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EU Google Your Rights Online

Google Expands 'Right To Be Forgotten' To All Global Search Results (thestack.com) 95

An anonymous reader writes: Google has confirmed that it will be updating its 'right to be forgotten' so that any hidden content under the ruling is removed from all versions of its search engine in countries where it has been approved. Until now Google had only been removing results from the originating country and European versions of its search engine, such as google.co.uk and google.de. The EU had previously asked for an extension of the rule to include all versions of Google. Last year, French data protection authority CNIL threatened the tech giant with a sanction should it not remove data from all of its global platforms – such as google.com – in addition to its European sites. Now, Google's new extension of the 'right to be forgotten' is expected to come into force over the next few weeks.
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Google Expands 'Right To Be Forgotten' To All Global Search Results

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  • How do they know (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    which articles are about you and which articles are about someone with the same name as you?

    Like, I'd hate if my results go missing because one of my samenames had my pages removed.

    • Re:How do they know (Score:5, Interesting)

      by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Thursday February 11, 2016 @10:11AM (#51486545)
      That's an interesting thought. I wonder if someone could legally change their name to something else, say a person running for election for example, and then invoke their right to be forgotten to completely torpedo all traces of that candidate for a few days in order to throw an election. A bit far-fetched, but I am somewhat curious as to how well it would work out.

      I guess someone with a common name could test this out just to see if it removes results for other people as well.
      • by pr0fessor ( 1940368 ) on Thursday February 11, 2016 @11:03AM (#51486869)

        My question is why are they not having information that "violate their privacy, or no longer relevant to public interest" removed at the source. Why manipulate search results if the original is removed...

        • by davecb ( 6526 )

          One of the cases considered was one in which the person could not get standing to remove a foreign original, but could argue that Google was keeping an excerpt, a link and possibly a copy in the EU, and so could be ordered to remove "their copy". It's not obvious how this will play out against opposing EU judgements that links are not publications.

          "Hard cases make bad laws", Hodgens v. Hodgens (1837).

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Now we'll have to use Bing or one of the other search engines to find that data.

        • by KitFox ( 712780 )

          The linked article is a short version of the Reuters article [reuters.com] that is much more informative.

          To address the concerns of European authorities, the Internet giant will soon start polishing search results across all its websites when someone conducts a search from the country where the removal request originated, a person close to the company said.

          That means that if a German resident asks Google to de-list a link popping up under searches for his or her name, the link will not be visible on any version of Google's website, including Google.com, when the search engine is accessed from Germany.

          The company will filter search results according to a user's IP address, meaning people accessing Google from outside Europe will not be affected, the person added.

          So once again Anti-Geoblocking/Anti-Georestriction VPN becomes the solution for folks.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Obviously that would never work. The right only works for certain specific things, and standing for election isn't one of them. It doesn't erase your name from search results, it stops certain sites appearing that relate to the reason you invoked the right. For example, if you asked for references to a spent conviction to be removed, sites listing that conviction would no longer show up when people searched for your name.

        Asking for results about your election bid to be removed would fail because there is a

      • Or Nissan Motor Company Ltd invokes the right for "Nissan" to be forgotten for just long enough to affect Nissan Computer's [wikipedia.org] business to the extent that it goes out of business and/or agrees to sell the domain name to the automotive company.
        • Re:How do they know (Score:4, Interesting)

          by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdotNO@SPAMworf.net> on Thursday February 11, 2016 @01:34PM (#51487959)

          Or Nissan Motor Company Ltd invokes the right for "Nissan" to be forgotten for just long enough to affect Nissan Computer's business to the extent that it goes out of business and/or agrees to sell the domain name to the automotive company.

          That's not how Right to be Forgotten works.

          Right to be Forgotten is an application of traditional meatspace record-keeping. Remember how in many places, after you've been convicted, after so many years that conviction is no longer on the books?

          Or take your credit history - it only covers the past 7 years with older records, including things like bankruptcies and all that simply "forgotten" and expunged.

          Right to be Forgotten is just like that.

          First, it does not delete anything - it cannot. It merely breaks the link between a search term and the link it would point to.

          Let's say you went to jail a decade ago and served your time and are completely free. You've lived a virtuous life since then, and a criminal record check would basically show you to be clean because your crime was wiped off the books. But a site archiving imprisonment records still lists you as being in prison. Right to be forgotten means you can break a link between your name and that site - you've done your time, and the state considers you to be clean and you can pass a criminal records check. But then an employer Googles you and sees that you were in jail. Is that fair? By law you did pass and such ancient history should be wiped. But the site showing the information has done no wrong either, so it would be bad to demand that they remove the information.

          Or say you declared bankruptcy a decade ago. Since employers are doing credit history checks now, your bankruptcy is no longer shown to them for several years. But if they Google you, because some site archived news like that, you show up.

          That's what right to be forgotten is all about. It only applies to individuals and only when the legal limit for such news has expired and is no longer relevant. So if you have a bankruptcy in the past 7 years, you can't invoke right to be forgotten to remove it off the internet - it's still relevant after all.

          Or think of it another way - without right to be forgotten, a bunch of children are going to learn the hard way about the repercussions of their indiscretions. After all, in most jurisdictions, once you turn 18, your record is wiped and you start afresh - this includes any run-ins with the law (unless you were tried as an adult). Well, right to be forgotten lets you break all the links between the bad stuff you did as a adolescent teen and also start afresh

    • by Anonymous Coward

      For what it's worth, a person exercising their right to be forgotten has to specify the exact URL(s) to be suppressed -- it isn't just a blanket "remove all search results about John Doe" where every other John Doe gets caught up as collateral damage. You're not likely to be affected by someone else's request.

      Now it's *possible* that a) someone has the same name as you, b) that person has a grudge against you, c) that person files a right to be forgotten request, d) that person maliciously includes your URL

  • by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Thursday February 11, 2016 @10:04AM (#51486501)

    "Me too!" said Star Wars kid.

  • Instead of reprogramming your own memories to suit your perceived ideal, erase it ineffectively?

    This is the reverse fail of the popular tenet.

    "Well, if it is not on the internet, it isn't true."

    • by Jhon ( 241832 ) on Thursday February 11, 2016 @02:04PM (#51488311) Homepage Journal

      "Instead of reprogramming your own memories to suit your perceived ideal, erase it ineffectively?"

      I didn't get that from the article at all. I don't believe it's trying to change perceived reality but provide some 'privacy'. This is not a 'bad' thing.

      Example: My daughter (lets younger than a teenager) was kidnapped a few years ago -- and her name and/or picture were all over the radio/tv/internet before she was recovered. It's taken a few years for the search results of her name to dwindle (with me running around to various news sites asking them to please remove my daughters name and blur her photo). Honestly, most news sites were very helpful with this -- it just took time and a hell of a lot of 'foot work' finding the right people to talk to. Blogs on the other hand were a mixed bag. Some were "no problem" while others were outright hostile (I used the same polite request to all sources -- basically copy-paste).

      But now, search for her name and nothing on any search engine comes up page 1 or 2.

      THAT info screams to me to be removed. Not the NEWS but instead of a victims real name use something else. Instead of photos, blur them.

      What kids dont search their names on the internet -- or their friends names? How is it helpful to have kids re-traumatized with nosy questions (at best) and mean/nasty comments at worst? I believe we have the right to keep some things private -- and we can argue this if you like but I believe very few people would argue about victims privacy and fewer still about children's privacy.

  • Bad Summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 11, 2016 @10:08AM (#51486519)

    From the article;

    "The company will filter search results according to a user's IP address, meaning people accessing Google from outside Europe will not be affected, the person added."

    • Ie, instead of simply using google.com we now need a proxy to get uncensored results. A sad day.

    • How will you know? I don't trust them not to censor global searches.

      • Because there would be too much outrage. This is where we in the US must differ from our European colleagues and demand the US impose its will on the world.

        I hope in these countries for censored results, they return a page with "Certain results censored because a man with power demanded it, so you cannot see it because you do not have his permission. His name, address, and phone number are..."

  • No global deletion (Score:4, Informative)

    by buchner.johannes ( 1139593 ) on Thursday February 11, 2016 @10:10AM (#51486541) Homepage Journal

    [Google] will soon start polishing search results across all its websites when someone conducts a search from the country where the removal request originated, a person close to the company said.

    So it will remove for all users requesting from France (or whichever country the request was made for). Requests from other countries remain unaffected. TFS spreads FUD about right-to-be-forgotten policies.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Most people posting on the previous story didn't seem to understand that rather important distinction either. My guess is that the AC who posted the story was similarly confused.

      Allow me to chuckle at all those people who claimed Google would never agree to this and simply pull out of France too. I'm glad to see that European privacy laws have real teeth.

      • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday February 11, 2016 @11:22AM (#51486987) Homepage Journal

        Allow me to chuckle at all those people who claimed Google would never agree to this and simply pull out of France too. I'm glad to see that European privacy laws have real teeth.

        And I'm sad to see that they are interfering with free speech.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Privacy is a fundamental right just like free speech. When rights collide, one has to draw the line at an arbitrary place. The place chosen by US and EU folks might not be the same.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          Remind me again who is having their free speech silenced by this?

          Before you answer, consider:

          1. There is no requirement for the material to be removed from the source web site.

          2. Google still index and list that site for other search terms.

          3. Why does Google have free speech rights that normal companies don't, e.g. credit references can't report things that happened long ago by law, and can't claim free speech allows them to.

          • Remind me again who is having their free speech silenced by this

            Google. And in practice, the people who rely on it to have their content be found (i.e. everyone else).

            3. Why does Google have free speech rights that normal companies don't, e.g. credit references can't report things that happened long ago by law, and can't claim free speech allows them to.

            Maybe those companies should? The solution to "some idiots excessively weight events that happened 20 years ago" is not censorship of facts, it's to educat

            • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

              In the EU, companies are not people. Their business activities don't have freedom of speech, only individuals do.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            You blatantly misrepresent the law on the credit report. The credit report company may give that information, but that information may not be used to make credit decisions. It is not the speech, but the action based on the speech that is prohibited. Therefore, that information is not used in the credit score. As that information is not useable by their clients, and could be viewed as a court as being used just by it's presence. Therefore, the credit reporting companies do not report it. That's a business de

          • 1. There is no requirement for the material to be removed from the source web site.

            Which is precisely the problem with these right to be forgotten laws. They're shooting the messenger, not the originator of the message. If it's really so damn important that this information be removed from the web, then they should be going after the sites which still host the "wrong" or "outdated" information.

            The only reason Google (and other search engines) are targets of these laws is because it's easier to go afte

            • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

              It's not about removing material from the web. It's about a for profit company using information about people to make money, and being subject to the rules that govern that. It's about going from a world where stuff is forgotten in old microfiche files to one where decades old dirt is a few keystrokes away.

              • It's about going from a world where stuff is forgotten in old microfiche files to one where decades old dirt is a few keystrokes away.

                Yes, that is called progress. It's a world in which you can make the best possible decision because you have the most possible information. Keep cracking that buggy whip, though, and celebrating people being able to hide their misdeeds.

                • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

                  celebrating people being able to hide their misdeeds.

                  I do celebrate that. I don't know where you are from, but in Europe we rehabilitate people and try to re-integrate them into society. Obviously serious crimes can never be forgotten, but most minor convictions are considered "spent" after a certain amount of time and no longer have to be declared to employers, insurance companies and the like.

                  Branding someone for life because of one mistake is barbaric.

                  • Branding someone for life because of one mistake is barbaric.

                    I agree. And when some people hide their minor misdeeds to the point that they seem better-than-human, it interferes with society moving forward and realizing that this shit is trivial.

      • by fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) on Thursday February 11, 2016 @12:39PM (#51487489) Journal

        These aren't "privacy laws". They are simple censorship. The information on Google is not private.

      • Most people posting on the previous story didn't seem to understand that rather important distinction either. My guess is that the AC who posted the story was similarly confused.

        Allow me to chuckle at all those people who claimed Google would never agree to this and simply pull out of France too. I'm glad to see that European privacy laws have real teeth.

        Translation: "I'm glad men with police behind them who deign to deny me their permission to read things they don't want me to have real teeth."

        What a proud fuckin' moment for the free west.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          So you wouldn't mind people reading your bank statements, or perhaps your country's nuclear launch codes?

          No one is for absolute freedom of speech, or the absolute freedom to read anything. That's dumb. The only question is where you draw the line.

          • No, you're turning it into who draws the 'line'. Nobody has that right. You can 'request' that information be erased. You have no right to demand it.

            And "launch codes"? Please!

            Speech is the only "weapon" a poor man has. Of course the right is absolute.

    • What do you mean? The summary says the the same thing; it's only the headline that's misleading:

      any hidden content under the ruling is removed from all versions of its search engine in countries where it has been approved.

    • Doesn't matter, it's still bogus, and it's censorship that must be circumvented. Without resistance, it can only get worse, and the disease will spread.

  • by cloud.pt ( 3412475 ) on Thursday February 11, 2016 @10:13AM (#51486549)
    The right itself should only apply to EU citizens, per my understanding. So this should mean people from non-EU countries should still not be able to get "forgotten" approval. Correct me if I'm wrong.
    • If you truly believe that, then that right there is admission that this law is wrong. If you truly believe people have a fundamental right to be forgotten, then that should apply to all people, not just your citizens. Same reason it's not ok to rob or kill foreign tourists, or why U.S. Constitutional protections apply even to illegal immigrants. People are deemed to have these rights simply by being people. Human rights are not granted by the goodwill of some bureaucrat in a government office only to th
      • I was just stating my assumption of what this "expansion" might really mean. I, for one, think the right to be forgotten is something that, like in real life, will never enter full effect as the actual "users" of the right will still pop up in other databases or even popular knowledge that they are what they want to be forgotten about. And my generic opinion about half-measures - they are cumbersome, useless, and ultimately trivial. And this is coming from a European citizen that has had mild cases of wanti
  • to dig up dirt on people.
  • I want to know if they'll be censoring my results here in Iceland (we're in Europe but not the EU - but we are in the EFTA)

  • Who will be the first to legally change their name to "microsoft.com", and then demand to be forgotten?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    What a bunch of pussies. Your new "refugee" friends will ensure that you are forgotten with three generations.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 11, 2016 @10:58AM (#51486825)

    In Orwell's 1984, Winston Smith job was to re-write historical/news paper articles to reflect the latest lies from politicians.
    Not an exact corollary, but...
    Also, twitter took down Politwoops which archived politicians older tweets so they could not go back and delete tweets where they changed lie X for lie Y and claimed to have never said whatever it was.

    Just pointing it out...

    • by ShaunC ( 203807 )

      FYI, Twitter restored API access to Politwoops, and that site is back online.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      In Orwell's 1984, Winston Smith job was to re-write historical/news paper articles to reflect the latest lies from politicians.
      Not an exact corollary, but...
      Also, twitter took down Politwoops which archived politicians older tweets so they could not go back and delete tweets where they changed lie X for lie Y and claimed to have never said whatever it was.

      Just pointing it out...

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  • Its Scripting time! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ramriot ( 1354111 ) on Thursday February 11, 2016 @11:06AM (#51486895)

    Time to start developing that 'Write to be Unforgotten' search extension then.

    Been planning this idea for a while and now seems the right time to do it. i.e.

    Code a browser extension that using VPN tunnels to compare local and other nationality search results, adds back in redacted results with 'Locally Censored' tags, plus tag results seen locally but not elsewhere with 'Censored in: CN, EU etc'.

    Also add CDN support to anonymously cache and test historical searches for global censorship.

    Anyone interested in assisting or Beta-Testing?

    • +1
      I cannot help code, but I'll happily evangelize to my family and friends.

      Summer of 2014 I was at a party in the UK, seated next to an interesting woman who had been a reporter at Reuters and was currently working for a different outfit, "reporting on tech" for a very large organization based in Brussels. We spent an hour or more discussing the right to be forgotten. I simply could not make her understand the perils. My main argument about the dangers of the erasure of history were just not persuasive
  • Now's the time... Stuff like this make it pretty damn worthless. We need a simple indexer, not a censor emitting propaganda.

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