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Google Reinstating Some 'Forgotten' Links 74

An anonymous reader writes Only days after receiving harsh criticism from all corners of the internet for taking down links to news articles, Google has started to reinstate those links. Google's Peter Barron denied that they were simply granting all "right to be forgotten" requests. "The European Court of Justice [ECJ] ruling was not something that we welcomed, that we wanted — but it is now the law in Europe and we are obliged to comply with that law," he said. Still, Google's actions are being called "tactical" for how quickly they were able to stir public dissent over the EU ruling. "It's convenient, then, that it's found a way to get the media to kick up the fuss for it: there are very few news organisations in the world who are happy to hear their output is being stifled. A few automated messages later, the story is back in the headlines – and Google is likely to be happy about that."
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Google Reinstating Some 'Forgotten' Links

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  • by brix ( 27642 ) on Friday July 04, 2014 @04:53PM (#47385361)

    Aren't many of the news organizations in the EU the same ones that wanted to charge Google a licensee to link to their articles in the first place?

    They're upset when Google links to their articles; they're upset when they don't ...

  • by Mike Buddha ( 10734 ) on Friday July 04, 2014 @06:12PM (#47385691)

    There are plenty of laws in existence to deal with libelous or legally damaging stories on the internet. Why does this law need to exist outside of those existing methods? Well, that would be to force Google to do the job of the courts in the EU, of course.

    Personally, I wouldn't have a problem if all these instances were adjudicated by a court first, and Google was handed a list of "when a user searches for this, this specific link should be omitted" rather than the cop out "Google has to look at each request and decide what fits" BS.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 04, 2014 @06:45PM (#47385801)

    The American concept of Free Speech is a recent invention, stemming from a long series of Supreme Court decisions beginning in the 1920s. In the 18th and 19th centuries American governments regularly passed laws restricting speech in the name of security and keeping the peace.

    For example, when the Alien & Sedition Acts were passed, while Democrats like Thomas Jefferson were vehemently opposed, nobody would have thought to argue it unconstitutional on Free Speech grounds. They used every argument in the book _except_ Free Speech, because everybody intuitively believed that government had the powers to restrict Free Speech that way (the First Amendment was understood to prevent capricious and arbitrary restrictions on Free Speech unrelated to a general public interest). But today that's instinctively how any American, whether a lawyer or not, would frame the argument--as a Free Speech issue.

    The modern concept of Privacy is also relatively recent, taking root in the mid-20th century. But in America the Free Speech train had already left the station and was already in tension with new theories on Privacy--beyond the very old, very circumscribed Common Law "privacy" rights we enjoyed. Whereas in Europe concepts of Privacy evolved unrestricted by an exceptionally strict view about individual Free Speech.

    As an American, I believe in strong Free Speech rights. At this point its a fundamental part of our world view, even though most Americans erroneously believe it was always that way. And unlike in Europe, our society has already adapted to our radical form of transparency. OTOH, our strain of legal theory regarding Free Speech is being appropriated to restrict other rights and privileges. For example, to restrict commercial regulation of corporations. In other words, Free Speech is being leveraged to enable certain economic theories. And even though I'm quite a liberal capitalist, I don't appreciate that development; for one thing, it might lead to a backlash later on against individual Free Speech rights.

  • by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Friday July 04, 2014 @09:12PM (#47386319) Journal

    It's probably because the US was founded by businessmen

    You do realise that the Magna Carta was forced upon the crown by wealthy mearchants, right?

    Yes, Europe puts more restrictions on the fourth estate, they did after all have some serious propaganda problems with Germany in the 1930's leading to everyone pulling out their guns in the 1940's. The right to free speech is enshrined in the UN declaration of HR which almost all nations are party to but none actually implement in full.

    European restrictions are traditionally enforced by libel and deformation actions in court. Outsourcing the decisions to google is being sold to people as a "right", in the same way that "keeping the peace" has already been sold to American's as the right to bear arms. Few people actual buy a gun to kill a specific person but most American's think that maybe one day I will need it. Well, it's the same behaviour here with Europeans, they figure that maybe, one day, they will do something that they want the internet to forget. Call it a "right" and suddenly they will defend it to their last breath.

    Ironic how this issue leads to a discussion about just how powerful language can be in persuading humans to vote against their own self-interest, no? We are all susceptible to this behaviour to some degree, and if your arrogant enough to believe it can't happen to you, you're probably already serving in an army of "useful idiots".

Overload -- core meltdown sequence initiated.