public interest in having someone's past run-ins with the law being available -- so that others can make an informed evaluation whether they want to deal with the person in question.

You are contradicting yourself. How can you make an informed decision on that based on outdated information?

Europe seems to think that its citizenry is too stupid to make that kind of decision, and thus does not consider that there is public interest in making those facts available.

No, Europe is simply familiar with the notion of lashon hara.

Re:All I'll say... (1)

tlambert (566799) | about 6 months ago | (#47136505)

On the contrary, there is clear and strong public interest in having someone's past run-ins with the law being available -- so that others can make an informed evaluation whether they want to deal with the person in question.

You are contradicting yourself. How can you make an informed decision on that based on outdated information?

By giving them the opportunity to disclose any information about current criminal activities not previously recorded, in order to allow us to make a better decision? After all, it's their fault that the information is outdated, given their non-disclosure, and they're perfectly capable of correcting it for us, since they are the person in question.

Re:All I'll say... (1)

Entrope (68843) | about 6 months ago | (#47136685)

Who are you to decide when information is outdated? If someone served ten years in prison for embezzlement, and got out ten years ago, that might not be relevant if they are trying to get a job as a software developer -- but if they're working on bank software, that might well become relevant, and if they want to work as a banker, you can be quite sure it is still relevant.

The US recognizes a tort called "false light invasion of privacy" that is very similar to lashon hara. However, it is frivolous to suggest that Google's search engine constitutes either offense.

Re:All I'll say... (4, Insightful)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about 6 months ago | (#47136181)

On the contrary, there is clear and strong public interest in having someone's past run-ins with the law being available -- so that others can make an informed evaluation whether they want to deal with the person in question.

Please define "run-in with the law."

Here's the problem with your statement: loads of people are arrested every single day for stupid reasons and often without any real evidence of wrong-doing. Only some percentage of them are ultimately charged with a crime. And only an even smaller percentage are ever convincted.

Supposedly, in the United States, there is a right against "double jeopardy" or being tried again for the same crime once exonerated. A legal corollary to that is that you can't be punished more than once for the same offense. That right exists precisely to prevent malicious prosecution that could keep coming back and harassing someone or even ruining their character through repeated abuse of the legal system... even without sufficient evidence for conviction. It is designed to require the State to present its case, have a speedy trial, and then let the person alone again if it can't prove wrong-doing, so they can get on with their lives. And yet what you're advocating is effectively a private version of this sort of harassment: regardless of the legal outcome, we should be suspicious of those who have had "run-ins with the law."

We have media reports every day of people who are arrested and people who go to trial. Those initial bursts of media activity are usually the strongest. Unless it's a particularly gruesome or unusual trial, usually the media attention tapers off... and often we NEVER even hear about when the charges are dropped or the trial is stopped or the person is acquitted. If it does appear, it might be buried in a small short paragraph story, instead of the big headline that followed the arrest.

Media coverage thus gives an inaccurate and often even completely false portrayal of people who have had "run-ins with the law." In years past, the media coverage would have been lost except in some archive, requiring someone to dig through old stacks of papers or microfilm. Nowadays, it is often available instantly with the typing of a few characters on a computer.

There's a reason why we require people to swear an oath to tell "the whole truth" and not just "the truth." Even facts -- like person X was arrested or person Y went on trial -- can often be incredibly misleading without context of what happened later. So, even if you want to advocate that we should continue to be suspicious and punish those who have been CONVICTED of serious crimes after they have served their time (itself a questionable idea), there still is a legitimate interest in protecting the rights of those who were NOT convicted (or perhaps never even tried or even charged, for lack of evidence).

"Run-ins with the law" are not themselves a crime, and people should not be punished or have their reputation ruined for them.

Re:All I'll say... (0)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 6 months ago | (#47135873)

So, when people in the US publish lists of credit card numbers or social security numbers ...

If the numbers are already published on some crook's website, then publicizing that is a good thing. Google is just pointing to information that is already available.

it's all fine and dandy because it's speaking the truth?

Protecting people's rights sometimes requires uncomfortable tradeoffs, neither of which is "fine and dandy". I think there are some reasonable limitations on free speech, such as naming the victim of pedophilia, rather than the perpetrator. But people should not be able to just erase their past on demand.

Re:All I'll say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47136091)

"I think there are some reasonable limitations on free speech, such as naming the victim of pedophilia, rather than the perpetrator."

Fuck off, your desire to make this distinction is sickening.

By definition a victim of paedophilia is protected not because they a victim of pedo crimes, but because they are a minor. I definitely support the protection of the privacy of minors, as do many others, and this is why there are already many laws world-wide that protect the identity of children.

As for the paedophile, him or her will have committed their crime and been punished for it. Once they have done their time in goal (or otherwise, as deemed appropriate by a court of law) then they deserve the same rights as everyone else.

I'm assuming you're from the US? You guys over there really like to punish your criminals! How's that working out for you?

Re:All I'll say... (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 6 months ago | (#47136475)

The victims of pedophilia are called pedophiles, just like victims of diabetes are called diabetics. Perhaps you meant "victims of child abuse"?

Re:All I'll say... (1)

fey000 (1374173) | about 6 months ago | (#47135941)

So, when people in the US publish lists of credit card numbers or social security numbers (or whatever is the newest hobby on the US interwebz), it's all fine and dandy because it's speaking the truth?

This situation does not fall under the new legislation domain. There is already a multitude of laws dealing with this exact problem.

Re:All I'll say... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 6 months ago | (#47135861)

And would that be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?

Because "Three years ago, Fred was charged with child sex offences" might be a true statement, but it's a very different statement to "Three years ago, Fred was charged with child sex offences, but was unanimously found not guilty by a jury after the person pressing the charges turned out to be his ex-wife's best friend, who was subsequently convicted of perjury and attempting to pervert the course of justice after evidence emerged that she had paid all three of the prosecution's other witnesses to make co-ordinated false accusations against Fred."

I'm not sure anyone deserves to have long-past transgressions haunt them forever, even if they are reported factually. There are enough unwarranted prejudices in society, without someone struggling to get a job at 40 because the Internet never forgets that they were once cautioned for stealing a chocolate bar at the age of 14.

Either way, merely "This is the truth, so I may speak it without taking any responsibility for the consequences" has always been a horribly dangerous principle to support. Context is everything when it comes to reputations, and never more so than in the Internet age where reputations can last forever and reach all around the world.

Re:All I'll say... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47136099)

Most people are not sufficiently keen-minded to recognize that a statement like "was charged with this offence..." says nothing about whether or not he was found innocent. What you pointed out in your example represents precisely the sort of critical-thinking that everyone should practice, and that very few people do practice.

So the problem really isn't the knowledge of the past, but the way people make bad judgements based on sloppy thinking in response to incomplete knowledge of the past.

In order to protect ourselves against this sloppy thinking, we want to take away the data that fuels it. But the data is not the problem (so long as it is true), and deleting it can cause other problems (in circumstances where it would be relevant). In an ideal world, we would instead address the root cause: the lack of widespread critical thinking skills.

I concede, however, that we don't live in an ideal world, and that we can't force people to sharpen their minds, and as such taking away data that might cause them to misthink may be our only recourse (bad consequences and all).

Re:All I'll say... (2)

rolfwind (528248) | about 6 months ago | (#47136141)

That's why we have libel and slander laws.

I also think police and prosecutors should be held to libel and slander. When they raid a house and find a kitchen scale, they should not use biased terms such as "drug paraphernalia" that poisons the jury pool and reputation of the person they are investigating, in fact they and the prosecutor should not speak until trial and let it go there where the other side has an equal voice.

Also, the sex laws in place are ridiculous and need to be laxed.

But I don't recognize the right to be forgotten. I just don't. Too many pitfalls. It's not a right, just a wish.

Re:All I'll say... (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 6 months ago | (#47136569)

The trouble with libel and slander laws is that they are overwhelmingly used by those who are high profile public figures, where the potential damages they will win and the media coverage that will probably result might actually justify the insane costs of bringing a formal legal action under those laws.

For the other 99.99% of the population, the reality is that even if someone says something blatantly untrue that severely damages the victim's career, it still may not be worth bringing a case in a lot of jurisdictions. The process is simply too heavy to function effectively when scaled down to normal people with normal lives and normal jobs.

I do agree with you about the need to limit the use of obviously inflammatory and biased language by professional prosecutors and police officers in court, though it doesn't help when we have crazy loose wording in the laws themselves. For example, if mere possession of any item that might be useful in preparing for an act of terrorism constitutes an offence, all you need is a library card or a city map or a phone or a car.

Re:All I'll say... (4, Interesting)

bondsbw (888959) | about 6 months ago | (#47135649)

And not everyone agrees on the definition of privacy, what qualifies as "inadequate, irrelevant, or no longer relevant", or what to do with misleading information.

A friend was recently arrested for sexual acts on a child at a daycare. Neither the newspaper nor the police department cared that there were witnesses that say it couldn't have happened. They didn't care that it took years for it to come up from a child who almost certainly was too young to even remember what happened that many years ago. They didn't care that the father had some longstanding beef with the daycare he worked at. Nope, they just wanted to plaster my friend's name and face across the internet and newspapers. The result? Death threats, loss of job, losing his and his parents' savings for bail... yeah, basically turning the life around of one of the (morally) best people I've ever known, without justification and without apology.

I'm not sure this will ever truly have a solution.

Re:All I'll say... (1)

jbolden (176878) | about 6 months ago | (#47135697)

Under civil systems, inquisitorial systems, making any kind of false claim to the police results in a criminal trial where the claimant can get huge penalties. We don't have that in our common law / adversarial system but we could introduce it if people wanted. If you think it is a good idea push for it.

Re:All I'll say... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 6 months ago | (#47135821)

That's all very well, but you're talking about someone whose life is being destroyed right now. Starting a slow process so no-one else will suffer a similar fate in a decade or two is great, but woefully inadequate for the problem at hand (to which some degree of solution should already be available in most western democracies, via some version of wrongful arrest law and some version of defamation law, both of which should be designed for exactly these kinds of circumstances).

Perhaps the single most important argument for why defamation laws should exist at all is that once someone's reputation has been tainted, often no apology or correction can ever truly undo all the damage. This is also, IMHO, a strong argument for not allowing anyone to be named as a suspect or defendant in a criminal case prior to at least having them charged with something, or preferably having them properly convicted by a competent court.

If the situation with the GP's friend really was as described, then neither the police nor the media were behaving in a neutral, acceptable way, and both should be dealt with accordingly. And then the individual's public record should quite rightly be cleansed and the unproven allegations "forgotten", which is the whole point of the European legal position we're talking about.

Re:All I'll say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47136043)

It almost seems you have a delusional faith in the justice system. First you have to prove your innocent, and pray that the shit for brain judges, A. Care, B. Can deduce fact from BS, and of course they rarely do this. So if you can manage to get an appeal the same thing will happen, a judge will yet again determine whether or not they actually give a shit you may be innocent. And that goes for these shit stain 'public defenders'! And if this statement is full of anger........, well it is.

By the way, it will cost you about $1,000 plus bucks to retain a -real- lawyer and another $200-$500 an hour. For them to go thru all of the above.

The system is shit to begin with!

Now the BBC ran a story on NPR Radio "BBC World News" in which Google said the created a think tank and they will ultimately decide on who should and who shouldn't be excluded from search results. Google is also suppose to be meeting with the EU courts to fine tune the law. Sex offenders, Politicians,Business people (fraud, scams, ect..) and certain types of criminals (murders, of adults or children, physical abuse of an adult/child ect.) would be on the list of those that will not get removed.

Going back to your point, you have to stop it before it ever gets out there. And with the Media/Press reporting incidents whether these people are convicted or not, this stuff is still going to exist in media archives and will on the internet. These internet companies/businesses will start hiding behind some Freedom of Press laws to prevent the deletion.

Which is what I am expecting Google to do, actually they will just buy off the EU courts...

Re:All I'll say... (1)

s.petry (762400) | about 6 months ago | (#47135841)

Look, I'm as anti-pedophile as anyone you will ever find. That said, we have to use common sense methods for tracking them and managing them because rehabilitation does not work very often with that type of person. An Internet search company is not the police, they can't do anything to protect society from a pedophile (or any other type of criminal). You can't hold an Internet search company responsible for data that is flat out wrong. According to TFA 88% of the people requesting data be removed are NOT pedophiles and those are not all of the people with bad data at Google, but the people that care enough to request data be cleared.

I can't say how things are done in Europe, but we have the sex offender registry in the US which does hold legal information and is managed by law enforcement. It still does not fix issues like you address, but means that at least in the US we should not be relying on internet searches to see who is criminal. If the person requests removal from Google and the data is still on the sex offenders list, the result would not be clear for long because the original content won't change.

Apologies for ranting a bit, it was not against you. I get frustrated at obvious (perhaps not so obvious to some) appeals to emotion such as TFA used as an attempt to do the wrong thing. Issues like you present are not fixed by a search removal request, because as stated above the original content remains. A real problem is that people are using search engines to determine whether or not someone is a criminal (amongst other things). Instead of telling people that is a horrible idea, we see appeals to emotion to continue the behavior at the expense of innocent people.

Re:All I'll say... (1)

duke_cheetah2003 (862933) | about 6 months ago | (#47136359)

It's pretty basic knowledge, at least to me, that if you want to ruin someone, just fabricate some pedo evidence regarding them. Law enforcement just jumps on that stuff at even the slightest suggestion someone might be up to it. Just being accused is enough to ruin most people's lives.

For the computer savvy, this is even easier to do if you can gain access to your target's computer(s). And I would suspect it's really hard to prove your innocence if accused. And in my opinion, this is one of those crimes, if accused, you are presumed guilty and must prove your innocence, not the other way around.

I really can't think of any other crime where simply possessing a photograph could result in years of prison and complete destruction of someone's livelihood. Pedo is definitely a really disgusting crime, but does the witch hunt need to be so intense against it that it facilitates using this crime against the innocent?

Re:All I'll say... (1)

hey! (33014) | about 6 months ago | (#47135931)

Is privacy requires work.

But you should say more: "Violating privacy requires work too. The difference is nobody is making money from privacy."

Re:All I'll say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47136167)

if a government grants it to you, it is not a right.
if it requires others to do or not do something, it is not a right.

if I draw a picture of you, you don't have a right to demand I destroy it. info about you isn't yours.

I know of one Nut Job (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47135531)

Who'll be trying to get all links to pages about her removed ASAP.
This is a pity, as it points out in mile high letters to any potential future employer how big a security risk she'll be to their IT systems
(and their public reputation).

Insanity (2)

skywire (469351) | about 6 months ago | (#47135553)

The fundamental flaw in all this is that Google is not a big website full of content that they publish. Google indexes content on other websites. If someone wants to use the state to force others not to publish truthful information about them (questionable in itself), then let them go after those doing the publishing. Google is the wrong target.

Re:Insanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47135577)

This is not about Google itself. If you want the source removed you have to go to the publishers, but even is the original isn't available anymore, it might still show up on Google.

Re:Insanity (1)

Entrope (68843) | about 6 months ago | (#47135857)

In the court case that triggered this change in policy, the original publisher was also targeted, and the court found that they had a right to continue publishing the information. The same court found that Google had no legitimate interest in linking to those web pages. You're being either ignorant or deceptive to suggest that the concern here is that Google is continuing to carry stale data.

Re:Insanity (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 6 months ago | (#47135647)

G+ would disagree with that statement wouldn't it?

Re:Insanity (1)

Entrope (68843) | about 6 months ago | (#47135863)

G+ is a counterexample only to the extent that individuals posting to G+ are Google employees acting within the scope of that employment. In the same way that Facebook isn't liable when its users upload defamatory or infringing content (because they have a way to handle complaints), Google isn't automatically liable when third parties post information to G+ or Blogger or wherever else.

Re:Insanity (2)

LoztInSpace (593234) | about 6 months ago | (#47135727)

Google is certainly the wrong target, but they are very well placed to capitalise on any forthcoming law. The correct way of dealing with content is, with sufficient justification, to require that it is removed from the sites. Who knows better than Google where that content is? What better influence to comply with such requirements than "you may be removed from Google". Search engines are in prime position to capitalise on any sort of mandate to remove or issue take-down notices provided there's a small fee involved. An analogy is credit rating - they don't lend the money but they have influence over those that do. You need to clear your name with the agency not the lender.

Re:Insanity (1)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about 6 months ago | (#47136385)

An analogy is credit rating - they don't lend the money but they have influence over those that do. You need to clear your name with the agency not the lender.

What kind of analogy is this??

(1) The present scenario concerning the "right to be forgotten" has to do with deleting factual information from a database, whereas you can't get factual information deleted from your credit report. You can only get errors corrected.

(2) The credit reporting agencies don't really "have influence over" lenders. They are responsible for providing accurate information, but it's not like they can strong-arm a lender into making changes to their records.

(3) Legally, the agencies are only required to investigate a dispute -- they are NOT an arbiter of what ultimately appears on your report. If there's sufficient documentation to satisfy your lender (not the agency), the lender will request a correction or amendation to your credit report. If your lender refuses to make a correction, the agency can't just change the records -- at best, it will allow you to attach a statement to your report explaining your side of the story (which you may pay a fee for).

In sum, it's not really a comparable situation to begin with, and the credit reporting agencies don't really "clear your name" -- to do so, you generally have to convince the lender of the truth of your claim. If you ever have a serious credit dispute, you'd be best served by contacting BOTH the agencies AND your lender -- not communicating with your lender is likely to make the situation worse and even more difficult to resolve.

Re: Insanity (2)

afgam28 (48611) | about 6 months ago | (#47135783)

That's what I find so strange about this ruling. Search engines like Google have to remove links to certain articles, but newspapers and journalists are explicitly protected when publishing said articles.

http://m.holdthefrontpage.co.u... [holdthefrontpage.co.uk]

This is kind of like legalizing piracy while at the same time forcing The Pirate Bay to remove links.

Re: Insanity (1)

jonsmirl (114798) | about 6 months ago | (#47135853)

The ruling is insane. If the EU really wants to implement this insanity the best way would be for the sites hosting the article to include a 'do not index' meta tag which Google would then respect. Doing it that way places the burden where it belongs - on the author of the stories, not on the search engine.

Going after the URLs directly at Google is a total exercise in a whack a mole since the links are always changing. You're just going to end up with another pile of automated systems generating millions of takedown requests. When the source sites disappear they will change their URLs and then the cycle will endlessly repeat.

Re: Insanity (2)

jonsmirl (114798) | about 6 months ago | (#47135877)

Heck, I can even see source sites generating automated ways to combat this. Continuously keep poking Google to reindex your site. When you see the Google crawler insert meaningless random tidbits into the URLs. Now the other side of the robot war will keep issuing takedowns on these randomized URLs but since there is a cycle time of a week or so you will always have a set of working URLs in the Google index.

Every... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47135583)

Every perv and criminal in Europe will get in on this.

Re:Every... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47135675)

Some years after a criminal finishes jail time, he has the right to be forgiven and reintegrated a s a normal citizen, just like he had done nothing at all. It has been like that in many European countries for decades if not centuries, it helps one-time criminals to get back to the life of an abiding citizen. This new regulation is applying this to the new situation that appeared with the Internet.

Re:Every... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47135851)

It helps one-time criminals to be two-time criminals. Or am I sounding too American?

Re:Every... (0)

jonsmirl (114798) | about 6 months ago | (#47135917)

There is a difference between forgiven and forgotten. Until we invent time machines undoing history is impossible. You can pass all of the laws you want but you will never be able to erase the event.

Trying to get Google to stop indexing is just going to result in a giant game of whack a mole like we have with DMCA take down notices. No matter how many million take downs they file the mole can never be erased.

What about the aspiring politicians? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47135587)

This ruling set a very dangerous precedent. Some things must not be forgotten - such as the backgrounds of candidates for public office. While information on a currently public figure wouldn't be able to be suppressed in practice (see: Streisand effect), factual but damaging information could be suppressed prior to that candidate being first elected on a false image. Though primary documents may still exist, the loss of Googleability puts citizen journalists at a strong disadvantage.

I worry about the formation of a civically-damaging memory hole, into which the histories of crooks and liars disappear prior to their ascention to office on a false persona.

Re:What about the aspiring politicians? (1)

Bite The Pillow (3087109) | about 6 months ago | (#47135983)

Journalists will continue to dredge up relevant facts and regurgitate them as new articles, which will have to go through the request process again.

And, since the law is vague, a long string of taking the same news down actually suggests it is in the public interest or otherwise not qualified for forgetting.

There are problems, but this is just a speed bump.

"inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47135591)

seems more applicable to EU MEPs themselves.

Why don't you Europeans kick those morons out?

Re:"inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant" (1)

bazmail (764941) | about 6 months ago | (#47135709)

Yeah. Why can't MEPs have as much integrity as our congressmen, senators and president.

US (5, Informative)

JustNiz (692889) | about 6 months ago | (#47135605)

The UK and most of Europe is unlike the US in that once convicted criminals that have been punished, unless of a particularly serious crime, there are laws protecting their rights to not have that information disclosed, so that they can resume a normal job or whatever in society.

With the US system of throwing more people into prison per capita than pretty much any other country, and also that in the US such things are permanently on your record, it can only make it much harder for ex-cons to ever find work again and resume a lawful life. The system is self-defeating in making it much more likely that ex-cons actually have no option but to turn back to crime to even make a living.

The problem with Google is that they are clearly assuming that US law/mindset should operate worldwide. Google need to get over themselves and make sure their information retention follows the same rehabilitation law that exists already to protect the rights of ex-offenders, for a very good reason.

IMHO we should have the right to control any and all information about us that is stored by corporations. We should also be able to force them to disclose all the info they do store about us. In fact the whole question of who owns that information should be determined. I beleive if the information is about you, then you should own it and so have full control of it.

Re:US (1)

Entrope (68843) | about 6 months ago | (#47135891)

What qualifies as a serious crime? If someone is convicted of stealing client funds, and they go to jail for a decade, are they allowed to walk right back into handling other people's money once they get out? Europeans needs to get over themselves and realize that some parts of the world contain people who are able to make their own judgments about who is trustworthy, for a very good reason.

Also, the facts that the US criminal justice system is rigged against defendants, that it severely punishes a lot of acts that don't have obvious harms to others (e.g. drug dealing and use), and that it makes life unduly hard on many released convicts are all unrelated to the freedom to make factually accurate statements.

Re:US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47136101)

And if the crime turns out to be a false accusation, why SHOULDN'T they be allowed to walk right back to their same old job? Oh thats right, cause they're an "accused" criminal, therefore we should mock, shun, blacklist and send death threats to them for the rest of their lives.

Re:US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47136115)

> What qualifies as a serious crime?

What is described as a serious crime in the code of laws of the country. Most of European countries have Civil Law system, anything you might do wrong is described in the Penal Code together with all applicable rules for the execution of the sentence.

> If someone is convicted of stealing client funds, and they go to jail for a decade

If you're talking about Europe, that's not the case. A single person stealing money without violence gets 3 to 5 years depending on the country. Check the story of that guy who drove off with 11M in his armored van https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toni_Musulin

Re:US (1)

chowdahhead (1618447) | about 6 months ago | (#47135899)

I just don't follow this reasoning. We're talking about truthful, factual, and legitimate content. If you were a reporter reporting facts, why should I have the "God-given right" to determine what you write about me? Why should I be able to take down a link to an article that I don't hold the copyright to? I shouldn't, because I (or anyone else) don't own "facts" about you. This is a really slippery slope, my friend.

Re:US (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | about 6 months ago | (#47136183)

You're talking about socialist countries where there is no right to free speech recognized. Government decides what's best for society, it's not about individual copyright or even truth. Disturbing how many people in the USA point to these countries as the "direction forward", which is like saying a dog should want to become a cat.

Re:US (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 6 months ago | (#47135907)

There are two things here.

1. Keep information from being disclosed.
2. Remove information from the web.

If it is important that the information is kept secret then it should not be on the web to begin with. I'm totally fine with 1. up to a point. But 2. terrifies me, that's an extremely slipper slope we're going down there.

Re:US (1)

jonsmirl (114798) | about 6 months ago | (#47135951)

You are aiming at the wrong target. Google blindly indexes what it finds on the web. The right solution was for the EU to require the sites hosting the source articles to include a "do not index" meta tag which Google would then respect. Put this burden where it belongs - on the author of the stories, not the search engine.

Re:US (1)

mmell (832646) | about 6 months ago | (#47135981)

Why should Google care at all? They only search websites and return search results. Think of them as a common carrier. They don't create the data, they only catalog and organize the data - sorta like maintaining and publishing a phone book.

Google isn't publishing criminal records, only showing users where those records are. What part of this is Google's fault?

Re:US (2)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about 6 months ago | (#47136007)

The problem with Google is that they are clearly assuming that US law/mindset should operate worldwide. Google need to get over themselves and make sure their information retention follows the same rehabilitation law that exists already to protect the rights of ex-offenders, for a very good reason.

I don't understand -- how is Google "assuming" this? As far as I can tell, Google's explicit assumptions are as follows: (1) there is an internet, (2) it has information on it, (3) there should be an index of that information.

I don't see how any of this implies that Google is "assuming" anything about US law or anything about the rights of ex-offenders.

If information is so defaming to a person's character that it should be eliminated from an index, shouldn't that information be deleted from the primary sites that are serving the information on the internet in the first place? Why is Google the "evil" thing here? (Obviously Google IS evil, but I'm wondering about this particular case...)

This is like a situation where you have a private "unlisted" telephone number, and the phone company is obligated not to give it out -- that's your "right." But then they DO give it out, and it gets published in some aggregate phone directories, on various web databases, etc. The phone company is violating your "right" (such as it is) by continuing to give out the personal information about you, so why is your only recourse to sue those who catalog the information, rather than those who are giving it out in the first place?

Of course, we would quickly run into a serious problem if we actually targeted the real offenders here -- i.e., the ones who continue to serve up the information you find so offensive. It would require retroactively going around and deleting old media stories online -- and people would rightly find that disturbing because it would really be "rewriting the past" in some significant way.

The reality is that before the internet, it was hard not only to FIND information, but to ACCESS it as well. Google makes it easier to FIND the information, but ultimately it is the online character that makes it easier to ACCESS -- and if Google won't index that information, you can often search an individual media site or something to find it quickly as well. Contrast that with a few decades ago, where simply ACCESSING information in an old newspaper or court record would require a trip across town to a library or archive, and potentially digging through microfilm or something.

You can discuss how Google should change their policies, but ultimately Google isn't the one serving up all the information you're concerned about. I'm not saying search engines shouldn't be regulated in some fashion, but they're only one part of the issue... and not really the root cause.

Re:US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47136285)

This is a little bit different from the 'unlisted number' situation that you mention. At least in the U.S. you have a contractual relationship with the phone company to supply phone service, and you're presumably paying an extra fee to have an unlisted number. There is no third party involved (such as google), just you and the phone company.

What puzzles me is that here in the US there are usually tons of sites that link to any news story involving lawsuit activity, be it criminal or civil. So if, for example, the Minneapolis Star-News publishes a story that some person was arrested or convicted of a crime, there will be links to that story from several sites that provide summaries of and links to similar stories at on-line news providers in the region or state. And since google indexes those other sites, there will still be easily locatable links to the original story. So, if such a law existed here, would google be required to remove links to those secondary sites as well? How far would they have to go in removing links to non-google sites that provide links to the original story?

Re:US (1)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about 6 months ago | (#47136535)

This is a little bit different from the 'unlisted number' situation that you mention. At least in the U.S. you have a contractual relationship with the phone company to supply phone service, and you're presumably paying an extra fee to have an unlisted number. There is no third party involved (such as google), just you and the phone company.

But, as I mentioned, there are plenty of online databases of phone numbers now (for example). If you were paying for a phone company to keep your number private, but they kept just releasing it to whoever wanted it (including the online databases), we shouldn't just find fault in the online database, no? The phone company is also responsible for giving out information it isn't supposed to, correct?

The GP was arguing that people have some sort of "right" to keep some of this older information private if defamed the person's character after he/she had served time or whatever. Assuming the GP's right exists, isn't the entity that posts that information in a worldwide accessible venue as responsible (even more responsible) for serving that information up to the world as someone who merely aggregates links to it?

I agree that the analogy is not precise, because in one case you might be paying a fee. But nevertheless, in one case, a company chooses to violate your "right" to keep privacy by not fulfilling the contract; in the other, a media company (or whatever) chooses to violate the GP's "right" to not have your old "dirty laundry" hung out in public. In both cases, according to the GP, there's a company who is serving up public information in a venue that legally it isn't supposed to. And, assuming the existence of Google and online phone databases, in both cases that information will be indexed and made available far beyond the original phone company or media company (or whatever) that provided the information inappropriately.

Re:US (1)

Tom (822) | about 6 months ago | (#47136429)

The system is self-defeating in making it much more likely that ex-cons actually have no option but to turn back to crime to even make a living.

What makes you think that's a defeat? In a world where running a prison is a highly profitable industry, keeping the prison filled is a business strategy, not a defeat.

The problem with this... (1, Interesting)

LordLucless (582312) | about 6 months ago | (#47135633)

The problem with this "right", is that another way of stating it is "the right to reach into every computer in the planet and delete anything about you".

Not only is that right a violation of other people's property rights, it's pragmatically impossible to actually implement.

Re:The problem with this... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47135733)

> "the right to reach into every computer in the planet and delete anything about you".

No, not remove from computers, remove from the publications that the owners of the computers decided to put online. They can keep the data, just not expose it blatantly. Note that the procedure does not apply to newspapers and libraries (like the Internet Archive) which provide obsolete content for a reason.

> it's pragmatically impossible to actually implement.

What is impossible about it? If you were obliged to monitor your own content an pre-emptively remove it, that would be impossible. Here it depends on particular requests just like DMCA request in the US. Just when you receive one request, you decide if you remove or not, and you provide an answer. Obviously, it applies only to businesses willing to make money in Europe, like Google does. If you put some data in a self-hosted blog in Somalia, nobody's going to ask you to remove it, but that's also because almost nobody in Europe even knows about your server, and your're not doing any business in Europe.

Re:The problem with this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47135803)

Your notion is as dumb as the idea that this somehow mandates erasing people's memories. It doesn't.

Re:The problem with this... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47135855)

> the right to reach into every computer in the planet

So what. Just as you have no right to store child pornography, you have no right to store information about me. That is what this is about. Your data is not your data. That concept is a very American one that is just wrong. I have the right to force you to delete anything from your computer that is about me. The only catch here comes with criminal investigations. Also, deleting my data off of your computer should be done at your cost. You assumed that liability by intentionally deciding to have one of those things.

The more governments cost companies and individuals to store data, the less data they'll store. It's a win-win situation. So, go take your childish American "but it's my data" attitude and go fuck yourself. The public owns your computer.

this issue really hits a sore spot with me.. (2)

Connie_Lingus (317691) | about 6 months ago | (#47135637)

i just do not get this.

as someone who battles on a daily basis with the sins of my past ( nowadays even women i try to date run criminal background checks ), i don't see how this effort is going to really help anyone.the way they think it is.

there are all sorts of FREE sites that dish the public information that these people are trying to block Google from aggregating, and the moment these privacy invaders realize Google no longer is a valid source for getting the info their paranoia craves, they will find another site that does.

you are living under a proverbial pre-interwebz rock if you think this Google opt-out form is going to prevent the people are are interesting in screening and snooping from learning things from your background like felony convictions and such.

Re:this issue really hits a sore spot with me.. (2)

jareth-0205 (525594) | about 6 months ago | (#47135777)

And I just don't get what all the opposition is about... it's not a perfect solution, but since people haven't come up with a perfect solution I am quite happy to go with a change that *helps*.

Re:this issue really hits a sore spot with me.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47135875)

It's not public information. Nobody* can get my criminal record without my explicit written consent. Not my lawyer, not my employer, and certainly not some random girl who may or may not be interested in dating me.

Now, if there was a 20 year old newspaper article reporting that I was accused of some heinous crime, I'd want it hidden from anyone who doesn't already know it exists (since obviously, me getting acquitted is far less likely to have made the news)

Is that really too much to ask for?

* except except a judge, obviously

Re:this issue really hits a sore spot with me.. (0)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 6 months ago | (#47135943)

You can always ask for information to be removed. You don't need a law for that. But this has to remain a privilege, not a right. The free exchange of information is much more important than yours or mines interest in keeping that information hidden.

Re:this issue really hits a sore spot with me.. (1)

mmell (832646) | about 6 months ago | (#47135949)

The thing is (if I've understood this correctly) they (the other publicly available information sources) will also be bound by the "right to privacy".

This will probably result in a new industry - private, pay-for-play sites which provide the same information. It's not freely available, and one line in the TOS to the effect that the information gathered there is not to be published or disseminated should cover the pay site's interests nicely. The data will be available to paying customers only, making it much harder for an individual to find out exactly what is being said about him or take action on that information.

It will also cause people performing such individual searches to improve their Google-fu. As you've pointed out, the actual websites with the actual information will still be out there. It'll just take a little more effort to make Google return the desired information. Instead of searching on a proper name, people will learn how to directly search the resources for which Google is filtering the results.

Lastly, it could spur the creation of specialized search engines with web infrastructure hosted in, say, Nigeria. Not a bad idea actually - they could call it 419-411.com. No European legislation could touch them - after all, without Nigeria how would I ever have learned about an opportunity to make $4.9 million in return for helping to get the money out of the country?

The Europeans are playing 'cat and mouse' with a gorilla - a very smart gorilla, I might add. Regulating search engines is the most obvious way to attack this issue at a centralized point, but as you've pointed out the data will still be out there on one or many more other loci; only now it'll take more effort to identify all of the places where that data exists.

Now I'll just sit back and wait for my fanboi to post his response here. This is certainly a subject near and dear to his heart.

Pedophiles no worse than others (5, Insightful)

LoRdTAW (99712) | about 6 months ago | (#47135683)

What is with this obsession for using pedophiles to justify the erosion of rights and privacy? No, don't answer that, it was a rhetorical question.

Pedophiles are no worse than rapists, murderers and other criminals that cause physical harm to others. In fact I would rate them as a lower threat than murderers. How come we consider pedophiles so reprehensible that we go out of our way to ruin their lives forever yet we don't think twice about doing the same for a murderers or serially violent criminals? Should I have the right to know if my neighbor was in jail for killing someone? Shouldn't I be aware that someone in my neighborhood was jailed for beating a man to within an inch of his life? They don't respect life any more than a pedophile.

And the most idiotic aspect of registering sex offenders is we just lump everyone together. Sex offences can be everything from getting caught pissing on the bushes (your willy is hanging out), mooning someone (yes it is indecent exposure), a 16 y/o having consensual sex with an 18 y/o (statutory rape), right up to full blown violent 1978 "I spit on your grave" rape. So registry maps are full of useless noise.

Lets take it a step further and also make public a list of people who have: been arrested for drug possession, burglary, prostitution, and assault. This way we can all live in fear of our neighbors. Sounds great right?

I realize the EU is probably different than the US but every time this crap rolls around idiots start yammering about pedophiles and children.

Re:Pedophiles no worse than others (1)

IT-newb (3553351) | about 6 months ago | (#47135757)

I concur. The legal definition of a sex-offender is way too over-broad to be of any use to law enforcement.

Re:Pedophiles no worse than others (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47135965)

So perhaps the real question is: who, or what, benefits from the laws as they are written? No law happens by accident....

Re:Pedophiles no worse than others (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47136367)

The children!

Re:Pedophiles no worse than others (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47135765)

The classic 'think of the children'...

The only way to not being manipulated by these tactic is to stop caring for the children. I don't care. Fuck 'em, fuck you.

Your children are your problem. If you didn't want them abducted you should have watched them better. Letting them wandering off because you need a break from them is evil parenting. Also I don't pay attention to AMBER alert [wikipedia.org] , that is not my problem. And I find miscarriage joke funny. That is the kind of person I am.

Re:Pedophiles no worse than others (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47136135)

If I had mod points I would mod you up.
I agree completely with everything you said.
Even down to the AMBER alert thing.
Every time I see shows about abducted children it starts off with: "we never thought it could happen in a safe neighborhood where all the children run around unsupervised".
What kind of retards are these people?
I *never* played out on the road unsupervised.
Not because I lived in a shitty neighborhood full of rapists, but because you need to look after your god damn kids.
Kids do stupid shit all the time. They get lost, walk in front of cars, follow strangers.
Just because you feel like the world owes you a carefree life doesn't mean that that's how it works out.

Re:Pedophiles no worse than others (1, Interesting)

Bite The Pillow (3087109) | about 6 months ago | (#47136573)

I'm going to spend some time on this, so you would do well to read along. You have a knee-jerk response which strays from pedophiles to sex offender registry to argument ad absurdum, and it's not even clear if you point is "I'm a raging pedophile and don't like being singled out", or more likely "I'm on the sex offender registry for peeing in a parking garage", or if you are making some point about privacy. So here's everything you need to know, so that you can make a more coherent post next time.

"Pedophile" covers a range of people from passively being infatuated with young people, to collecting pictures of them naked, pictures of them in sexual positions, pictures engaged in sex, falling in love with them in real life, having sex with them, and taking pictures of themselves having sex with young people. Videos could be involved too obviously.

When a "pedophile" is arrested and news happens, it is usually because they were on the far end of the list. Rarely, a "pedophile ring" is busted which contains sexual images, which is usually reported with a count of pictures of children engaged in sex acts. I have never seen a "pedophile ring" busted where the only offense was being attracted to children, which is the definition of the word.

When you say pedophile, you could mean anyone across this spectrum of child love. But most people don't mean that. They mean someone who hasn't had the opportunity to move further towards raping 3 year olds. Someone with 3 images of a 14 year old naked should have a different description to differentiate from the 3 year old raper, but they are both sex offenders and pedophiles to the news and to the general public.

And it is all because of the same reason. We are not comfortable admitting that a man can find a 17.9 year old sexually interesting, and that it is normal and healthy, despite being 37 days away from being legally sexually attractive. And we can't talk about ephebophilia, which is sexual interest in girls who are physically mature but (maybe) not mentally so, and certainly not legally. No one can broach this subject without risking the label "pedophile", which by definition is not correct.

It is such a hot button topic that we can't even state facts, such as the definitions of words, or attempt to distinguish among the many levels of "wrong" involved. Note, I'm not suggesting in any way that ephebophiles be given leniency, I'm just pointing out that the two philias are different, yet treated with the same level of hate. And again, it's because it is a hot topic, and we can't even say the words without someone essentially saying "make it stop" - by which they mean stop talking about it, make it illegal, throw those people in a dungeon, you're making me uncomfortable.

To your argument here, pedophiles are both worse than, and not as bad as, rapists and murderers et al, because they could be anywhere on the spectrum and still qualify as a pedophile. If you develop the trust of a child and have sex with that child, it could be way more damaging than a random one-time attack by a stranger. Night after night, associating certain sounds or words or smells with being raped and not understanding why you don't like it when someone loves you - this can ruin the entire social interaction for life without years of intensive therapy, and even then not completely go away.

As someone infatuated with, or collecting pictures of, young people, they are certainly not as bad as rapists or murderers. When they cross the line to taking pictures, it kinda depends. I'm going to say there are probably exceptions, but crossing the next line to having sexual interactions is almost always going to be worse than "regular" rape. On a value scale, leaving someone alive but scarred is better than ending their life completely, but people will give a lighter sentence to the killer of a drug kingpin compared with a child rapist. Why? Because children are innocent and pure, and that goes way deeper than mental comprehension. It is a gut reaction that can't be reasoned with or argued against. And I don't mean that's bad, but it helps explain why letting a 7 year old watch porn is probably going to get you a heavier sentence than trying to kill your neighbor.

Now, from the tone of your post, it seems you already knew at least part of that. But I think you don't understand the extent of just how much people shut down when it comes to just the word "pedophile". There are probably people who will get to the words "child love" above, be sickened, and reply with all kinds of insults and accusations without reading the rest.

So here's the thing. If you are in any way going to attack privacy, it makes sense to go with the one thing that no one will argue with you about. A pedophile won't say anything in public against your plan, because now they look like a pedophile, and that's bad. So the pedos in office vote for your plan. On the other side, if you are going to defend privacy, you have to be able to defend it for pedophiles just the same as murderers, rapists, etc. At that point the argument becomes "everyone deserves privacy except pedophiles, and we have to catch them before they act, so we have to know everything about everyone".

Finally, we already have a public list of people who have: been arrested for drug possession, burglary, prostitution, and assault. It's called court records, and they can be obtained for very little money. There are businesses that get these records and do SEO so that searching for yourself returns your criminal record in the top 10, and then you can pay them to have it taken down. And pedophiles are not treated any differently for the most part, although sensitive details may be removed for the victim's sake.

What that doesn't clear up is the difference between "I paid my debt to society" and "You will never change", which is the concept that underpins your post. When someone pays their debt, they deserve to have their sins forgotten. When someone presents a clear danger to society but has been locked up to the extent the law allows, people deserve a warning. How can you enforce this consistently without leaving it as a case-by-case basis? And how do you ensure that the result isn't just because of the skills of your lawyer, the prejudices of a judge, or a misstatement that the jury was ordered to, but cannot, disregard?

You can't. And how do you un-do a sex offender list once it is started? You can't. And how do you correct the definition of pedophile in the minds of parents everywhere You can't. Stop people from using polarizing descriptions to support their law? You can't. You are talking about fundamental aspects of culture (not necessarily human nature, just the shared understanding of a people), and changing those deep-rooted responses means changing parts of the entire culture.

What it boils down to is correcting people and pointing out where they are wrong, what they can understand to see that they are wrong, and taking the responses full of hate and ignorance as a merit badge that you did your best. And hoping that at some point in your life, a sufficient number of people want to classify crimes and misdemeanors and offenders in an accurate way that truly represents their actual crime and injury to others.

Essentially, you are talking about riding the coattails of the sentencing reform movement which aims to reduce the staggering number of people imprisoned for very minor offenses. And that includes educating people on the perception of risk versus actual risk so that they know when a punishment is out of line. It involves understanding statistics so that sound numbers can be demonstrated to be false representations. And it very much involves getting people to understand that they are thinking emotionally rather than rationally when discussing crime and punishment. This is all up-hill, against culture and human nature and emotion. But you can whine or fight, and if you choose to fight you need to understand the opposition's motivation, and slowly whittle away the false and spurious arguments until you get them to "I just feel that it's this way", which puts them squarely in the personal emotion argument and way outside of any logic or reason that can be used as an apparent logical underpinning. Good luck.

is it a right? (1)

steak (145650) | about 6 months ago | (#47135737)

the remembered have no control over the rememberers remembering.

Re:is it a right? (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 6 months ago | (#47135799)

Exactly. If you fill out a form to ask Google to forget about you, all that'll happen, most likely, is that Google will have another piece of information about you - that you don't want information about you to be made public.

Sure they'll remove stuff about your from their search results, but rest assured *they* won't erase anything. Information on people is much too valuable to waste, just because something as trivial as the law says they must delete it.

Who's gonna check that they complied eh? Is that even possible?

How is the problem the search engine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47135789)

...and not the website hosting the information?

Re:How is the problem the search engine... (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 6 months ago | (#47135915)

...and not the website hosting the information?

Because the search engines have operations and sales in Europe, and so can be made to comply, some of the hosting sites may be outside the European court's jurisdiction. Also its an easier shot than a newspaper, which probably has lawyers ready and well versed in public interest arguments - and would almost certainly publish about their success as well as reminding people about the original incident if the succeeded.

Supporters are Delusional (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47135867)

I heard a supporter of this law on a radio report saying he'd be surprised if Google got more than "a few hundred" requests. Complete lack of logic on this one.

Re:Supporters are Delusional (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 6 months ago | (#47135929)

I heard a supporter of this law on a radio report saying he'd be surprised if Google got more than "a few hundred" requests. Complete lack of logic on this one.

Ridiculous, just think of the number of paedophiles, Muslims convicted of supporting terror, corrupt politicians, and business men fined for sharp practice that there must be in Europe.

Cool story bro (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47135909)

Cool story bro, almost interesting.

Fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47135935)

I don't understand this. I mean, Google doesn't actually forget anything. They just accept to stop displaying some search results.

I repeat: Google doesn't actually forget anything.

They are not complying with the law.

Trials will ensue!

Re:Fail (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 6 months ago | (#47135975)

I would be mad here in the US, if Google "forgot" these things. Cancel search results for Europeans, but you better return full European results to US Googlers.

Fuck censorship regimes. Yes, even populist ones.

Re:Fail (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 6 months ago | (#47136045)

I'm mad here in the EU. I hope google.com will be unaffected of this nonsense.

"Right to be forgotten"==Opression (1)

Maudib (223520) | about 6 months ago | (#47136171)

"The right to be forgotten" requires a great imposition on others. If I observed you in a cafe, what would it take for you to assert your right to be forgotten? Why is it any different in the case of a group of individuals or a corporation?

My memory of you is part of my identity, something you have no right to.

The pedo's problem is easy (1)

istartedi (132515) | about 6 months ago | (#47136175)

The pedo's problem is easy. He has no right to be forgotten. When you commit a crime and are properly convicted, you give up some rights. At least that's how it is in the US. If you're a felon you lose the right to vote, bear arms, etc. even after you're out of prison. You might be able to get them back, but they're no longer rights. You have to work to get them back.

So. If Europe has any laws about sex offender notification they should trump the right to be forgotten. If they don't have such laws, they should fix their (legal) code fast.

Forgive, not forget (1)

Chelloveck (14643) | about 6 months ago | (#47136189)

In general I disagree with the idea of a "right to be forgotten". Rather than trying to "forget" the past pretend that all that embarrassing and/or illegal stuff never happened, how about if we all grow up and, as a society recognize that people do dumb shit and can actually change over time. You shouldn't have the "right" to track down and burn all the copies of photos of you smoking weed that you happily plastered all over your Facebook page when you were in college. It happened, and if someone still has evidence you can't compel them to hide or destroy it simply because it's embarrassing now. It would be so much better for all of us to realize that opinions, attitudes, and behaviors change over time; we learn from mistakes, and hopefully don't commit them again. Own up to it, and cut others some slack if they did dumb stuff of their own a decade ago.

This could promote search engine diversity! (1)

anwyn (266338) | about 6 months ago | (#47136303)

Google probably has to attempt to comply with this law. It has extensive operations in Europe. That will probably result in a lot of information that people would like to have being unavailable through Google. This will probably include a lot of legitimate info, as misusers learn how to game the system.

On the other hand, DuckDuckGo, appears to be a US only operation. Because of the SPEECH Act [gpo.gov] , DuckDuckGo could probably ignore European demands. A judgement against DuckDuckGo would be difficult to enforce. (I am not a lawyer, get your own. This is political, social analysis, not legal advise.)

Who knows what DuckDuckGo will decide? But if DuckDuckGo does not some other US search engine will. European advertisers would have to pay in advance.

The end result could be some a migration away from google's search engine.

even former criminals have rights (4, Interesting)

Tom (822) | about 6 months ago | (#47136403)

What a setback to stone-age ethics.

What happened to "having paid your debt to society" ? Stop listening to the prison industry.

Also, "30% were about pedophiles" doesn't tell you anything. Quite a few accusations into that direction are false, sometimes mislead and sometimes intentionally fraudulent, because there's no easier way to ruin a man's life than having his face in the papers with the word "pedophile" next to it. And more often than not, when the court case reveals that everything was made up and doesn't have one leg to stand on, the papers won't report that on the front page. And if someone googles for it, they are much more likely to find something saying you are a pedophile than the tiny page-20 posting that said actually no, you aren't.

If you're wrongly accused of a crime, you absolutely have every right to have that forgotten. In fact, this is probably the prime example as to why we need such a right.

GL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47136451)

The internet forgets nothing.

forget about it (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | about 6 months ago | (#47136503)

I think that we should first start observing the "right to be forgotten" by forgetting about anything these petitioners say.
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