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EU Google The Media

Following EU Ruling, BBC Article Excluded From Google Searches 239

Posted by Soulskill
from the system-and-method-to-break-the-internet dept.
Albanach writes: In 2007, the BBC's economics editor, Robert Peston, penned an article on the massive losses at Merrill Lynch and the resulting resignation of their CEO Stan O'Neal. Today, the BBC has been notified that the 2007 article will no longer appear in some Google searches made within the European Union, apparently as a result of someone exercising their new-found "right to be forgotten." O'Neal was the only individual named in the 2007 article. While O'Neal has left Merrill Lynch, he has not left the world of business, and now holds a directorship at Alcoa, the world's third largest aluminum producer with $23 billion in revenues in 2013.
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Following EU Ruling, BBC Article Excluded From Google Searches

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  • Before you laugh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @02:56PM (#47370965)

    Before you laugh about these high profile cases of people trying to be "forgotten," remember that after a while, these removals will become so commonplace that people will stop paying attention, and the system will work as intended.

  • Streisand effect? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @02:57PM (#47370975)

    What about this slashdot entry? Will it also not appear in google search results?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @02:57PM (#47370981)

    ...controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.

  • Whoops (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @02:59PM (#47370999)

    Didn't take long to find the giant flaw in with the "right to be forgotten," did it? One percenters will now use it to selectively edit their Internet profile.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @03:04PM (#47371045)

    On one hand you have a guy who got in a bar fight when he was in college. Some drunk idiot spills beer on his girlfriend, so he confronts drunk idiot and beats him down, then gets charged with assault. On the other hand, you have this piece of shit (Stan O'Neil).

    Which is worse? The college kid having an assault charge hanging over his head the rest of his life, or guys like Stan O'Neil being given a free-pass when they rape millions of people for billions of their hard-earned dollars.

    Perhaps the answer is to have a 15-year (or 20-year) waiting period before you can exercise your right to be forgotten? Maybe the answer is just not to commit a crime in the first place.

  • Re:Blaming Google (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EasyTarget (43516) on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @03:07PM (#47371085) Journal

    I don't know why the journalist is blaming Google for this ("So why has Google killed this example of my journalism?") when it's obvious they're not doing this voluntarily.

    Because the people in charge are terrified of Google, the Internet, and their citizens use of it. So the BBC, kowtowing as usual to power, but still with enough journalistic testicles to make some form of protest, blames Google.. in the hope they can get away with it. Rather than pinning the blame on the corrupt shitpile of lawyers and wonks who forced Google to do this in a desperate attempt to make money the deciding factor in information control and suppression.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @03:07PM (#47371089)

    Let's just get this out of the way now: If Hitler were alive today he'd be able to have Google remove all links to anything relating to himself as the Nazi leader.

    Another question to be asked: If a journalistic article can be taken down, could a page with commenters referencing Hitler (as in this /. article due to this very post) be removed from Google's search?

  • by EasyTarget (43516) on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @03:11PM (#47371115) Journal

    1984; the instruction manual for our lords and masters.

    Google should create a special app/site for takedown requests, and call it 'Winston'.

  • Re: Whoops (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @03:12PM (#47371127)

    Well, sort of. Google's search is for the masses. Financial sector companies subscribe to other, paywalled sources of information, like Lexis and Bloomberg. They'll still carry the uncensored truth, which is a great selling point.

  • Blame Google. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Half-pint HAL (718102) on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @03:13PM (#47371139)
    I suspect Google's playing at what is called "malicious compliance". They don't like the law, because they don't like spending money, just making it. So what they really want is to wind up the news outlets to turn them against the law, because only the press has the power to form public opinion. So I'm very glad to see the BBC pushing back rather than swallowing the bait.
  • Re:Blaming Google (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Albanach (527650) on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @03:14PM (#47371147) Homepage

    He doesn't really blame Google. From the article:

    To be fair to Google, it opposed the European court ruling.

    He does question why there's no apparent right to appeal. It would certainly seem reasonable to allow the person responsible for an article to highlight why it is still relevant or not outdated since often they will have better knowledge of the subject area than a paralegal.

  • Re:Blame Google. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ralph Wiggam (22354) on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @03:23PM (#47371227) Homepage

    They don't like the law, because they don't like spending money, just making it.

    As opposed to all of those other companies that love spending money and hate making it?

  • Re:Blame Google. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stormy Dragon (800799) on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @03:47PM (#47371463) Homepage

    So how much money is Google expected to spend reviewing whether seven year old news stories are covered by the ruling? Particularly when they're liable for court costs and damages if the EU court later decides that it is covered by the ruling?

  • by Stormy Dragon (800799) on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @03:50PM (#47371479) Homepage

    We can call it the Ministry of Truth

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @03:57PM (#47371537)

    How about changing our culture so that public crucifixion based on someone's past mistakes is not acceptable?

  • Re:Blame Google. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by duranaki (776224) on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @04:00PM (#47371561)
    I totally agree with the malicious compliance, only I'm glad to see Google doing it. This is a stupid law that seems vaguely like DMCA for removing true information that violates no one's copyright. The EU was nice enough to let Google (pay an army of paralegals to) make a first pass at figuring out which things violated their general terms, so I'm glad Google's using that freedom to point out ludicrous examples before people have forgotten all about this new censorship.
  • Re:Blame Google. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @04:16PM (#47371691)

    Of course they don't like the law, it's a horrible law. And why shouldn't they wind up the news outlets against this, it isn't as if this law doesn't affect the outlets as well. This is merely dragging them into the playing field, where they should have belonged in the first place.

  • Re:Blame Google. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ultranova (717540) on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @04:38PM (#47371869)

    The judge instructed us very clearly that truth is not an absolute defense; that is, even if every single thing in the article was provably true, it would still count as libel if it was (for example) just rehashing old information to defame the financier as he tried to start up a new operation.

    Does this mean that credit rating agencies are libeling you if they give you anything but the highest rating? Because isn't "rehashing old information to defame the financier as he tried to start up a new operation" exactly what they're doing then?

    Or does these laws only protect the first-class citizens?

  • Re:Blame Google. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by khallow (566160) on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @09:39PM (#47373465)

    They could also work within the law as interpreted by the courts to work out efficient procedures that everybody can live with, which is a better idea, long term.

    No, I think the malicious compliance approach is more effective long term. I think when European politicians get their press and websites dropped, then we'll start seeing some fixing of this terrible law. While efficient procedures for compliance leads to no incentives for improving or eliminating the law in question.

The meta-Turing test counts a thing as intelligent if it seeks to devise and apply Turing tests to objects of its own creation. -- Lew Mammel, Jr.

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