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EU Court Backs 'Right To Be Forgotten' 153

NapalmV sends this news from the BBC: "The European Union Court of Justice said links to 'irrelevant' and outdated data should be erased on request. The case was brought by a Spanish man who complained that an auction notice of his repossessed home on Google's search results infringed his privacy. Google said the ruling was 'disappointing.'" The EU Justice Commissioner said, "Companies can no longer hide behind their servers being based in California or anywhere else in the world. ... The data belongs to the individual, not to the company. And unless there is a good reason to retain this data, an individual should be empowered — by law — to request erasure of this data." According to the ruling (PDF), if a search provider declines to remove the data, the user can escalate the situation to a judicial authority to make sure the user's rights are being respected.
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EU Court Backs 'Right To Be Forgotten'

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  • Unworkable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by icebike ( 68054 ) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @07:26PM (#46994635)

    Almost Nobody has a unique name.
    I could be running for office, running a business, or selling my artwork, and have someone with the same name demand all link be removed when his name is keyed into the search engine.

    How is Google to know which individual is being searched?

  • Google.eu Homepage (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PaddyM ( 45763 ) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @07:33PM (#46994685) Homepage

    Dear Europe,
          You have been forgotten by Google.

    Seriously, that's what I would do. How long would this law stay around? I mean I understand there are people who wish annoyingly stupid things in the past weren't tied to their names, but the legalization of the right to forget is a slippery slope (i.e. Stalin photoshopped Trotsky out of his photos) with plenty of examples of why revisionism is a bad idea. I sympathize with the originator of the idea, but if we are led to believe that most people are honest and decent, then a simple explanation is all that would be in order to understand his plight. To those ignorant who would see something on Google and blindly discriminate against individuals forever, I think it says more about society's inability to have mercy, then the need to enforce an unenforceable right to be forgotten. What next? When we determine how to erase memories, everyone will have to sit in the chair to forget about stuff like this?

  • Re:Unworkable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rahvin112 ( 446269 ) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @07:39PM (#46994733)

    Your point is valid but I've got one better. The only people that will use this will do so for what I consider nefarious purposes. Criminals, politicians you name it, if it makes the public aware of exactly what they've done they will demand to be erased.

    Once the tool is created it will be available for government to use and suddenly we have the memory hole and Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.

    I like the idea of being able to make someone like facebook delete all your personal information but that's not how this tool is going to be used. It's going to be used by a politician to force Google to delete links to all stories about an affair they had. It will be used to censor the news not to maintain privacy as claimed. Frankly it's a politicians wet dream.

  • Re:Unworkable (Score:4, Insightful)

    by houghi ( 78078 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @02:05AM (#46996745)

    So now I am a criminal or worse, a politician? Because I would like to be forgotten. The way you say it, it sounds like "If you did nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide." We already know that is a bullshit reason for politicians to abuse as well.

    Sure, some wil use it for evil. That does not mean it IS evil.

  • Re:Unworkable (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <mojo@world3.nBLUEet minus berry> on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @08:00AM (#46997873) Homepage Journal

    So if someone breaks the law at age 16, pays their dues and has their criminal record wiped at 18 (legally the conviction is considered "spent") we shouldn't allow them to get on with their lives, become productive and law abiding members of society and contribute? Instead they should be shamed publicly online forever, just in case anyone was about to make the mistake of giving them a job or a car loan.

    If someone lost their job, became ill and went bankrupt should that be held against them forever? Credit reference agencies are only allowed to keep it on file for five or six years.

    All EU legal systems allow for things to be forgotten. Sure, they can't erase newspaper articles written years ago, but they can prevent companies that specialise in providing information about people from keeping that data indefinitely.

"We don't care. We don't have to. We're the Phone Company."