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The US Vs. Europe: Freedom of Expression Vs. Privacy 278

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the dang-freedom-hating-europeans dept.
First time accepted submitter GoddersUK (1262110) writes "Rory Cellan-Jones writes about the recent European Court judgement on the right to be forgotten in terms of US/EU cultural differences (and perhaps a bit of bitterness on the EU side at U.S. influence online): 'He tells me... ..."In the past if you were in Germany you were never worried that some encyclopedia website based in the United States was going to name you as a murderer after you got out of jail because that was inconceivable. Today that can happen, so the cultural gap that was always there about the regulation of speech is becoming more visible."... Europeans who have been told that the Internet is basically ungovernable — and if it does have guiding principles then they come from the land of the free — are expressing some satisfaction that court has refused to believe that.' And, certainly, it seems, here in the UK, that even MEPs keen on the principle don't really know how this ruling will work in practice or what the wider consequences will be. Video here."
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The US Vs. Europe: Freedom of Expression Vs. Privacy

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  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday May 19, 2014 @08:42PM (#47042793) Journal

    But they don't get to govern what other people in other countries say. The very idea is pretty obvious, unworkable, globalist-statist nonsense.

    Who says this governs what other people in other countries say?

    The original court decision was twofold
    1. You have no right to be forgotten by the Newspaper that published the story
    2. You have a right to be forgotten by search engines.

    This only applies in the EU and only applies to companies incorporated in the EU.
    Google is welcome to shut down its various European subsidiaries (including the ones in Ireland and the Netherlands that they use to shelter income).
    There's a precedent for this, if you can recall when Google China was shut down and redirected to Google's Hong Kong page.

  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday May 19, 2014 @09:52PM (#47043121) Journal

    First, why should search engines not enjoy the same free speech rights as newspapers?

    You're asking the wrong question.
    If we can agree that internet search engines are not newspapers,
    then the burden falls upon search engines to explain why they should receive the special status granted to newspapers.

    Second, what defines an Internet service as a "search engine" or a "newspaper"? Suppose I run on online newspaper that has a search function, allowing users to search past articles about any topic? Am I now a search engine?

    You are not an internet search engine.
    The court distinguishes between (1) a newspaper with a searchable index and (2) a website that indexes other websites on the internet.

    Suppose my newspaper becomes so popular it becomes the de facto place where people go to search for news stories? Do different rules apply then?

    Still not an internet search engine.

    Or does this ruling simply apply to sites that link to content on other sites rather than it's own original content?

    The decision is dense, but readable [europa.eu].
    If you want the highlights, just skip to the conclusion

    TLDR: this ruling simply applies to sites that link to content on other sites rather than it's own original content
    Still TLDR: With all kinds of legal parsing to determine who is processing the data and whether they are under European jurisdiction.

    Now, do online newspapers lose the ability to link to other source material in their articles?

    No, they don't. Because they are not internet search engines.

    The line between newspapers and search engines may become fuzzy, if it isn't already. Do you see the problem?

    The line is not fuzzy and I do not see "the problem."
    The only problem I see is that this is horribly inconvenient for Google and every other search engine.
    But, according to the court, the inconvenience to Google's business model does not outweigh citizens rights under the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

    As the data subject may, in the light of his fundamental rights under Articles 7 and 8 of the Charter, request that the information in question no longer be made available to the general public on account of its inclusion in such a list of results, those rights override, as a rule, not only the economic interest of the operator of the search engine but also the interest of the general public in having access to that information upon a search relating to the data subject's name.

    However, that would not be the case if it appeared, for particular reasons, such as the role played by the data subject in public life, that the interference with his fundamental rights is justified by the preponderant interest of the general public in having, on account of its inclusion in the list of results, access to the information in question.

    Don't try to make this more complicated than it is.

  • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Monday May 19, 2014 @10:23PM (#47043249)

    There were a few "Megacorps", even then. Like the East India company.

    People that complain that corporations are worse than ever are very ignorant of history. For centuries, the East India Company had their own army, waged war in their own name, and occasionally executed people that failed to pay their bills. No modern corporation even comes close.

  • by Savage-Rabbit (308260) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @04:45AM (#47044525)

    There were a few "Megacorps", even then. Like the East India company.

    People that complain that corporations are worse than ever are very ignorant of history. For centuries, the East India Company had their own army, waged war in their own name, and occasionally executed people that failed to pay their bills. No modern corporation even comes close.

    Today corporations either get their governments to wage their wars for them like the Americans did in Iraq or more commonly, they hire mercenary companies to fight wars. And I'm not talking about 'company' in the military sense, there are many commercial companies in the UK and now in the USA who offer this as a service. There is a myriad of modern examples of this such companies at work, especially from Africa.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @07:00AM (#47044903)

    Like most of Europe and the UK, US courts and laws were based on Christian Law and Philosophy

    Actually, most of Europe is based on Roman law. It could be argued that "Roman law" is basically the codifications that were made by Justinian I (who was a christian) in the 6th century AD, but those were based on prior law that actually predates christianity.

    Poor source, but interesting reading if you're into history: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_history#European_laws

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