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Censorship Google Government The Internet Your Rights Online

France Claims Right To Censor Search Results Globally 337

Lauren Weinstein writes: I've been waiting for this, much the way one waits for a violent case of food poisoning. France is now officially demanding that Google expand the hideous EU 'Right To Be Forgotten' (RTBF) to Google.com worldwide, instead of just applying it to the appropriate localized (e.g. France) version of Google. And here's my official response as a concerned individual:

To hell with this ...
Weinstein's page links to the paywalled WSJ coverage; you might prefer The New York Times or Politico. Related: a court in Canada, according to TechDirt, would like to do something similar, when it comes to expanding its effect on Google results for everyone, not just those who happen to live within its jurisdiction.
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France Claims Right To Censor Search Results Globally

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  • Good Luck (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Njorthbiatr ( 3776975 ) on Saturday June 13, 2015 @08:41AM (#49903523)

    You'll have to pry it from the NSA's cold dead fingers.

    • Re:Good Luck (Score:5, Insightful)

      by buchner.johannes ( 1139593 ) on Saturday June 13, 2015 @10:10AM (#49903763) Homepage Journal

      I bet this is misreported and what they demand is that all searches originating from France be censored, regardless of whether a Frenchman goes to google.fr or google.com -- this easy Google to implement. This does not affect anyone outside of France.
      " France Claims Right To Censor Search Results Globally " -- rubbish
      " France Claims Right To Censor Search Results Locally " -- corrected

      Also, even if true, US-Americans are not really allowed to cry about it because "US Claims Right To Wiretap Globally".

      • Re:Good Luck (Score:5, Insightful)

        by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@@@world3...net> on Saturday June 13, 2015 @11:07AM (#49903981) Homepage Journal

        Correct, that is exactly what it is. They are simply saying that Google should obey French law when serving French citizens, which isn't particularly unreasonable considering how much effort Google themselves put in to geofencing French users. For example, French users can't get in to the US Play store or install apps that have been set to "only available in the US". More over, Google serves google.com to European users from servers located in the EU anyway.

        • Re:Good Luck (Score:4, Informative)

          by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Saturday June 13, 2015 @01:01PM (#49904413) Homepage

          I find it very interesting that you are siding with France on this when on Microsoft you had precisely the opposite stance. There the USA was demanding that Microsoft's USA employees follow USA law and in that case your feeling was the the EU / Ireland had an obligation to be involved and regulate because of where the servers were physically located regardless of the status of the data.

          • Re:Good Luck (Score:5, Informative)

            by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@@@world3...net> on Saturday June 13, 2015 @03:05PM (#49905095) Homepage Journal

            It's really simple. It's down to where the company is based.

            Google has a subsidiary in France. That subsidiary is responsible for handling the French version of Google services, like search and the Play store. Even google.com is served from within France for performance reasons, and it gives location based results using language settings and geolocation of IP addresses. Google France needs to comply with French laws, including the version of google.com it serves up.

            Microsoft's subsidiary is based in Ireland. It needs to comply with Irish law. US law enforcement doesn't have jurisdiction over it. Just like French courts don't have jurisdiction over Google's US operation.

        • OK so i start a site that does searches from within the US and then create a file and send it to a French national. In other words the notion will not work at all and the legal issues will never cease and new businesses will appear to deliver that information to the French. We actually need to make it clear that only US laws are in play for anyone operating in the US.. Think of it as the porno in Podunk problem. A guy in NY send porn to a guy in California but because the message travels through P
        • "Worldwide"? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Kludge ( 13653 ) on Saturday June 13, 2015 @03:46PM (#49905285)

          They are simply saying that Google should obey French law when serving French citizens,

          That is not what it sounds like to me:

          "For Google, the answer is worldwide," said Ms. Falque-Pierrotin, when questioned late last year about the scope of the European privacy ruling. "If people have the right to be delisted from search results, then that should happen worldwide."

      • France is free to implement its own Ligne Maginot de l'Internet if it chooses to, just as the Chinese have done. But because French taxpayers can't just be clubbed and dragged off the corrective labor camps like their Chinese counterparts, they are not going to pay out a huge amount of state revenue just to make life worse within France.

  • by penguinoid ( 724646 ) on Saturday June 13, 2015 @08:45AM (#49903533) Homepage Journal

    France finally decided to get rid of Google with "Right to be forgotten" in France. (If you can't comply with part of a rule, why comply with any of it.)

    • by TWX ( 665546 )
      There'll be years and years of appeals, and I expect that if it ends up in a court with EU-wide jurisdiction then it could get very interesting.
    • Does all this mean we can simply forget France? If so, then great!
  • Hideous? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 13, 2015 @08:49AM (#49903539)

    France is now officially demanding that Google expand the hideous EU 'Right To Be Forgotten' (RTBF) to Google.com worldwide, ...

    Hideous? Speak for yourself.

    Remember the Duke LaCrosse player scandal years ago? To make a long story short, on 60 Minutes one of he geezers yasked the parents why they were fighting so hard to clear all the charges and not cut a deal.

    One responded, "The Internet." They didn't want their kids coming up on Google searches over false charges. And they were false. The prosecutor got fired and disbarred. [wikipedia.org].

    And considering how employers these days demand to know every little dipshit thing about you, and considering how the smallest thing can be blown out of proportion (people ALWAYS assume the worst), you bet your ass I want this. And Google, Bing and every other advertising/search company can STFU.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Remember the Duke LaCrosse player scandal years ago? To make a long story short, on 60 Minutes one of he geezers yasked the parents why they were fighting so hard to clear all the charges and not cut a deal.

      I suppose it's completely impossible to imagine that they fought the charges because they were innocent?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I suppose it's completely impossible to imagine that they fought the charges because they were innocent?

        You don't remember it, do you? How drawn out it was and in the beginning, it really looked like those kids were guilty. If it weren't for the Internet, I bet those parents would have taken the deal.

        And most folks just cave to prosecutors and take the deal regardless of their innocence because they will bury you in legal fees, intimidate you and really screw you over. See, this guy [wikipedia.org] for an idea of the BS prosecutors put you through.

        Luckily, the Duke kids parents had the means to fight for the truth when most

        • Re:Hideous? (Score:5, Informative)

          by NostalgiaForInfinity ( 4001831 ) on Saturday June 13, 2015 @09:34AM (#49903643)

          And most folks just cave to prosecutors and take the deal regardless of their innocence because they will bury you in legal fees, intimidate you and really screw you over. See, this guy [wikipedia.org] for an idea of the BS prosecutors put you through.

          So you are saying that we should screw the Internet because our legal system is already screwed up? I have a better idea: what about getting rid of plea bargains?

          In any case, this doesn't apply in much of Europe, because there, often, the press is not allowed to name defendants until they have been found guilty.

          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

            In the UK and many other European countries defendants are named before being found guilty. There is currently some debate over whether people accused of rape should be anonymous until they are charged (not convicted, merely charged with a crime), but at the moment even suspects are routinely named in the press.

            Naturally, when a suspect is cleared of a crime, that fact is rarely reported with equal prominence, if at all.

        • So your logic is that if it weren't for the internet, we would have convicted a bunch people for a crime they didn't commit. And you want this changed, so people have more freedom to confess to things they didn't do?
      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Well, they did explicitly say that at least part of the reason was because of the internet, so I imagine it was a bit of both...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ken D ( 100098 )

      And when some court in some majority Muslim country demand's that all Google results world wide be purged of results that reference Charlie Hebdo will France be okay with that? or does Google just need to obey EU courts and can ignore the courts everywhere else?

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        And when some court in some majority Muslim country demand's that all Google results world wide be purged of results that reference Charlie Hebdo will France be okay with that?

        As long as the ban is only enforced for searches originating from that country, which is what France is asking for, then yeah, I'm sure they will be fine with it.

    • Re:Hideous? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by zedaroca ( 3630525 ) on Saturday June 13, 2015 @09:20AM (#49903617)
      The problem is that if the French could do it (decide what appears on Google outside of their country), it would only be fair that the Chinese could do it too, so Internet censorship for everyone.
      The Tiananmen incident would go out of existence, as well as anything that offends any dictator or anyone with access to a friendly court.
      If they push forward, they should just do like they did in China, leave. The bad part is that, like in China, it would leave the market open for others who are more willing to comply with worldwide orders.
      It's funny that while it is common to criticize China, I don't see them trying to give orders outside of their country. It seems they have more respect over other people's laws than the west.
      • It's funny that while it is common to criticize China, I don't see them trying to give orders outside of their country. It seems they have more respect over other people's laws than the west.

        It has nothing to do with respect for other people's laws. It has everything to do with practicality. It's not feasible to force people in other countries to obey your laws, so the Chinese rulers don't bother (except in places they can bully/cajole local lawmakers into making nice with China (like the USA)).

        • While I do agree with you that that's probably the reason, we are seeing here a case where the French are trying to do so.
          Also, since the mainland is respecting Hong Kong's decision to keep Google, I think that's something to consider on the debate on whether they respect jurisdictions only out of practicality or some respect also.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            we are seeing here a case where the French are trying to do so.

            Alas, while the Chinese rulers are pragmatic enough to accept things they don't really like but can't control, the French rulers are idiots who believe nothing is beyond their power, because, after all, they're French....

            And everyone (in France) knows that the French, as a people, are ALWAYS right....

            • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

              Alas, while the Chinese rulers are pragmatic enough to accept things they don't really like but can't control, the French rulers are idiots who believe nothing is beyond their power, because, after all, they're French....

              And everyone (in France) knows that the French, as a people, are ALWAYS right....

              How ironic. It's the American idiots who got it wrong this time. The permanently outraged hack journos and bloggers got the wrong end of the stick. They are only demanding censorship of google.com when serving pages in France, not world wide. There is no global censorship request, just a request to make google.com work the same way as google.fr already does when the request comes from a French IP address.

              Also, it's not the Right to be Forgotten at all, it's just bog standard data protection laws that have e

            • Alas, while the Chinese rulers are pragmatic enough to accept things they don't really like but can't control, the French rulers are idiots who believe nothing is beyond their power, because, after all, they're French....

              The U.S. authorities have a history of this type of behaviour. Just think of the case Microsoft is currently fighting, the one where they do not want to give the U.S access to emails being held in the E.U. (Ireland), or the case where some NYC judge imposed a massive fine - and confiscati

      • Fuck China, what if Iran or Saudi Arabia demand it? Porn as we know it would be gone!

      • "I don't see them trying to give orders outside of their country."

        That is because they use direct action: They firewall international connections and they tamper with content in flight.

    • The problem is that if the French could do it (decide what appears on Google outside of their country), it would only be fair that the Chinese could do it too, so Internet censorship for everyone.
      The Tiananmen incident would go out of existence, as well as anything that offends any dictator or anyone with access to a friendly court.
      If they push forward, they should just do like they did in China, leave. The bad part is that, like in China, it would leave the market open for others who are more willing to
    • I think that's a "people" problem.

      Anybody who does research needs to do so thoroughly.

      Back when I was a kid, George Washington had wooden teeth and chopped down a cheery tree. Later, he was a slave owner.

      Things change.

      Google can help tell the whole story, from initial falsehood to corrected version (or reverse).

      The fact that someone WAS wrongly accused is an important part of the story you cite.

    • The problem with your example is that the "right to be forgotten" thing doesn't actually expunge your name from public records. It allows you to request to have your name removed from certain indexes in search engines, but it doesn't remove those records from internet-facing servers. And in many cases, the search engine listings for some of those records are off-limits from such removal requests. If you get arrested and charged for even a fake rape (like in the Duke case you mentioned), sorry, your name is
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 13, 2015 @08:50AM (#49903547)

    Since the US claims the right to enforce its won stupid fucking laws globally, stop whining when other countries want to enforce their own stupid fucking rules globally...

    • by TWX ( 665546 )
      If you're referring to FIFA in-particular, I expect that a lot of countries wanted that to happen and basically the US was the only one whose soccer/fubtol enthusiast population is small enough to allow it to happen. Now that the US has taken action, other countries are starting to investigate their local officials. Even if all American charges are dropped (and it looks like there are at least a few with sufficient American ties to be prosecuted regardless) there will be plenty of other countries with the
      • by alci63 ( 1856480 ) on Saturday June 13, 2015 @09:11AM (#49903611)
        Well, another interesting case of "US laws apply worldwide" is the BNP-Paribas Case, where the bank was fined several billions of dollars for not following a US boycott on Iran. The interesting part is that the bank is a french bank, it was acting from Swiss, and France was not supporting the boycott. No US citizen and no US company was involved. But USD was used, and somehow US judges found they were entitled to act... (of course the bank had to pay).
    • The US also has the ABILITY to do so.
    • Since the US claims the right to enforce its won stupid fucking laws globally, stop whining when other countries want to enforce their own stupid fucking rules globally...

      Citations, please. Or do you mean "the US chooses to sign treaties with other nations so that all parties in the treaty can pursue the same law enforcement options, like extraditing criminals as appropriate." Because if actually meant the words you used, it means you're either deliberately lying or are yet another low-information ranter (in either case, please just go away).

  • Too young (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Saturday June 13, 2015 @09:00AM (#49903571) Journal
    Based on more than just this news story: I've been thinking lately that we're just too young of a race yet for the the world to have become as small as it is, and what's worse is the world is getting smaller all the time. The world's shrinkage started with things like the ability to communicate almost instantaneously over long distances (telephone, radio) and later the ability to physically get from almost any point on the planet to any other relatively quickly. These things began to make national borders less and less relevant, and the advent of the Internet has just made that effect more highly pronounced. The problem is essentially the same as with any other technology we've developed: it's evolving orders of magnitude more quickly than humans themselves are evolving, physically and socio-politically. We (humans) are not anywhere near ready to live in a world without borders (look at how we treat each other still!) but the Internet especially is working to erase all borders. Meanwhile, as we're not anywhere near ready for that, one nation or another is always jockeying for the ability to claim the Internet as it's national property, and thus control over Internet policy. Then there's organizations like the United Nations, which would like nothing better than to have ultimate control over the Internet itself -- because, I believe, they think that being able to control the Internet would, ultimately, be a path towards having control over all nations. Which brings me to this point: Will there, eventually, have to be one global governing body? In my opinion, yes, that's going to have to happen one day, as the world is continuing to shrink -- but as previously posited, the human race is not anywhere near the point in it's evolution where that's going to happen. Trying to force it would probably start the War to End All Wars.
    • The problem is essentially the same as with any other technology we've developed: it's evolving orders of magnitude more quickly than humans themselves are evolving, physically

      We're getting fat?

      and socio-politically.

      Well, yeah: technology increasingly gives regular folks the kind of power only kings used to have.

      Will there, eventually, have to be one global governing body? In my opinion, yes,

      I don't think so. The only way that would happen is through a totalitarian regime, but totalitarian regimes can't exi

    • by doug141 ( 863552 )

      Google (and Baidu) is learning to recognize letters, numbers, images, faces, the spoken word, more complex things every day, not unlike a baby. Eventually, Google will recognize our internet of things (with exploits), including everyone's phone, and medical implants, and DARPA's robot progeny. Maybe a human, perhaps one of the AI experts recently hired by Google, will be at the helm, maybe not, that just changes who has total control. If Google (or Baidu) wants to grow (it's that or be conquered by that whi

    • I agree with your premise and disagree with your conclusions. Yes, technology is making nation states and borders irrelevant over time. No, I don't think there ever will be 'one world government' that people will listen to or care about. Government is a system of oppression via violence. The kind of reach that the one world government would have to have is not feasible and not desirable either. One world dictatorship is what you are talking about. One world slavery.

      No, I think the internet and other

      • Government is a system of oppression via violence.

        You might want to try living somwhere where there is no government. (Other than your basement).

    • by Sloppy ( 14984 )

      The problem is essentially the same as with any other technology we've developed: it's evolving orders of magnitude more quickly than humans themselves are evolving, physically and socio-politically.

      Physically and socio-politically?

      I think you're implying that without the tech, future humans would be more adapted to better the consequences of tech. I call bullshit.

      I don't know if we're much brainier than we were 5k years ago, but if we are, tech is what allowed us to put those precious nutrients and energ

  • by Lawrence_Bird ( 67278 ) on Saturday June 13, 2015 @09:03AM (#49903583) Homepage

    to demand France suck my dick every morning. Somehow I doubt that's going to happen either.

  • by plopez ( 54068 ) on Saturday June 13, 2015 @09:04AM (#49903585) Journal

    Words and phrases like 'hideous', 'food poisoning', and 'to hell with this'. The article needs to be withdrawn, edited, and resubmitted. Otherwise I can't take it seriously. Highly unprofessional.

    • The most you can hope for is that it is not hidden.

    • Words and phrases like 'hideous', 'food poisoning', and 'to hell with this'. The article needs to be withdrawn, edited, and resubmitted. Otherwise I can't take it seriously. Highly unprofessional.

      Shouldn't this be labeled as "Funny"? I mean, this is slashdot. Do you really expect anything like "professional" editing?

      FWIW, I find the words pretty appropriate. If you use the Internet, you better take them seriously.

  • by petes_PoV ( 912422 ) on Saturday June 13, 2015 @09:33AM (#49903639)
    ... is sauce for the gander.

    So if any one country arbitrarily gives itself the right to globally police the internet, decide what should be allowed, prosecute (according to it's national laws) content it deems unlawful, and punish people - even people in other countries - for things that happen on it, then every other country cannot be denied.

  • Google's response (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JimDarkmagic ( 1339257 ) on Saturday June 13, 2015 @09:45AM (#49903677)

    Release a statement to all prominent french news outlets:

    Citizens of France

    Due to unreasonable demands of your governing bodies detailed at www.google.com/FrenchWithdrawl, Google will be withdrawing from the French market in 30 days. This includes all Google services - GMail, Google search, Youtube, Zagat, maps, flight information, Android, and others listed at www.google.com/FrenchWithdrawl. We feel we must protect the rights of the other 97% of our customers that live outside of France.

    You have 30 days to download all of your data using the "Download" button at www.google.com/FrenchWithdrawl. On the 31st day, no service will be provided to anyone within France for a minimum for 6 months. Also, no services regarding France will be provided for people based out of France - no maps, no search, no Youtube, none of the services listed at www.google.com/FrenchWithdrawl.

    One final note from outside the PR department: Don't bother with VPN, proxy, Tor, or any other half-baked obfuscation schemes because we'll know. Why? Because we're Google.

    Love,
    Google.

    Threaten to grind their social and work lives to a halt in 30 days and effectively wipe them off the face of the internet for everyone but China (use Baidu) and Russia (use Yandex) and they'll think twice before pulling shit like this.

  • by Luthair ( 847766 ) on Saturday June 13, 2015 @09:54AM (#49903721)

    I think it depends on precisely what they're asking for here. To me the TLD accessed is a red herring by Google, if the EU wants the filter to apply to its citizens its not unreasonable it would apply to all of Google's domains. Though that should not mean the filter would apply to folks outside the EU accessing those domains.

    This is also the pot calling the kettle black. The USA frequently attempts to govern outside its national boundaries, see the recent FIFA investigation as a recent example.

    • The fifa investigation is related to actions taken WITHIN the US. With US BANKS. IDIOT. Can we put you on ignore? You are a shill or stupid.
  • 'nuff said

  • It's corporate censorship. Google can opt out of doing business in France. Or China. Or the U.S. Or it can comply. It will comply.

    This is why we can't let corporations run the world. They're in it for money, not principle or human rights or whatever. They don't have ideals... they are like sociopaths that are in it for themselves. That's not to say that they're not useful, but they shouldn't be in charge of politics.

    Hate to say it, but this problem isn't going to go away. The internet will have to become

  • Not that the topic has any, but the only link is to a poorly written blog you simply copied the first few lines out of, with the only link going to a paywalled WSJ article.

    If that's what's necessary for a front page on /., I could offer an article on a miracle breakthrough in the cure on Asperger. Just gimme an hour to make it up.

  • ... news at 11 :)

    Look at it from their PoV: the French have a law, and their civil-code attitude to the law is to enforce on principle, not to the letter as English common law. Loophole closing rather than toleration (which might be applied wholesale to certain violators.)

    Some well-intentioned person probably argued against RTBF by pointing out that VPN bypasses geolocation. So the Prosecutors were informed and instead of abandoning an impractical (if not stupid) law, they figured out how to close the loop

  • Seems like they are singling out one search engine to be treated differently than others. Hard for me to see how that is fair. Just because Google has been successful, is no reason that the law should not be applied evenly. I guess that is how Europe "thinks."

  • Hmm... I call them a Hypocriteopotamus.

    France is trying to force their law on other countries like the USA. France would be all upset if the USA were to do that. I see a hypocritopotamus in the room. France needs to back down and to realize how trivial they are. The UN needs to step in and remind France that they can only make laws within their own borders. Google needs to step in and just forget France.

  • by Blaskowicz ( 634489 ) on Saturday June 13, 2015 @02:01PM (#49904743)

    Try this from France : go to google.us or google.com, and you end up redirected to Google France anyway. So they don't want you to do unlocalized searches, or perhaps you have to dig deeper and learn syntax or go into "advanced research".
    On duckduckgo they seem to have anticipated I wanted to do that and there's simply a clickable toggle!

  • The cheese eatin' surrender monkey's trying to conform the world to your view.

    Reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

"So why don't you make like a tree, and get outta here." -- Biff in "Back to the Future"

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