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On Forgetting the Facts: Questions From the EU For Google, Other Search Engines 186

Posted by timothy
from the here's-a-description-of-the-thing-you-want-undescribed dept.
The Wall Street Journal lists 26 questions that Google and other search providers have been asked (in a meeting in Brussels earlier this week) to answer for EU regulators, to pin down what the search engine companies have done to comply with European demands to implement a "right to be forgotten." Some questions were asked directly of representatives of Microsoft, Yahoo and Google, while the regulators want answers to the others in short order. From the article: Regulators touched on some hot-button issues in six oral questions and another 26 written ones, with answers due by next Thursday. They asked Google to describe the “legal basis” of its decision to notify publishers when it approves right-to-be-forgotten requests, something that has led to requesters’ being publicly identified in some cases. They also asked search engines to explain where they take down the results, after complaints from some regulators that Google does not filter results on google.com. That means that anyone in Europe can switch from, say, google.co.uk to Google.com to see any removed links. Among the questions: "2. Do you filter out some requests based on the location, nationality, or place of residence of the data subject? If so, what is the legal basis for excluding such requests?" and "16. Does your company refuse requests when the data subject was the author of the information he/she posted himself/herself on the web? If so, what is the basis for refusing such requests?"
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On Forgetting the Facts: Questions From the EU For Google, Other Search Engines

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  • Slippery Slope (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CaptQuark (2706165) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @01:59AM (#47541513)
    This is a very slippery slope. Trying to balance the rights of individuals to remove incorrect information about themselves and trying to remove unflattering information about themselves. Having a process to verify the individual, the reasons for wanting the information removed, and is the public interest best served by removing the information.

    I'm sure there are many public figures that would love a chance to remove some of the news items about themselves.

    ~~
    • The European courts have set a precedent on the basis that the number of cases would be small, and that living people would thus be available to conduct detailed research on each one.

      Naturally Google have been hit with something like 250,000 requests because of course people are trying to have every bit of material about them removed. And by people of course, it's a surprising number of lawyers, CEOs and companies.

    • Re:Slippery Slope (Score:5, Informative)

      by Dutch Gun (899105) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @02:33AM (#47541571)

      Know what else is a slippery slope? This [pcmag.com].

      According to Reuters, one topic of conversation will be the fact that results are only censored on European versions of Google, like Google.co.uk. So EU Web users can simply go to Google.com for full results, which some argue defeats the purpose of the ruling.

      So, Europe would like to be able to affect what everyone sees, not just what Europe sees. I understand the need for privacy, but how certain are we that this won't devolve into plain old censorship? Are there some case histories that have been problematic that we should be aware of? The EU seems to have Google in their sights, but I'm not sure what Google did to get them quite so riled up. I remember Google's accidental collection of wifi info (the more cynical may put "accidental" in quotes, but it looked rather inadvertent to me. Besides which, the data was in the clear to begin with). Then there's the anti-trust issue, if I recall correctly, which I never quite understood either.

      Have there been other incidents? Why the hell do they hate Google so much? I'm not exactly a Google fanboy myself, but it's probably good for Microsoft and Apple to have some serious competition.

      • Re:Slippery Slope (Score:4, Informative)

        by John.Banister (1291556) * on Sunday July 27, 2014 @03:39AM (#47541691) Homepage
        If Google is censoring their results, they could do so no just on the basis of which version of Google receives the request, but on the basis of the requesting IP address. That would be a showing of making the attempt to comply, and Google could argue that people who make the effort to use a VPN are like people who get on a train and leave the EU. It's up to the EU to treat with the countries at the other end of the train ride if they want their same law to apply in those places as well.

        Meanwhile, someone who isn't Google and doesn't have offices in the EU will surely make up a page of links to this information. If the page generates traffic, someone will pay for add space there.
        • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @08:44AM (#47542337)

          Meanwhile, someone who isn't Google and doesn't have offices in the EU will surely make up a page of links to this information. If the page generates traffic, someone will pay for add space there.

          And then the next logical step is for the EU to impose some sort of sanctions on the infrastructure and payment services involved if any of them have any connection to the EU -- just as the US government has done with things like DNS and payment services that are conveniently within its jurisdiction.

          I'm not sure I like where this is all going. I'm sure we can all agree that overall the Internet has been a great advance for humanity, and in recent years governments from all over the world have presumed to carve it up and control it in their own interests, almost invariably to the detriment of people somewhere else (or, in some cases, their own people).

          However, we are going to have to confront some difficult philosophical and ethical differences sooner or later, because clearly we also can't have a situation where the Internet is somehow above the law, but we don't always agree on what that law should be. Frankly, the US government have been throwing their own weight around for years, and Google have been doing things that push the boundaries of typical European legal and ethical standards for a long time too. Neither has shown any particular concern or remorse about the effects of their actions abroad, and neither has suffered any significant negative consequences so far, with the possible exception of the Snowden fallout. Sooner or later the rest of the world was going to push back.

          In as much as this marks a change in the general acceptance that the US can export its laws and ethics but won't be subject to anyone else's, that is probably a good direction to move in. It will force the issues of Internet governance and extra-territorial law enforcement into the open, where at least we can scrutinise and debate them honestly, instead of everyone's government doing sneaky things often without much public scrutiny and often because of coincidences involving which infrastructure happened to fall somewhere they could get at it.

          • I've seen some US laws have the same problems with the internet. There was that whole business about not being able to export public key cryptography where everyone just downloaded it from a non US server. There were (are?) a bunch of US pornography laws (no depicting a woman having sex while she's tied up, not depicting household objects used as a dildo, etc) that don't matter anymore because no one outside the US will enforce them. However there's been no problem getting every country to support enforc
        • Re:Slippery Slope (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Marc_Hawke (130338) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @10:19AM (#47542783)

          ""Meanwhile, someone who isn't Google and doesn't have offices in the EU will surely make up a page of links to this information. If the page generates traffic, someone will pay for add space there.""

          This is my biggest question about this whole thing. Why is it Google's job? If they want to be 'forgotten' or 'taken off the internet' then they have to be taken off the internet, not the search engines. The most Google would be affected is by making sure they don't show up as 'cached' results. However, if the original article still exists, that's hardly Google's fault.

          It the EU wants to make an unenforceable decision about a stupid request, I think they should at least be forced to deal with the consequences, and not just harangue search engines (i.e easy targets.)

        • by tlambert (566799)

          If Google is censoring their results, they could do so no just on the basis of which version of Google receives the request, but on the basis of the requesting IP address.

          Google blocks it by domain. Domain is specific to country by registrar. If someone in the UK goes to google.com instead of google.co.uk, it's up to the UK to dick with their ISP and DNS results to force redirect them into the UK legal sandbox where the content is controlled.

          You know, just like China.

          Legally forcing a commercial entity to act as part of your own implementation of "The Great Firewall of China" is not the same thing as not being censorious dicks yourself. An unfunded mandate to force someon

          • Domain is specific to country by registrar.

            So, since I'm reading Slashdot in USA, I shouldn't have to worry about links to goat.cx ?

      • by jonbryce (703250)

        The adverts I see on google.com are exactly the same as the adverts I see on google.co.uk. They tend to be for British companies or companies that sell to people in the UK.

      • by Tom (822)

        So, Europe would like to be able to affect what everyone sees,

        You are jumping to conclusion there.

        Europe would like its laws to be honoured by corporations doing business in the EU. If Google was ordered to remove X, but it is still present if I simply go to google.com instead of google.co.uk, then Google has not complied with the removal order.

        It is absolutely technically possible to filter based on source IP address country. They can do it for advertisement, so there's absolutely no excuse for not doing it for legal compliance.

        • by tlambert (566799)

          It is absolutely technically possible to filter based on source IP address country.

          Not unless you disallow VPNs at the border, it isn't.

      • Microsoft and Yahoo are affected too, they were at the meeting. It's not an attack on Google, it's an attack on the freedom of the truth.
    • But no information is being removed, just the search results to that information are removed.

      • Re:Slippery Slope (Score:5, Insightful)

        by thegarbz (1787294) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @03:36AM (#47541685)

        But no information is being removed, just the search results to that information are removed.

        In an information database as vast as the internet, what is the difference? There's enough people who will happily believe that if it doesn't exist on Google then it doesn't exist.

      • And your right to free speech is not infringed on, just your ability to reach people so they would listen is removed.

      • by kwbauer (1677400)

        That argument is about as stupid as "if a tree falls and nobody is around." If the information is not indexed it won't be found.

    • by mwvdlee (775178)

      I have yet to hear of a single case where a removal request revolved around incorrect information.

      Mostly it's people who see their careers threatened by their own past illegal or immoral actions being known.

      • by jonbryce (703250)

        You are entitled to get incorrect information removed. That is not new and not controversial, that is why it isn't considered newsworthy.

        • by mwvdlee (775178)

          May well be, but nobody is using it to get incorrect information removed.
          I've only heard of it being used to get correct but unflattering information removed.

    • by rolfwind (528248) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @03:44AM (#47541713)

      This isn't a slippery slope, this is simply a cliff. There is no right to be forgotten, because it would mean I don't have a right to remember and thus share that memory.

      Think about it, if I printed a memoir in the 1960s, and have, perhaps negative, anecdotes of various people, would that book have had to be recalled from the shelves a few years later just because the right to forget kicked in? Oh right, internet. Changes everything.

      The human species is going to have to grow up a little. First as an audience and consumer of the net, and realize that just because it's on the internet (or even wikipedia) doesn't mean it's true. It also has to realize what people said in the past doesn't always pose a true reflection of their current selves - that people change and evolve. Especially from a younger age like 13.

      Second, it will have to grow up as individuals and realize, when you put it out there, you put it out there. And no nanny state can fix it.

      They can only provide the illusion of fixing it. Because search engines outside the EU are going to ignore this. And savvy people inside the EU will be able to access those with ease, while the heavy handed censorship will only provide the drones with comfort they are taken care of.

      Guess what a person's right to be forgotten would turn into in the US? Corporations, who are people, would jump in it.

      Why is this being pushed so hard now anyway? Well, Germany got it's hand caught in the cookie jar along with the NSA. It's BundesNachrichtenDienst (BND) works alongside with and is just as if not more invasive than the NSA.

      Of course, Merkel gets to put on her show and dance about being outraged her phone is tapped, but she says nothing about how complicit she is in tapping everyone elses phones in her country.

      And don't think the EU countries are any more innocent in this.

      So instead of really protecting the right to privacy, by people who want privacy in the here and now, by pushing bulletproof encryption standards without backdoors and other actual net positives for their citizens, they just put up this debate of this none-issue that feels really good but does nothing except what government is typically good at - banning certain behaviors from private entities and censoring hot potatoes from public eyes. Ony it's third speciality, making a tax for this, is missing and probably coming. Perhaps an ISP tax that will "help monitor and enforce your privacy online", which is code for another 1000 workers at the BND trading people's naked selfies.

      So putting this as some slippery slope is unhelpful. It implies that this is an actual issue that needs to be hammered out. No. It's just bullshit sand-in-the-face for those who don't see what's really going on.

      • by Tom (822)

        Second, it will have to grow up as individuals and realize, when you put it out there, you put it out there. And no nanny state can fix it.

        It is mostly not about stuff people put out there themselves. There are people out there who can't get a job because they were wrongfully accused of molesting a child 10 years ago, and the searches turn up the accusations, but not the acquittal (mostly because press rarely writes about it).

        Of course, Merkel gets to put on her show and dance about being outraged her phone is tapped, but she says nothing about how complicit she is in tapping everyone elses phones in her country.

        While you are right on this, I doubt it has much to do with this law. This law has been in the works since 1995 and was passed in 2012 if I recall correctly (many EU laws go into effect delayed, or require national laws t

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        There is no right to be forgotten, because it would mean I don't have a right to remember and thus share that memory.

        That's not what the right to be forgotten is. It would more accurately be described as the "right to be forgotten by commercial entities".

        In the EU we have data protection laws that affect anyone collecting personal data for business use. For example a company with a client database must take steps to ensure that it is protected and people's personal data is not leaked, and that it isn't sold for profit without consent. There are rules concerning things like credit reference agencies keeping data on things

        • by SQL Error (16383)

          It doesn't matter if the information is a matter of public record.

          Yeah, it kind of does. Striking something from the public record is state-sponsored censorship, and that not only leads to evil, it's an evil in and of itself.

        • It would more accurately be described as the "right to be forgotten by commercial entities". [...] You are not required to forgot or remove information from your personal web site.

          But where does a "personal web site" end and "by commercial entities" begin? At the use of modest ads to pay for the cost of hosting?

        • by kwbauer (1677400)

          And google does not hold the information, they index the information and point you to the site holding the information.

          "Note that your personal right to remember is completely unaffected. You are not required to forgot or remove information from your personal web site." Which is very much affected when nobody can see that information because it cannot be indexed.

          I've read comments suggesting that newspapers are exempt from this law. Every newspaper I've ever heard of is a commercial enterprise. Why are they

      • All great ethical questions have the quality of slippery slopes, and this is, IMHO, one of the most fundamentally important questions of the 21st century. About as important as the legal concept of personal property - can you own it, can others steal it or damage it, can you sell it, can people inherit it, etc.

        The fact is that information is, today, more valuable than money. Indeed, look around you, companies are perfectly willing to take people's information in lieu of money. They know that they can alwa

        • by thaylin (555395)
          The problem is that this is not just humans versus corporations/machine, this is human rights vs human rights. Free Speech Vs the Right to be Forgotten, why does the latter, which is no where codified, larger then the first which has been for centuries?

          It's not as simple as you think. You haven't thought of the other side of the coin. When others put it out there (about you), it's out there too. And Laws must fix it. This is nothing new. Do you think the Jews put out stories in the world that they themselves are evil, are thieves, have crooked noses, and live like rats in filthy houses, shitting in their own kitchens while they eat? They did not, the Nazis did. And because the Nazis put it out there, it became true. As true as necessary to make ordinary people believe it, and do their bidding.

          You should do things considering that it may get put out there. Why should I not be able to know that someone I may be hiring makes bad decisions just because they dont want me to know they did something stupid? Your latter argument is poor, as there are alre

          • The problem is that this is not just humans versus corporations/machine, this is human rights vs human rights. Free Speech Vs the Right to be Forgotten, why does the latter, which is no where codified, larger then the first which has been for centuries?

            It isn't "larger." We've always accepted there must be some limits on free speech. In the U.S., you can't incite people to riot lawlessly, for example. In much of the EU, there are stronger restrictions, like not being able to publicly insult someone else's reputation (e.g. in Germany), an idea that goes back quite some time. (Even in the US, it used to be justification for a duel, a practice which I believe had its roots in medieval Germanic trial practices which could involve combat.)

            This seemingly

            • by thaylin (555395)
              First you are confusing you unsubstantiated with unable to prove. There are just as many if not more of the latter., however that does not matter. There are laws on the books to deal with libel and slander, most of the things you argue fit into this category, as for news, a much better way to go at this would be to require news agencies to remove news content that talk about arrests, but where there were no convictions, after x amount of time, not go after the search engine, which in no way published the in
    • The right to be forgotten was meant to be for normal individuals which went into a abd situation, then corrected it, but google always bring it up as first result thus meaning your chance of reintegration and finding a good job get NIL, and thus you enter a abd spiral or get your chance in life lowered. The example of that was a guy which went bankrupt paid back his debt, but still even after that the first result in google was his debt and bankruptcy, thus putting a burden on him.

      It was NEVER meant for a
      • by Rich0 (548339)

        A non forgetting society is a harsh society which I refuse. So excuse me if I think the slope was slippery before, when nothing was forgotten. Having a right to be forgotten remove a bit of that slope and make it more horizontal.

        Society is just as harsh in your proposed solution - you just make it harder for them to act that way by denying it information.

        You could just as easily go the opposite route. Just post defaming information online about everybody who ever lived, in copious amounts, so that it is impossible for anybody to figure out what information is real and what information is not. Then, heaven forbid, people will actually have to get to know people instead of just blacklisting them because of some photos on Facebook o

    • This could be a slippery slope if this was a new law or a new application of the law, but it is neither of these: this is just the existing application of existing EU laws that exist for, what, 30 years or more? There are very precise and well-understood laws in many countries of Europe stating that yes indeed, it is absolutely forbidden for a company to retain information about EU Citizen that can be processed automatically without these citizens having their say about it. Having that information as part o
  • The EU directive gives at best a false sense of privacy, since the information itself isn't removed, but only the links, kind of like the way an OS might "remove" a file but still preserve its data ready to be "undeleted" (unless it's a filesystem that tends to overwrite unused blocks).

    The EU regulators don't want to appear as "censors" (with the unsavory connotation that the word carries in a presumably democratic environment) so they don't go after the source. This reeks of institutional hypocrisy. Why no

    • by Dutch Gun (899105)

      Oh, don't worry, the French are already doing that [eater.com]. Fortunately, this particular case demonstrated the Striesand Effect [wikipedia.org] can still kick a bully's ass from time to time.

      • Anyone claiming that the Streisand effect somehow harmed this guy because of the original information is now widely known , doesn't understand a damn thing about the case.

        The man didn't want to hide that he was once in debt to the point of having his home auctioned - had that been his only goal, starting a legal case on it would be idiotic. The point was to remove a very prominent display that implied the false impression he was still in debt, that was shown without any context to antone who Googled his

        • by Dutch Gun (899105)

          Could you follow that link of mine and double-check to see if we're talking about the same case? Because it sure doesn't sound like it to me.

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        One mistake by a court which doesn't set a precedent isn't indicative of the law or national policy.

        • by Dutch Gun (899105)

          From the article I linked to:

          Arret Sur Images reports that this is the first example of an amateur, unpaid blogger having to pay damages for a negative review. Doudet sees this as part of a growing problem around freedom of speech. "Recently several writers in France were sentenced in similar proceedings for defamation, invasion of privacy, and so on. And I find it really serious if we no longer have the freedom to write," she says. "I don't see the point of criticism if it's only positive. It's clear that online, people are suspicious of places that only get positive reviews."

          This is apparently the first instance of an amateur blogger being sued because of a negative review, which is sort of the definition of a legal precedent, isn't it? I agree, though, that it's probably not national policy, and I very much doubt it's in the spirit of the law. That's of little comfort to someone on the sharp end of a bad court decision though, and seems awfully likely to have a chilling effect to some degree.

    • by jonbryce (703250)

      You could also use this directive to get the source removed, but only if the publisher is based in the EU or in another country that has similar laws.

    • by Tom (822)

      The EU regulators don't want to appear as "censors"

      Legally speaking, they not only don't appear, they are not. The legal definition of censorship (at least here in Germany, YMMV) means pre-publication, government-agency control. Having a court (as opposed to a government agency) found something illegal and removing it has never been considered censorship in the legal sense.

      so they don't go after the source

      Actually, the reason they don't is that if the source is outside the EU, it is a very lengthy and uncertain process. Now while you hail Internet anarchy, consider what options the lawmake

      • by penix1 (722987)

        For all the whining here, the option they've taken is actually the least intrusive.

        And the best response that could be given would be to blackhole everything EU. They want to be forgotten, then let's forget them. Removing all links to everything EU including businesses, government and humanitarian sites would fit the bill. Restrict the crawler preventing new EU stuff from being indexed would solve the problem for the future.

        The EU wants to be forgotten, let's see how the EU economy survives that.

        • by ewieling (90662)
          I think forcing Europe to create their own search engine is a good idea. Why should they depend on an American company for search?
        • by Tom (822)

          And the best response that could be given would be to blackhole everything EU. They want to be forgotten, then let's forget them.

          Let me guess, you're american and you didn't pay attention in school, so you think "Europe" is some small country somewhere on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, yes?

          The EU is larger than the USA in people, economic power and basically every other metric except prison population. Blackhole the EU if you want. We may or may not come over to save the sorry remains of your economy in a couple years.

          The EU wants to be forgotten, let's see how the EU economy survives that.

          The trade volume between the USA and the EU is about 60 billion US$ monthly [census.gov]. However, the USA imports a lot m

      • by thaylin (555395)
        The court is a government agency....
        • by Tom (822)

          You've heard of this thing they call "Separation of Powers"? Maybe the news hasn't reached you yet, after all it's only been around for some 350 years.

      • They could sit on their thumbs doing nothing. While this option pleases the anarchist in us, you cannot expect a lawmaker to ignore lawbreakers

        What law breakers? This new "law" that was invented by the courts with zero debate is so vague that whether someone is breaking it or not is entirely debatable and thus eminently ignorable.

    • The EU regulators don't want to appear as "censors" (with the unsavory connotation that the word carries in a presumably democratic environment)...

      That is a solved problem. Call it "filtering" instead and not only will The Public not object but they will demand it. To protect the children.

  • by asmkm22 (1902712) on Sunday July 27, 2014 @04:16AM (#47541771)
    Aren't these the kinds of questions the EU should have been asking themselves before passing the law? The fact that so many of these questions need to be asked should show them just how poorly conceived and written the law is in the first place.
    • by kwbauer (1677400)

      Well they had to pass it before they could read it!

    • My guess is, different groups involved here. IIRC the "law" in question is in fact case law, not (as yet) codified in statute or treaty. As such, the current state of the law (with all its lack of limitations, clarifications, etc) is the result of judgements made by the judiciary. IANAL so I won't start delving into the rights and wrongs of whether they should have the power to make judgements that interpret the law in such a way that they extend/expand it to such a great degree, but what I will say is that
    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      The law was actually passed in the mid 90s. They have been trying to update it but had trouble getting consensus from all member states. I expect this will spur them on a bit.

  • I think I'll switch to google.com, my local version is crippled because of EU law.

    • by Tom (822)

      What about my right to search?

      There is no such right, except in your imagination. There is a right (at least in my country, probably similar ones in the EU as a whole) to get information from publicly available sources. So the government cannot stop you from searching at all. But it can intervene in the information available if that information breaks laws. For example, copyrighted content, state secrets, but also information a court has found to be libel or slander.

      And quite frankly speaking, for the cases this law is intended for (let

      • Well, depending on where you live there may be sme kind of right to free speech. In the US it is fairly explicit. In the UK and commonwealth countries there have been rulings that say there is an implied right to a certain degree of free speech. So is there a right to search, which is really a form of free speech? Well, there may well be.

        • by Tom (822)

          So is there a right to search, which is really a form of free speech?

          Searching and speaking are really not the same thing. Once again, you can say they are related and one requires the other and so on, but all of that only means that yes, there really is no "right to search", you can only construct it from other rights.

      • You're wrong. This law isn't about slanderous claims, defamation, or copyright infringement. There have been laws that address that already. This law involves the removal of factual information--censorship of the truth. That's the key difference.
      • by SQL Error (16383)

        What about my right to search?

        There is no such right, except in your imagination.

        Freedom of association.

        And quite frankly speaking, for the cases this law is intended for (let's not focus only on the abuses, as most idiot journalists do because it makes for better headlines), the right of an individual to not have their life ruined by, say, completely made-up allegations of child abuse and rape quite clearly trumps your right of finding false and misleading information.

        That would be libel, and is adequately covered by existing laws. Excessively covered in the UK.

        • by Tom (822)

          Freedom of association.

          Is a right in itself and maybe you can derive a "right to search" from it, but in doing so you would only prove my point that a "right to search" by itself is nowhere in the law books.

      • by Rashdot (845549)

        What about my right to search?

        There is no such right, except in your imagination.

        It must be my imagination that people in other countries may have more rights to search the internet than me.

        I realize that universal human rights are not recognized in large parts of the world, but I was hoping at least the EU would.

        • by Tom (822)

          Nice hyperbole, but entirely beside the point. I already explained in my original posting what the legal situation actually is, I don't see why I should repeat it.

          Of course, you can refute me easily. Find the correct EU law that contains the phrase "right to search" and post a link. I will apologize if you do.

  • One point I haven't seen raised in the debate thus far is that of "spent" convictions.

    Here in the UK (and possibly other EU jurisdictions, I don't know), if you are convicted of a crime and have served your sentence, after a defined period the conviction will cease to appear on most employment-related criminal records checks (with obvious exceptions for high-risk roles such as those working with the young/vulnerable) and no longer have to be declared. This defined period varied with the severity of the cr
    • Question: Does this law prevent someone from declaring a "spent conviction" on an application and an employer from asking about it or using it against the applicant? Or does it require the conviction records to be expunged from public records? Even in the US, there are laws addressing equal opportunity and employee discrimination. Even if an employer discovers a past arrest or conviction through a background, that cannot be used against the applicant to deny them a job. There are exceptions, for example
      • by gsnedders (928327)

        (Disclaimer: I haven't actually looked at the law in about a couple of years. My memory may not be entirely correct. You can look this up for yourself, the act in question is the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.)

        One may declare a spent conviction on an application; an employer may ask about any spent convictions but the employee is under no obligation to give the truthful answer (i.e., one can always answer, "I have no spent convictions"), and any knowledge of spent convictions cannot (in general) be h

      • Your question can be read one of two ways. Either you mean "Can an applicant with an unspent conviction not declare it and get away with it?" or you mean "If an employee has a spent conviction and is not obligated to declare it, is there anything in place to prevent him/her from declaring it and/or anything in place to ensure that the potential employer can be forced to disregard it?"

        If the former:
        The short version - in non-high-risk jobs, it depends if the employer chooses to carry out checks (if no, ge
    • Lazy sarcasm:

      There are 7 billion people on the planet with more popping in all the time. Fuck 'em. Let them be unemployable forever if they got a speeding ticket once. There are plenty of other people who need the job.

      The scary part is: Some ministers actually seem to think this way.

  • "6. Do you notify website publishers of delisting? In that case, which legal basis do you have to notify website publishers?" Laws are restrictive not permissive. The response from the search engines should be "by what legal basis do you have to prevent us from notifying website publishers?"

The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.

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