Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Privacy Crime Google The Courts

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

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to pages about his conviction after a European court ruled that an individual could force it to remove 'irrelevant and outdated' search results.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This discussion has been archived.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

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

Comments Filter:
  • I beg to differ. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gijoel ( 628142 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @08:05AM (#47016337)
    I don't see how a conviction for possessing child porn is irrelevant or outdated. So I don't like his chances.
    • Re:I beg to differ. (Score:5, Informative)

      by bradley13 ( 1118935 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @08:17AM (#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:5, Interesting)

        by plover ( 150551 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @08:30AM (#47016501) Homepage Journal

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

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

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

        • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @09:03AM (#47016735) Homepage

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

          • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @10:51AM (#47017653) Homepage

            The reality is, if a court can not take down the website providing the information, they have no right to take down a search result pointing to that legal web site, that is a straight up freedom of speech challenge and attempt by courts to purposefully illegal silence people, the intent is criminal as they are not targeting the website providing the actual information as being false or untruthful.

            The only legal and fair challenge with regard web site searches is does it reflect the intent of the end user and providing the sites they are searching for and is not fraudulently misdirecting the user away from the sites they are searching for and ensuring it is what is claims to be.

            To claim that the truth should be forgotten is to absurdly claim ignorance is to be valued over the truth.

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

          by Xest ( 935314 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @09:29AM (#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.

          • Actually, I think there's a simple solution to this for Google. I think this is a terrible decision, but if the only thing Google has to do is comply, well... Next time you do a search on Google, try clicking on the little button that says "Search Tools". That drops down an additional set of options, one of which is to limit your search by date. Mind you this isn't 100% accurate (I'm not sure how they figure out the date, whether it's based on what the page reports, or whether Google is recording when th
          • by yuhong ( 1378501 )

            Yea, read the end of https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/... [eff.org] and weep. And as it happens Google recently fired Vic Gundotra.

      • Why Google? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by DrYak ( 748999 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @08:31AM (#47016505) Homepage

        I still fail to follow the court's logic.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          • Re:Why Google? (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Vapula ( 14703 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @08:48AM (#47016603)

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

          • Exactly. but like your parent poster said, if the information is no longer available elsewhere on the internet, then it will cease to be published in the search results (though they probably maintain a copy for some time). Going after Google only stops one way of getting at the information. It will be somewhat effective, because Google is such a popular search engine, but in the end, you'll be able to find the information on other search engines.
      • I agree. It's almost as if all this privacy is to protect crooks and people with bad intentions. Everybody deserves a level of privacy but I think some information should remain available.

        On the flip side a news article claiming one is a pedophile for which the individual is trialed and found not guilty can be very damaging as the original article is often no linked to the final outcome. Maybe news providers need to maintain the news article and make the outcome obvious.

      • by kbg ( 241421 )

        If Google can handle millions of DMCA requests, then they can handle these request. Of course the bigger questions is why should Google have to handle DMCA or these request at all?

    • by beh ( 4759 ) *

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

      I would think these cases are on par with some stupid court cases, we've seen elsewhere - like McDonalds being forced to not make their coffee quite as hot as it used to, because someone might scald themselves. There are always people that

    • by c ( 8461 )

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

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

      The problem, fundamentally, isn't the crime that he's trying to have erased, but that the standard of "irrelevant or outdated" is so subjective; it's insane to suggest that Google just take the word of some rand

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

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

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

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

          by c ( 8461 ) <beauregardcp@gmail.com> on Friday May 16, 2014 @09:32AM (#47016965)

          Isn't the general principle that once you've done the time, you've paid for your crime?

          That's a lovely general principle. That's why we, as a society, are perfectly okay with hiring convicted pedophiles to teach kids, or having convicted armed robbers manage the cash in our ATMs?

          I'm generally against using a "one-off" crime to punish someone in perpetuity and deny them a decent quality of life, particularly if it was of the "I was young, stupid and desperate" sort of thing. Shit happens. But a criminal history with high recidivism rates or for particularly heinous crimes can arguably have some predictive aspects.

          Why would a pardon be any more relevant of a criteria than the successful completion of a prison sentence?

          Because a pardon is, getting back on topic, a formal analysis of whether a criminal conviction is still relevant and/or outdated.

          In a magical world where completion of a prison sentence implied rehabilitation, then yes, it would be roughly equivalent to a pardon. In the world where we live, successful completion of a prison sentence just means someone hasn't fucked up so badly that they're still in prison.

          Of course, even pardons aren't perfect. Depending on jurisdiction, they may be nothing more than a receipt for a large bribe. But that's still a step up from "got out of prison".

          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

            That's a lovely general principle. That's why we, as a society, are perfectly okay with hiring convicted pedophiles to teach kids, or having convicted armed robbers manage the cash in our ATMs?

            It depends on the crime. Child abuse and armed robbery never expires. Convictions for exceeding the speed limit or petty theft as a child do. After some time, prescribed in law, they are considered "spent" and you no longer have to report them to employers.

            Unfortunately now anyone can just google your name and discover these spent convictions with little effort. I doubt there is an adult alive who hasn't broken some law, but that doesn't mean their lives should be ruined simply for some relatively minor pas

            • by c ( 8461 ) <beauregardcp@gmail.com> on Friday May 16, 2014 @12:01PM (#47018179)

              ... but that doesn't mean their lives should be ruined simply for some relatively minor past mistakes.

              I agree, and that's essentially part of my point, but is this really the fault of the search engines, or is it the "no forgiveness" attitude of employers (and a whole host of others that are in a position to make major decisions that massively affect someone's life) that's the fundamental problem?

              It's not just a criminal background problem, either. People are looking at stuff like Facebook photos of someone partying, or political affiliations, etc, and making decisions about employability.

              This isn't anything really new, it's just easier to dig up dirt on someone, it's possible to do it on a wider scale, and the results tend to be more authoritative. But there's always been the concept of a "permanent record". That's where expressions like "reference checks", "background checks", "not burning your bridges", "skeletons in the closet", etc came from.

              Having Google take down information isn't going to make that information go away; if anything it's creating a business case for a "reputation search engine" to set up shop in a jurisdiction which wouldn't allow this sort of thing.

              It's a huge can of worms.

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

      You know nothing of the situation; Maybe he created images, maybe he just posessed images, maybe they were thumbnails in his webcache from visiting 4chan on a bad day, maybe he was sent them anonymously in an
      • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

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

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

        • by L4t3r4lu5 ( 1216702 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @10:08AM (#47017263)
          News articles stating why he's on the list are certainly not relavent. Information on List 99 is only for the purposes of Enhanced checks with the Disclosure and Barring Service, only performed when you apply for a job where you will be in frequent, unsupervised contact with minors. I have such a check performed because of where I work.

          There's no reason for the lay public to know who's on the list, though, because there are other regulations for public interactions, e.g. restraining orders, other impositions on living / frequenting places within X yards of a school etc. The only, only reason you would have to disagree with the details of someone, who has paid for their crime via the criminal justice system, to not having their details removed is because you believe they haven't suffered enough. Well, tough; The courts decided they've done their time, and now they're free to do as they please. They may be on List 99, they may not; If they are, they will fail to get employment anywhere near children, and that IMHO is enough. If this guy was really such a menace to society, he'd still be segragated from it.

          There. I stuck up for the rights of a deviant. Let the hate commence.
          • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @11:03AM (#47017749)

            Actually, I think lists like these are over-used. Got drunk, took a piss in a dark alleyway and someone saw you? Cite them for public intoxication sure, but that doesn't qualify for sex offender status. An 18-year old is dating a 16 year old and the 16 year old's parents don't like him and report him? Shouldn't be a sex offender. A 15 year old gets caught with naked pictures of herself on her phone and gets charged as an adult with child porn(this one is always my favorite-if they are an adult then it can't be child porn, if it is child porn then they can't be an adult), shouldn't be on a list. Drawings of naked kids? Disgusting, but not really a sexual offense to me (possession of actual photographs or video should be as that involves harm to an actual person when it is created). Serial offenders, those whose actions have been shown to actually harm a living victim, those I have no problem being on a list, and their crimes should remain a matter of public record and be searchable by the public.

            And in a perfect world, if someone is bad enough that they should be on a list and can't be around kids because they might reoffend, should they really be back in society to begin with? It seems they would be better off in a mental institution where they can receive treatment and remain segregated from society until such time as they are fit to reenter.

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

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

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

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

        Indeed -- mod this up.

        The "scarlet letter" approach to crime was only effective centuries ago in small towns where everyone knew each other already and thus would already be likely to know who should be avoided and why.

        Either somebody is dangerous enough to be locked up or supervised, or they are not. Putting them in this strange limbo where they are free, but subject to ridicule or avoidance only if other people bother to use some sort of search engine or database is stupid.

        (Of course, the sad reali

  • Insanity (Score:3, Interesting)

    by everett1911 ( 2663165 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @08:08AM (#47016357)
    What if google just pulls out of the EU completely? Force EU citizens to use either the US or another country's international version of google? Would they still need to apply to those crackpot rules?
    • by beh ( 4759 ) *

      I think you can answer that question yourself:

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

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

      • It would certainly still be serving the US market, but the site would no longer be under US jurisdiction, and getting the site taken down would then become a much more involved task.
    • It would cause a lot of problems in doing business with EU companies, many of whom would wish to purchase advertising services.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 16, 2014 @08:10AM (#47016365)

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

    • You're never truly forgotten though. There will always be a paper trail out there. In regards to the ruling from the original lawsuit, I'm sure it was embarrassing for the man's repossession to continually show up in a search. However, if he was looking for some type of loan, it would have popped up anyway. As a society, we're going to have to come to terms with the fact that privacy, and in many cases anonymity, are disappearing.
    • by DigiShaman ( 671371 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @08:38AM (#47016539) Homepage

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

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

    • All I can say is thank < insert deity of preference here > that Aristotle, Caesar, Gengis Khan and all the other people throughout history never had a "right to be forgotten" or we'd know absolutely nothing about our past. Who's to say what a future historian may or may not find useful, and who are we to rob our descendants of the legacy of our lives? There are historians and archaeologists who'd kill for any kind of day to day minutia of just daily life in various ancient civilizations.
    • by organgtool ( 966989 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @08:53AM (#47016647)

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

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

      • It used to be that you could be forgotten by moving somewhere else and starting a new life there. That is not generally possible now, thanks to the Internet and no limitations on access to public records. There is a huge difference between having to go to the local courthouse of a place to see what someone has been convicted of and being able to find the same information by banging it out on Google in your bedroom in 30 seconds.
        • by organgtool ( 966989 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @09:19AM (#47016877)
          That seems like a valid point, but I'd like to point out one important distinction: it is not a right to be forgotten, but a privilege. In your example, a suspicious member of your new town could place a phone call to a friend in your old town, have them look up the public records, and provide that information to the people of your new town, which is very similar to what Google currently does. Since that behavior is completely legal, then your "right" to be forgotten is more of a privilege that is currently being degraded by technology. But forcing someone to censor their speech, which most people consider to be an inalienable right, so that some other people may enjoy a privilege just doesn't seem fair.
    • We do have a right to be forgotten online, imho.

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

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

  • Disaster! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bradley13 ( 1118935 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @08:12AM (#47016375) Homepage

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

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

    • It's already having an effect: in the UK their privacy commission just got credit reporting company misbehavior dumped back on their plate: turns out they're the legal equivalent of search engines. Now add any other "information intermediary" like Lexis Nexis, which publishes law reports...
  • by jbeaupre ( 752124 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @08:14AM (#47016383)

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

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

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

  • by Jesrad ( 716567 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @08:17AM (#47016413) Journal

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

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

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

    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

      Is there anything stopping Google from doing this?

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

  • by schwit1 ( 797399 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @08:18AM (#47016417)

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

    Streisand them.

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

      What do you think your suggestion would achieve? What point are you trying to make?
  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @08:20AM (#47016439)

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

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

    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

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

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

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

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

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

  • Ross Anderson (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jbmartin6 ( 1232050 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @08:26AM (#47016471)
    Ross Anderson posted an interesting thought about this decision and credit agencies [lightbluetouchpaper.org]:

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

    • For one, legal publishers.

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

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

      In non-EU countries, it if was a case about a minor, the page would have the names remov

  • by Seeteufel ( 1736784 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @08:26AM (#47016475) Homepage

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

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

    • by Shados ( 741919 )

      It does have ramifications though.

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

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

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

    People need to get used to the fact that nothing we do will be forgotten, that we no longer have privacy, and that the best

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

    If some piece of information is almost entirely held(at least for public purposes, the court probably isn't worried about the guy's neighbors' memory of the incident) by a single entity then the notion of compelling that entity to purge the data after some period of time is perfectly cogent. Just generic data-retenti
  • by hymie! ( 95907 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @08:53AM (#47016645)

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

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

  • by ljw1004 ( 764174 )

    Why does it say that google hasn't commented?

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

  • Streisand effect?

    If this law is only applicable to Google, aren't the links still accessible from the hosting server and search results from other sites like Yahoo, Bing, or Tor?
  • You can't erase reality. Try as you might, history does exist even if it's been tampered with it leaves evidence thereof for any who look.

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

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

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

    • We're not talking about removing the article, we're talking about removing that article from the automatically created article index.
  • by sehryan ( 412731 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @09:35AM (#47017007)

    Since I heard about this ruling, I feel like this is completely backward. Google has to remove links TO the material, but the material itself does not need to be taken down. Google is just the pass thru - get the original material taken down from the site it is on, and the links that show up in a Google search disappear as well.

    In the end, this isn't allowing people to have their info be "forgotten," just obscured.

  • 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 aaaaaaargh! ( 1150173 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @10:21AM (#47017369)

    Why on earth should the search engine be responsible? Why shouldn't the site hosting the content be responsible for removing the content?

    This does not make sense, and similar rulings about alleged copyright infringement don't make sense either. Link != content.

    Fuck these judges.

  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @10:23AM (#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.

  • by RichMan ( 8097 ) on Friday May 16, 2014 @10:54AM (#47017679)

    We need a meta-web awarness.

    While any blog can comment on any other page it is very haphazard.

    You should be able to browse the meta-web by turning on a browser function that gives a side page of links that link back to the current page being viewed. The link backs would be ranked by "authority"

    a) if you are the originating site you automatically get meta-web rights to your own pages. IE you can say @link is incorrect or add a correction to the original story without having to edit or take down the original story.
    b) comments on a site need to be differentiated from articles on a site. So comments don't get ranked over actual article content. This would be embedded code identifying comments and downranking them relative to articles.
    c) this would enable a registered "corrections site" to get top ranked meta-web comments to any web page

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"