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Censorship EU Google

Google Told To Expand Right To Be Forgotten 193

mpicpp writes with this news from the BBC: Google is under fresh pressure to expand the 'right to be forgotten' to its international .com search tool. A panel of EU data protection watchdogs said the move was necessary to prevent the law from being circumvented. Google currently de-lists results that appear in the European versions of its search engines, but not the international one. The panel said it would advise member states' data protection agencies of its view in new guidelines. However, a link is provided at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen offering an option to switch to the international .com version. This link does not appear if the users attempted to go to a regional version in the first place. Even so, it means it is possible for people in Europe to easily opt out of the censored lists.
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Google Told To Expand Right To Be Forgotten

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 27, 2014 @10:34AM (#48473967)

    Brought to you by the same people who invented Mandatory Data Retention, a politician's: we need to preserve accurate history for government control, but allow narcissistic individuals to enforce social forgetting. Only the powerful may control their own memory.

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      Well, the hidden effective data retention done by the NSA is not in any way better...

  • by GoddersUK ( 1262110 ) on Thursday November 27, 2014 @10:41AM (#48473999)
    What's going through the EU's mind right now? "This is clearly futile, not working and doesn't stand a chance in hell of working... ...so let's do more!"?

    I mean, seriously, what will they be doing next? Asking all proxies, VPNs, and TOR to filter "right to be forgotten" search results. All airlines and airports offering international flights will require memory wipers to remove any "right to be forgotten knowledge" from your brain. All libraries, archives, repositories and public records offices will be required to go through old paper copies of documents with tipex...

    (Fun fact: "Right to be forgotten" censoring was basically Winston Smith's day job in 1984...)

    • What's going through their mind is this - we are politicians and regulators. We are in charge. If our power is being challenged by a corporation, we need to slap them down as hard as possible, as fast as possible, so we remain the top dogs. We are not concerned with minor technical details that boffins like to witter about: we are the Democratic Representatives of The People and that means we must be obeyed!

      The way this stupid "right" will play out was clear from the first moment the ruling was made. Lots o

      • What's going through their mind is this - we are politicians and regulators. We are in charge

        Why are these same politicians and regulators trying to push through treaties with investor/state provisions that grant rights to companies that override local laws and regulations?

    • by N1AK ( 864906 )

      What's going through the EU's mind right now? "This is clearly futile, not working and doesn't stand a chance in hell of working... ...so let's do more!"?

      It's absolute stupdity. I'm not even against the underlying idea but this implementation has been a complete clusterfuck since the start. Expecting service providers to judge this is insane, and forcing people to contact dozens of different providers if they want to be removed from them all is stupid.

      If we are going to have some kind of right to be forg

      • If there was a public blacklist, then it'd be easy to build a search engine specifically for blocked content that ran outside the EU, and thus the entire scheme would work even less well than it already does.

        What the EU court has set in motion here leads, eventually, to either a Great Firewall of Europe, or the EU getting to perform global censorship against everyone. Neither outcome seems plausible, so, what next?

        • What the EU court has set in motion here leads, eventually, to either a Great Firewall of Europe, or the EU getting to perform global censorship against everyone. Neither outcome seems plausible, so, what next?

          Why do you think that neither outcome is plausible? Did you also think that It wasnt plausible for the U.S. government to go around seizing domain names? What do you think now that they do it? Did they totally get away with it because of your short attention span?

          Maybe you didnt think it plausible that the U.K. would have set up a firewall? What do you think now that they have one? did you already forget that they have one? Did they totally get away with it because of your short attention span?

          There is

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

          It's about being reasonable. Google already uses geolocation to provide different services to different parts of the world. It isn't perfect and can be circumvented, but a lot of big companies rely on it for things like blocking streaming to Europe or selecting the right version of Amazon to display.

          Therefore it does not seem unreasonable to expect Google to present search results compliant with EU law to EU citizens, to the best of the its ability. To jump from there to global censorship is a bit of a leap

      • by IIH ( 33751 ) on Thursday November 27, 2014 @11:22AM (#48474271)

        If we are going to have some kind of right to be forgotten then it should be judged by independent specialists, pages that should be 'forgotten' should be added to a public blacklist used by ISPs so that it can be checked for abuses

        You misunderstand, it's not the page that should be forgotten, but the association created by google between that page and a particular person. Basically, you are effectively asking google "What is the most relevant thing about person X?", and google are returning irrelevant/out of date information. The result due to that association is within Google's control, and that association is what the court is addressing, not the existence of the page itself.

        • Isn't the page really the issue? If the information is wrong or out of date then should it be forced to be taken down/edited instead of removing it from Google. After all I imagine many of the pages being linked do contain mostly correct information so the pages are still relevant. It's just some bit of information that the individual is taking objection to and wanting to be made unavailable.

          (Of course I realize that this gets into another issue which is that many of the pages may exist outside of the EU an

          • Isn't the page really the issue? If the information is wrong or out of date then should it be forced to be taken down/edited instead of removing it from Google.

            Have you been following this issue at all? The the data doesn't have to be wrong or incorrect, it can also be inadequate, irrelevant, or excessive. That is quite a sweeping definition. This is relevant. [europa.eu]

            Supposedly, there will be accurate guidelines issued by the end of November.

        • by Kjella ( 173770 )

          Instant Godwin, but should Holocaust deniers have the right to demand that Adolf Hitler be disassociated from those "lies"? There's no objective standard of what is true, much less what is current, balanced and relevant information so in truth you ask Google to play oracle. They've found lots of pages mentioning Adolf Hitler and Holocaust together, so they return what they found. They've never done any primary research in the matter, all they have is an objection that it's not true. Should Google then becom

    • by Tom ( 822 ) on Thursday November 27, 2014 @11:03AM (#48474171) Homepage Journal

      What's going through the EU's mind right now?

      Can't tell (not telepathic), but I'm in support of this right and I can tell you what I think: The Internet is full of half-truths and outright lies. Search engines do not deliver results based on the truth value of sites, but on popularity, page ranking and such. If, 10 years ago, you were arrested for child porn, with headlines in the newspapers. Three months later, charges were dropped, everyone apologized profoundly to you for the mistake, the government paid a ton of money for your troubles and the prosecutor who go your arrested lost his job.

      Which part of this, do you think, will show up on Google, today?

      We can do nothing about people remembering things wrong. But we can do something about search engines creating false impressions.

      Maybe in the future, semantic web and intelligent agents will be able to show you the relevant context information and solve the problem. But until then, people's lives are being ruined and that problem needs a solution before they're dead, wouldn't you agree?

      • by johanw ( 1001493 )

        I guess the prosecutor losing his job for making a mistake would be the biggest news. People get arrested for child porn all the time, but prosecutors personally feeling the consequences of their invalid actions - now that would be big news.

      • We can do nothing about people remembering things wrong. But we can do something about search engines creating false impressions.

        This is not about that. This is about search engines creating accurate impressions. See, it was already illegal in many of these countries to say bad things about people, sometimes even when they were true. But now people in these countries have the right to ask people to forget about things about them which are true. In most cases they didn't need a new law in order to actually go after people spreading rumors about them on the internet, the original laws would suffice. What this does is actually protect t

        • by IIH ( 33751 )

          But now people in these countries have the right to ask people to forget about things about them which are true

          Incorrect. If the court was saying to remove the page in question, then that would be forgetting things which are true.

          However, the court action is directed at the association created by Google between a particular person and a page. By maintaining this association, Google are basically stating "this is one of the most relevant thing about person X", and if what it points to is irrelevant/out of

          • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday November 27, 2014 @12:23PM (#48474705) Homepage Journal

            Incorrect. If the court was saying to remove the page in question, then that would be forgetting things which are true.

            However, the court action is directed at the association created by Google between a particular person and a page.

            There is no functional difference; if you can't remember what you forgot, then you forgot it. The data might be out there someplace, but if you can't find it, then you can't make use of it.

            No, it's about requiring search engines to stop returning irrelevant items about a person when asked for relevant items,

            As the person initiating the search, I decide what is relevant.

            Without this law, search engines could report results which are false and do harm with impunity.

            No, no they couldn't, because you'd click on the links and you'd see the actual result. Search engines can only report what is there; they might report on it incorrectly, but you can always check up on them.

            • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

              There is no functional difference; if you can't remember what you forgot, then you forgot it.

              And by "you" I assume you mean "Google", so not actually "you" at all. That's the point. No-one is required to forget anything, not even Google in fact. This isn't even the Right to be Forgotten that the EU proposed, it's just bog standard data retention laws. Don't forget that corporations are not people in the EU either.

              When you type someone's name into Google, you are asking them to research and return relevant data on that person. This is a commercial service, run for a profit. Like any commercial servi

              • As the person initiating the search, I decide what is relevant.

                Only to the extent that the law allows.

                The law already included a solution to the problem of misleading information in at least some EU countries; you can have the material taken down, because it is already illegal there. Hell, even some non-misleading material is illegal in some of those countries, those in which the truth is not an absolute defense against libel. A new law seeking to hide the illegal information is not the solution. It only really seeks to do two things: one, let people hide their misdeeds, and two, attempt to hide the extent

            • As the person initiating the search, I decide what is relevant.

              The arrogance betrayed by that comment is exactly why laws like this are necessary.

              If you need to search for information about someone then by definition you are not fully aware of all the facts and cannot be in a position to make a fair judgement if you are presented only with partial, misleading information.

              • If you need to search for information about someone then by definition you are not fully aware of all the facts and cannot be in a position to make a fair judgement if you are presented only with partial, misleading information.

                You are so right. That is precisely why I need to be provided with all of the search results, so that I can make up my own mind.

                • And if you were guaranteed to be provided with complete information and somehow constrained to read through every Google result for your search term to make sure you were fully informed before acting and somehow constrained to act fairly and without unjustified discrimination based on that information, this whole "right to be forgotten" idea wouldn't be relevant.

                  Unfortunately, that isn't very practical, so we have to look for another solution to the problem of people being damaged by, collectively, those wh

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        No, you are advocating censorship, a non solution to a basic personal problem of people who believe everything they hear. They are the ones ruining lives. Deal with them. Leave Google alone! You only have the right to prevent information from being used against you, not the dispersal of the information. I'm always hoping we can achieve P2P internet that will be impossible to censor. Something to make the authorities squirm. That's the best way I know how to finally end this silly discussion every time the s

      • Do you hold the search engine responsible for all of the thinking that people do? If a person searches for "X remedy" for some sickness they have and happens to come across a treatment that causes them harm then you don't blame the search engine. You expect them to look into it and exercise a bit of common sense. If I search on a person and it comes back with a list of news articles that says they were arrested for child pornography then I don't leap to the assumption that they were guilty. I would look
      • The Internet is full of half-truths and outright lies. Search engines do not deliver results based on the truth value of sites, but on popularity, page ranking and such. If, 10 years ago, you were arrested for child porn, with headlines in the newspapers. Three months later, charges were dropped, everyone apologized profoundly to you for the mistake, the government paid a ton of money for your troubles and the prosecutor who go your arrested lost his job.

        That sounds nice in theory, but your stance makes a few assumptions: 1) there is a perfect objective view of what the truth is and 2) the internet is not a dynamic, adaptive source of information. For point 1, people may have two different perspectives on what should and should not be public knowledge. For example, if a politician is caught for embezzling money, they may want to be forgotten to avoid further persecution and move on with their life. Voters in other regions may want to know and remember that

        • by Tom ( 822 )

          How does one filter the good information from the bad?

          Academically? Untracktable problem.

          Pragmatically? If you can't find it on Google, then for 99% of the Internet users, it doesn't exist.

          it fails because it ignores the technical constraints to implementing such an idea.

          I say it succeeds, because it takes a pragmatic, real-world approach to the issue and accepts that its solution is not 100% pure mathematical perfection. But in the real world, 99% or 95% or 80% or sometimes just 51% is sufficient.

          For example, if a politician is caught for embezzling money,

          This point is much stronger and better thought-out.

          Yes, in an ideal world, we could guarantee that the search results return a balanced view of th

      • This law is total nonsense even if you agree with the concept of being forgotten, because the law doesn't even go after the content!

        If you have issues with content on the web, you should be going after the host of the content, not search engines who just arbitrarily index.

        The ONLY reason this law is targeting major international search engines is because the EU knows that if the law targets the actual content owners, then the law would never be enforceable. By targeting major international search engines, t

        • If you have issues with content on the web, you should be going after the host of the content, not search engines who just arbitrarily index.

          And within the EU you can do that, too.

          The "right to be forgotten" rule protects against circumvention of that law by hosting the material outside of the EU's jurisdiction and relying on search engines to make it readily accessible to people within the EU anyway. Given that if we're talking about a victim in the EU, the damage caused by someone reading misleading or inaccurate information is most likely to arise if the reader is also in the EU, this is actually quite a pragmatic solution to a real problem.

      • The Internet is full of half-truths and outright lies. Search engines do not deliver results based on the truth value of sites, but on popularity, page ranking and such.

        That has nothing to do with this. If someone has put lies about you up on a news site, you can and should be able to get that information taken down at the source. In fact, dealing with defamatory writing is something we figured out how to do long ago. It's called "libel" and there are all sorts of laws around it.

        The "right to be forgotten" isn't about taking down false or misleading information. It's about suppressing accurate but unpleasant truth.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

      Firstly, it's not the right to be forgotten. That is just a proposal. This is a request under data protection laws that have existed since 1995.

      As for it not working, actually it seems to be working quite well. You make a request, if it is legal then Google stops associating certain results with your name. That's the entire scope and intent of the law, and it appears to work as advertised. There is no evidence of people using it to cover up unspent convictions, for example. There are attempts, but they are

      • by brunes69 ( 86786 )

        The proposal / request / whatever is totally useless because it is not going after the content. The content is still there and it is TRIVIAL to find by using an uncensored search engine. All this is is a giant make-work project.

        • The proposal / request / whatever is totally useless because it is not going after the content. The content is still there and it is TRIVIAL to find by using an uncensored search engine. All this is is a giant make-work project.

          If you go back to the original case, the problem wasn't just that the data was available, but that it dominated the search results and was broadcast whenever anybody searched for him. This is why it isn't censorship -- the information is not destroyed and can still be found if actively sought, but it makes it unlikely that anyone will just stumble across it unexpectedly.

      • There is plenty of evidence that this law is being abused. However, this evidence is only available to EU citizens who bother to cross-check their search results, which is probably the reason why the EU wants to make sure that they can't do that any longer.

    • yes and no. Winston worked dirrectly for the government taking orders from the government.

      This is the government approving the request of ordinary people to have their reputations unfucked.

      Its what you can already do in the states if you have the money to spend on a PR firm

    • What's going through the EU's mind right now? "This is clearly futile, not working and doesn't stand a chance in hell of working... ...so let's do more!"?

      No, it's "Google is deliberately flouting the law". I mean, seriously. They geolocate you, and direct you to a local service. That means that they know the law should apply. Then they actively offer to take you to another site that is "not in the jurisdiction". In many areas of law, once you prove yourself capable of doing something, not doing it is considered willful negligence.

  • by jfdavis668 ( 1414919 ) on Thursday November 27, 2014 @10:41AM (#48474003)
    Send the request to be forgotten to the site that actually hosts the information. That way it will disappear in all search engines.
    • by N1AK ( 864906 )

      Send the request to be forgotten to the site that actually hosts the information. That way it will disappear in all search engines.

      That wouldn't cover sites outside of EU jurisdiction, which the EU not unreasonably thinks makes it a poor solution.

      • The world-wide web is most definitely not under their jurisdiction either. Europe has no authority to censor the internet on behalf of the rest of the world.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

      The law does not allow that. It would be censorship. The law only requires commercial companies who are not protected by things like public interest journalism handle your personal data in a certain way. For example, banks are not allowed to tell other banks about bankruptcies you had 20 years ago. Google is not exempt from these requirements.

      • Send the request to be forgotten to the site that actually hosts the information. That way it will disappear in all search engines.

        The law does not allow that. It would be censorship.

        That's OK, censorship is alive and well in many countries. For example, those in which truth is not an absolute defense in libel cases. It should not matter what your intent is if you are only using facts unless you are deliberately using them to defraud, e.g. by careful omission of relevant information.

  • by LihTox ( 754597 ) on Thursday November 27, 2014 @10:43AM (#48474015)

    If Europe can regulate what the whole world sees on Google, why not China?

    If they do go through with it, let's at least have a www.google.us without the censorship. (Probably a good idea anyway.)

    • If Europe can regulate what the whole world sees on Google, why not China?

      If they do go through with it, let's at least have a www.google.us without the censorship. (Probably a good idea anyway.)

      And the US wants everyone to keep all the information and let the NSA have access to it no matter where it resides.

      • And the US wants everyone to keep all the information and let the NSA have access to it no matter where it resides.

        That's at least not hypocritical until they are acting surprised that China wants to do the same.

        Oh wait... they did that when they declared that "cyper attacks" are considered as hostile as regular military attacks. Wow, I'm glad that no one actually measures them by what they say....

        • And the US wants everyone to keep all the information and let the NSA have access to it no matter where it resides.

          That's at least not hypocritical until they are acting surprised that China wants to do the same.

          Oh wait... they did that when they declared that "cyper attacks" are considered as hostile as regular military attacks. Wow, I'm glad that no one actually measures them by what they say....

          Remember: When we do it it's good and when *they* do it it's bad. Been that way since the first man noticed another living in the cave next door.

    • If Europe can regulate what the whole world sees on Google, why not China?

      If they do go through with it, let's at least have a www.google.us without the censorship. (Probably a good idea anyway.)

      No, Europe wants to regulate what Europeans see on Google. Google knows when users are based in Europe, yet still allows them to dodge the law. If I lived in a country/state with legal cannabis and knowingly posted it to someone in a country/state where cannabis was illegal, I'd probably be breaking their laws. Google has a corporate presence in Europe, so they have to respect European jurisdiction.

  • by mark-t ( 151149 ) <markt@nerdFORTRANflat.com minus language> on Thursday November 27, 2014 @11:11AM (#48474207) Journal

    ... too closely to history revisionism, IMO.

    If you have put something unpleasant behind you, then really it should not matter if details of it are still available for other people to read... In fact, if it does, then the matter isn't really behind you at all. if other people are going to judge you by your past, that's unfortunate, but that's also just life... It shouldn't be up to legislation to change how liable people are to judge books by their covers, as it were.... That's a moral failing on their part.

    People need to live their lives the best that they can... everyone fucking makes mistakes, and we learn to live with them. I used to know somebody who was crippled for life as a teenager because he was being reckless. he could easily still be reminded every single day of his life, even now over 30 years later, of what he should have done... so you can't somehow say that the Internet is somehow different just because something online can last forever, because there's other stuff that can be just as interminable.

    • It's even worse. The "right to be forgotten" is also being abused for political motives.

      Take as an example a query for "Anna Ardin" in Europe [google.co.uk] versus the US version [bind2.com]. Spot the difference? I'd say the US clearly wins this one with regard to freedom of information.

      (These links might not work directly where you live, because they assume you're in Europe. If you live elsewhere you might need to find you own proxies that ensure that queries are really 'entered' in the US or Europe respectively.)

      I wonder whether it

  • This is the big thing. Not just NSA, but retailer cameras selling stuff you literally "browse" by foot in the aisle. According to this article, Google and Facebook have the biggest "face banks" for the facial recognition software. Can they be told to forget that, too? If not, you aren't really "forgotten" just because you don't appear in a search engine. I don't think Europe could pass a law making Google delete the information. http://www.fastcocreate.com/30... [fastcocreate.com]
  • by Begemot ( 38841 ) on Thursday November 27, 2014 @11:35AM (#48474379)

    EU is not going to shut Google down. What everyone's going to use? Bing?

    • EU is not going to shut Google down. What everyone's going to use? Bing?

      A9, you insensitive clod!

    • by mi ( 197448 )

      EU is not going to shut Google down.

      But they can fine Google — something like $1mln per day to fund something For The Greater Good. The fine can't be crippling, as you point out, but it can still be large.

  • The Stalin-era edition of Soviet Encyclopedia — a monumental collection of large volumes not unlike Britannica — once had a large article (full of praises, of course) about Lavrenty Beria [wikipedia.org]. When Stalin died, Beria lost to others and was promptly shot [executedtoday.com].

    To erase the memory of those praises, all owners of the encyclopedia (there weren't that many) were required to cut out the article about him — and replace it with an article about Bering Strait. True story [latimes.com]...

  • by RandCraw ( 1047302 ) on Thursday November 27, 2014 @12:05PM (#48474553)

    Editing the historical record sounds awfully like hiding your past. Why isn't this like pretending the Holocaust or Stalins purges just never happened? Wouldn't IBM like to assert (without contradiction) that it never assisted the Nazis in the Death Camps?

    This is an initiative only a corporate tool could love.

  • by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Thursday November 27, 2014 @12:39PM (#48474777)

    Outsource their Advertising business to a subsidiary that has no control of what search results appear on the page.

    Let that subsidiary do all business in Europe; let the search company not do any business in Europe.

    And then the search company can simply ignore all requests to control search results as out of jurisdiction.

  • A place where dirty laundry that has been removed from the google search engine can be listed.

    This would rely on some kind of time-based diff, or on Google publishing a list of the links it has removed just prior to removing them.

  • I need to be able to look up all information about someone. If I didn't, I wouldn't need the internet. I would just ask them to attach anything they felt I should know to their application.

    So if they break Google, I will need another search engine. It may need to be run from somewhere outside the control of the EU, USA, NSA, FBI and so on..
    Perhaps there is someone in Russia who knows about computers?

    I'll stick to the EU over the USA though. Less militaristic and their silliest ideas are aimed for human

  • Orwell (Score:5, Informative)

    by Animats ( 122034 ) on Thursday November 27, 2014 @02:53PM (#48475377) Homepage

    "He who controls the present controls the past. He who controls the past controls the future." - Orwell, 1984

  • Why don't they just license The Great Firewall of China.

    We all know this is where Europe is heading with this; the only difference is they're asking Google to implement it for them, rather than having to implement it themselves, as China has done.

    • Why don't they just license The Great Firewall of China.

      We all know this is where Europe is heading with this; the only difference is they're asking Google to implement it for them, rather than having to implement it themselves, as China has done.

      Why don't they just license The Great Firewall of China.

      We all know this is where Europe is heading with this; the only difference is they're asking Google to implement it for them, rather than having to implement it themselves, as China has done.

      Why don't they just license The Great Firewall of China.

      We all know this is where Europe is heading with this; the only difference is they're asking Google to implement it for them, rather than having to implement it themselves, as China has done.

      Why don't they just license The Great Firewall of China.

      We all know this is where Europe is heading with this; the only difference is they're asking Google to implement it for them, rather than having to implement it themselves, as China has done.

      Oppressive fucktards should have to out themselves as fucktards rather than hiding behind skirts. Just saying.

  • The EU and the US need to clue in to the fact that their local laws don't apply globally, no matter how much it pisses them off that other nations do things differently.

    • The EU and the US need to clue in to the fact that their local laws don't apply globally, no matter how much it pisses them off that other nations do things differently.

      The EU needs to clue to the fact that DNS data != geolocation, and if they want to piss in their own pool, they need the equivalent of the Great Firewall of China to do so, and then they need to decide if they are going to piss or not.

    • by Kergan ( 780543 )

      Companies are already applying US and EU laws and norms every day. Because, well... taken as a single entity, the EU is actually a bigger economy than the US, and the US is still significantly bigger than China -- whose laws a whole slew of firms comply with as well.

      Truth is, it doesn't really matter if your laws don't apply globally in theory when you're a big economy. Firms will apply your laws anyway.

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