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Pedophile Asks To Be Deleted From Google Search After European Court Ruling 370

Posted by samzenpus
from the record-not-found dept.
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to pages about his conviction after a European court ruled that an individual could force it to remove 'irrelevant and outdated' search results.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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Pedophile Asks To Be Deleted From Google Search After European Court Ruling

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

    by bradley13 (1118935) on Friday May 16, 2014 @07:17AM (#47016407) Homepage

    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. (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 16, 2014 @07:23AM (#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.

  • by bradley13 (1118935) on Friday May 16, 2014 @07:46AM (#47016587) Homepage

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

    by Xest (935314) on Friday May 16, 2014 @08:29AM (#47016939)

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

    The problem arises because the following are true:

    1) All companies in Europe are bound by existing data protection law

    2) This ruling was based on existing data protection law, NOT the EU's proposed right to be forgotten law

    3) The existing data protection law has been around for over a decade, just that until this case no one with an operation as big, complex, and so blatantly public facing as Google has had it applied to them so there's been no fuss made of it

    4) The EU's proposed right to be forgotten law is actually a general update to data protection laws intended to clarify things for the mobile/social age. Again, it's a separate thing to that which was applied in this case.

    So what we have is everyone getting caught with their pants down, existing law being applied to a major internet player, but just a bit too soon for the provisions of the new law that would be easier on them to be available. The actual directive that contains the right to be forgotten will actually make things better than the existing law because it actually provides clarity and answers to pretty much all of the concerns people have raised here.

    It's worth reading the following if you're interested:

    http://europa.eu/rapid/press-r... [europa.eu]

    A choice quote, that will probably shock those who think the EU is out to re-write history because the only information they've had to date is from scaremongering sensationalists:

    "The right to be forgotten is of course not an absolute right. There are cases where there is a legitimate reason to keep data in a data base. The archives of a newspaper are a good example. It is clear that the right to be forgotten cannot amount to a right to re-write or erase history. Neither must the right to be forgotten take precedence over freedom of expression or freedom of the media. The right to be forgotten includes an explicit provision that ensures it does not encroach on the freedom of expression and information."

    Hopefully this clears things up - long story short, the existing law is actually WORSE than the directive containing the right to be forgotten law. The directive also includes explicit provisions to ensure the law does not encroach on freedom of expression and that it's entirely about protecting personal data in the face of fairly legitimate concerns.

    It's easy to forget in the face of summaries that cherry pick stuff like paedophiles, and dodgy doctors that this law was as much influenced by the NSA's mass surveillance that we were all upset about what feels like only 5 minutes ago. It's as much to ensure that the US (and UK et. al.) understands that there will be consequences to using corporations to harvest personal data and build a global surveillance network based upon that. It gives companies like Google the ammunition they need to take to the US government and say look, we can't just hand you this data because that then puts us in breach of European data law. It gives them ammunition in their arguments against the US government's excessive over reach and abuse of secret courts and so forth.

    Ideally people would read the link above before commenting further, but I wont count on it. Some people are too interested in feigning outrage to give a shit about the facts of the ruling and the law in question.

  • Re:Not quite (Score:4, Informative)

    by Xest (935314) on Friday May 16, 2014 @08:43AM (#47017061)

    Yes, they would've ruled in the same way as the law on which this case was based on is relatively old (directive in 1995, implementations from member nations in about 1997 and onwards) and has been used many times. The difference this time was it was applied to Google on the public internet- normally it involves disputes between individuals and companies in a more private setting, such as a company sending someone junk mail because they've held onto their personal details for far too many years after they've had anything to do with them.

    One of the misconceptions of the case is that this has something to do with the right to be forgotten law. The right to be forgotten law isn't yet, it's still a proposal. This ruling was based on existing data protection law that places explicit limits on the duration such data can be "processed".

    This law is already used by organisations such as credit rating agencies who can only take public information such as county court judgements in the UK against people who have failed to service their debts and hold it for a maximum of 7 years (again in the UK, may vary slightly elsewhere in Europe).

    It's worth reading the actual law in question (which again isn't what this ruling is based upon), a recent update is available direct from the horses mouth here:

    http://europa.eu/rapid/press-r... [europa.eu]

    It's quite explicit, such as one provision allowing individuals who were children at the time of posting something embarrassing on the internet to request it be deleted once in adulthood. It's not even finished yet, but it's certainly not the document people here think it is.

  • If google needs an objective standard for "irrelevant and outdated", I strongly recommend that the standard be that the page has either been removed entirely or else the page just no longer contains the content that is described by the google search, and the "irrelevant or outdated" content may only be available in the cache.
  • by gurps_npc (621217) on Friday May 16, 2014 @09:23AM (#47017389) Homepage
    Picture a pedophile. Have it in your mind?

    Are you thinking of a 19 year old boy who got a blow job from a 15 year old girl without knowing her age?

    Are you thinking of a 16 year old buy with the naked picture of an 17 year old girl on his phone?

    Because that is the typical example of men put on pedophile lists.

    The media has lied to us about what pedophiles means. We think it means sick old perverts that repeatedly rape and abuse young children, likely killing them. Those cases are incredibly rare. Why? Because the truly strange and sick perversions are truly rare.

    More importantly, those people tend to wind up in prison for the rest of their lives, never getting parole, if they are not killed outright.

    On the other hand the number of teenagers/young adults that do things like pass around dirty pictures of their classmates and/or have sex with someone 5 years younger than them WITHOUT KNOWING THEIR AGE is actually fairly high.

    Most cops are pretty lenient - if of course it is a 21 year old guy and a 16 year old girl. But let a 21 year old gay man unknowingly pick up a 17 year gay boy that snuck into a gay club with a fake ID because he can't get a date at high school....

    As a result, the far majority of people put on sex offender lists as opposed to being put in jail are totally harmless people that have had their lives ruined.

    Note I am not on any list, have never been to jail, and have never committed a sexual crime. I do however work for a law firm and have seen what gets prosecuted.

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