Google Starts Removing European Search Results For "Right to be Forgotten"

Google Starts Removing European Search Results For "Right to be Forgotten"

The European Union's top court ruled in May that individuals have the right to request removal of results in searches of their own names.

Starting today, if you search for a name from google.fr or google.co.uk, the search engine will return a notification with the results that says, "Some results may have been removed under data protection law in Europe." The search engine has started removing search results following a ruling in May by the European Union's top court. The ruling states that individuals have the "right to be forgotten", and can request removal of results from Internet searches for their own names. Today, Google completed updates to its technical infrastructure and began implementing requests for removing results. Google set up a web form for removal requests and has received more than 41,000 requests since the ruling.

The lawsuit began in 2010 with Spanish lawyer Mario Costeja González, who made a complaint to the Spanish Data Protection Agency. González wanted an auction notice for his home, which had been published by a Spanish newspaper in 1998 and indexed by Google, removed from both the newspaper's website and the Google search results. González argued that the results from 1998 were no longer relevant, and infringed on his privacy. Press rights protected the newspaper, but on May 13, 2014 the European Court of Justice ruled that Google must provide individuals with an option to remove search results that are "inadequate, irrelevant [...] or excessive" and also "outdated". The ruling left Google to arbitrate which requests met the requirements of the ruling and should therefore be granted.

Google had earlier stated it would include a notification that search results had been removed for certain searches, but EU regulators opposed the idea. Instead, Google has added its blanket statement to all searches that appear to be for a person's name when using Google's European search websites. Google already includes similar alerts that results has been removed from searches due to copyright takedowns or pirated content.

Making Google the arbitrator of which requests are valid has raised significant privacy and freedom of speech concerns. Google's FAQ for removal requests states, "In evaluating your request, we will look at whether the results include outdated information about your private life. We'll also look at whether there's a public interest in the information remaining in our search results-for example, if it relates to financial scams, professional malpractice, criminal convictions or your public conduct as a government official (elected or unelected)." While removing a search result may reduce the number of people who find embarrassing information about you online, the ruling only requires that Google remove the result from searches for individual names, not all search results. Plus, the information that is being suppressed from the search results remains available on the Internet, it just doesn't show up in the results from Google. I can think of some very valid reasons (and a few nefarious ones) to request removal of information from a website, but it seems to me that taking down the page that is hosting that information is more important than removing it from search results. What do you think?

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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Personally I think the purpose of the law is fantastic. There's always going to be really crap stuff out there from our childhoods that may not reflect on who we are today. I'm sure this will still be abused in some way or another, though, since it could potentially hide things like corruption.

However, THE INTERNET NEVER FORGETS. Forums will still be sharing screen caps and cached web pages, so word of mouth will still keep things in the spotlight if they need to be.

What do I think, well...

I think it's just some EU folks trying to prove they're actually doing something for their money.

We know how Google handles requests to remove illegal results: with an automated script. So we can wait for people trying to purge their ugly past (we all know the exception rules won't apply any longer once it's running) or harming others by removing search results in their name.

On a different note, we had a fun little event in Germany not long ago:

Some politician called Sebastian Edathy was stupid enough to obtain child porn over his workstation in the Bundestag. Right before things got ugly, he made a run for it, hides somewhere in Europe and tries to negate the definite proof of his crimes by saying the log files from the bundestagsserver should have been deleted long ago because they're usually stored for three months and therefore haven't been legally obtained. Long story short: a couple of weeks later the Bundestag decided to reduce the storage time of log files from three months to one week while debating about storing the connection data of regular citizens for half a year without any reason.

Why am I telling this story? Because when some european country or the EU decides to actually increase privacy rights rather than putting more holes into them than a leaking sponge, they usually have sinister reasons to do so.

Sounds like they're just cutting out the middle man, it will make things more difficult but the info's still there, seems kinda pointless.

This has really got to be a huge pain on Google's part to filter the search algorithm like this.

Would someone just be able to use a different country's Google domain to bypass this?

I find it weird why Google is targeted by this law. Why not let people have the right to take down the source?

Yeah, I gotta disagree with the idea that people have the right to be forgotten. As pro-privacy as I am, being able to demand that people don't remember you tips the line of both censoring free speech and rewriting history, neither of which I can get behind. To word it more clearly, it seems too easy for people to try to black out public embarrassments / controversies, as well as any criticism or other less-than-favorable opinions of them. There's a big difference between someone not wanting to be monitored in their own home and wanting to wipe personal failures or misconduct out of public awareness.

As an extreme example, imagine if the guy responsible for one of those major oil spills could try to purge his involvement from all major search engines. That's not the kind of thing anyone should have the right to do, nor is it the kind of thing anyone should have the right to make forgotten.

This is a terrible law. It will be used by powerful people to cover up past crimes and will put undo burden on Google to enforce it. If I were Google, instead of having a Learn More link, I would have a link to the American server to include only those search results that were censored due to this law.

Here's rule number one of the internet:

What gets on the internet stays on the internet.

Many things fall through the cracks - comics, music, people - but most do not. And everything always exists in some form or another.

This is a good idea, but not a fruitful one. It's still going to give people comfort, though, and I guess I'll make a request when I have the time. So it's not all for naught, at least.

Chaosritter:

-snip-

On a different note, we had a fun little event in Germany not long ago:

Some politician called Sebastian Edathy was stupid enough to obtain child porn over his workstation in the Bundestag. Right before things got ugly, he made a run for it, hides somewhere in Europe and tries to negate the definite proof of his crimes by saying the log files from the bundestagsserver should have been deleted long ago because they're usually stored for three months and therefore haven't been legally obtained. Long story short: a couple of weeks later the Bundestag decided to reduce the storage time of log files from three months to one week while debating about storing the connection data of regular citizens for half a year without any reason.

Why am I telling this story? Because when some european country or the EU decides to actually increase privacy rights rather than putting more holes into them than a leaking sponge, they usually have sinister reasons to do so.

keep in mind that the "Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Finanzen" allready has the 'right' to store your data for up to 10 years for the purpose of collecting the taxes and the enforcing of tax laws.
the recent decision of the Bundesanwaltschaft to investigate the taping of chancellor Merkels mobile but not to investigate the collecting of data of normal citizens by the NSA also draws a pretty clear picture of what is happening in our country.
technically, at this point our government, or at least several branches thereof, operates outside of or against the Grundgesetz, especially Art. 1 Abs. 1 GG "Die Würde des Menschen ist unantastbar. Sie zu achten und zu schützen ist Verpflichtung aller staatlichen Gewalt." and the laws derived from this. however, since the GG is not an enforceable law there is little hope that we actually have a chance to reclaim our democracy.

OT: smoke and mirrors, the data is still there, anyone with a vested interest will still be able to find the data, especially since the court ruling so far only applies to google.

Alright. Everyone repeat after me Mario. Costeja. González. Plaster that guy's name. I want see guy Koni'ed by the end of the week. Also, way to follow in China's footsteps, Europe.

Nimcha:
I find it weird why Google is targeted by this law. Why not let people have the right to take down the source?

European Laws don't apply in shang-hai, USA, Canada, Mexico, or Brazil.

It's the internet. Also there is the whole freedom of speech thing. As long as the in formation is not false or untrue, well then you have a right to say it.

Though just to screw with some heads. I'm considering changing my name to Mic Rosoft. Anyone wanna joinme and change their name Name to E Agames, and maybe Uni Te D'States

Chaosritter:
What do I think, well...

I think it's just some EU folks trying to prove they're actually doing something for their money.

We know how Google handles requests to remove illegal results: with an automated script. So we can wait for people trying to purge their ugly past (we all know the exception rules won't apply any longer once it's running) or harming others by removing search results in their name.

On a different note, we had a fun little event in Germany not long ago:

Some politician called Sebastian Edathy was stupid enough to obtain child porn over his workstation in the Bundestag. Right before things got ugly, he made a run for it, hides somewhere in Europe and tries to negate the definite proof of his crimes by saying the log files from the bundestagsserver should have been deleted long ago because they're usually stored for three months and therefore haven't been legally obtained. Long story short: a couple of weeks later the Bundestag decided to reduce the storage time of log files from three months to one week while debating about storing the connection data of regular citizens for half a year without any reason.

Why am I telling this story? Because when some european country or the EU decides to actually increase privacy rights rather than putting more holes into them than a leaking sponge, they usually have sinister reasons to do so.

Sounds like the influential are trying to cover their asses. Didn't something like that happen here in the US not long ago but it was with the government monitoring citizens e-mail and the like. "If you've done nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide". Goes both ways, these guys got nothing to hide then they shouldn't be "forgotten" this sounds like a big pile of hooey.

This doesn't increase privacy. Increasing privacy would be stopping people snooping on you or finding things out about you in the first place, screwing around with search results is nothing to do with it. This is censorship, an extremely strange law about censorship in which people can hinder web traffic to sites they don't like for vague and essentially undefined reasons. Also this censorship is monitored and approved by Google (and presumably other search engines) themselves for some reason, which is just ridiculous. The potential for abuse is huge, as removing a site from Google could kill it's income and traffic, or suppress unwanted information or viewpoints, and the potential for improving privacy is non-existent.

From my perspective, it seems like this law is probably just stupid and fails at its purpose, a misguided attempt at doing something good. I hope that's true, because the only alternative I can see to that is that its purpose is nothing to do with privacy at all, and it was actually enacted for a more sinister reason (more control of information by Google and search indexing companies? Less access to incriminating information on public officials or other scandals? I don't really know).

Nimcha:
I find it weird why Google is targeted by this law. Why not let people have the right to take down the source?

The sources in many of these cases are online archives of newspapers so they are protected by freedom of the press. Google does not have the same protections.

I wonder how people would react if this law had said that a person had the right to walk into a library and start tearing out pages from any book that mentioned them in a negative or embarrassing light.

Admittedly, it's not quite the same thing. There is at least some level of oversight, and it's more like removing cards from the card catalog (not that those exist in most libraries anymore), but the ultimate effect is intended to be the same.

There is no right to be forgotten. There is a right not to do stupid shit.

Start exercising it.

Ok, that title is very misleading. Google removing search results for "right to be forgotten" is not the same as Google removing search results due to the "right to be forgotten".

OT: As much as I am in favour of privacy on the internet I kind of agree with Google's original stance that it's up to the websites that are actually hosting obsolete or incorrect data to remove it rather than Google's responsibility to not find it. Besides, despite everyone forgetting this fact Google is not the only search engine in existence.

We'll also look at whether there's a public interest in the information remaining in our search results-for example, if it relates to financial scams, professional malpractice, criminal convictions or your public conduct as a government official (elected or unelected).

I wonder if many people read this part, or if the boundless cynicism of the internet caused them to immediately forget about it. I'd imagine anyone that tries and fails to hide search results for one of the listed reasons will have way more attention drawn to it than if they never attempted to.

it's a good idea but will be abused by politician douchefucks, for sure

There seems to be a lot of backlash against this decision. I agree with the decision of the European Courts 100%. Everyone is looking at this from the wrong perspective. Everyone seems to be thinking people are going to be using this to cover up information. My idea is: Do I really want any of my information out there? No, I don't. People forget that anonymity protects victims more so than it does criminals. This should be standard everywhere. Or websites like LinkedIn should be searchable, as people who use it would like. But maybe not every single thing about me should searchable. I try to keep my internet footprint as small as possible, but anytime I slip up I would rather Google erred on the side of caution and it just wasn't automatically searchable.

Raesvelg:
I wonder how people would react if this law had said that a person had the right to walk into a library and start tearing out pages from any book that mentioned them in a negative or embarrassing light.

Admittedly, it's not quite the same thing. There is at least some level of oversight, and it's more like removing cards from the card catalog (not that those exist in most libraries anymore), but the ultimate effect is intended to be the same.

There is no right to be forgotten. There is a right not to do stupid shit.

Start exercising it.

As humans, we have a right to make a mistake that doesn't hurt anyone but us. We are then supposed to learn from those mistakes, which is a whole other conversation. But people have the right to move on from past mistakes (within reason of course).

Your analogy is specious at best. If I like a politician and defend them on the internet, for example, and then down the road that guy turns out to be a pedophile, should I always look like I'm defending a pedophile? No, but people will take that information out of context and show it that way if they have a reason to.

BigTuk:
It's the internet. Also there is the whole freedom of speech thing. As long as the in formation is not false or untrue, well then you have a right to say it.

This is TERRIBLE logic. You think I should be able to say anything as long as its true? How about if I wanted to post all your personal information? You name, address, ssn, bank accounts, medical records, all your user names and passwords, your complete schedule, everything of value you own. All that same information for all your family members as well. What if I just wanted to stream 24 video of everything you do? Or just email your boss, parnets, children, and the local pta a link to every porno you have ever viewed.

There are plenty perfectly mundane and totally legal things you just don't want other people to know about you.

Personally I would love to have the same right in the US. I'm sick and tired of every jacka.. I know being able to post any of my personal information and photos. All my relatives know that I don't use social media, that I don't want anything about me posted. And yet they do anyway. Some of them think its some kind of game to just do so because I hate it. I should be able keep morons from posting whatever they please about me.

How many people have found out one of their stupid relatives created pages for them without permission? One of my relatives is a teacher. Her daughter made a page for her without her knowing and started posting photos. She was very mad when she found out, especially since her students had already seen the page before she could get it taken down.

Raziel:

BigTuk:
It's the internet. Also there is the whole freedom of speech thing. As long as the in formation is not false or untrue, well then you have a right to say it.

This is TERRIBLE logic. You think I should be able to say anything as long as its true? How about if I wanted to post all your personal information? You name, address, ssn, bank accounts, medical records, all your user names and passwords, your complete schedule, everything of value you own. All that same information for all your family members as well. What if I just wanted to stream 24 video of everything you do?

Sigh, you deliberately misunderstand something to make your own point. Of course there are exceptions! It only extends as far as what newspapers are allowed.

Personally I would love to have the same right in the US. I'm sick and tired of every jacka.. I know being able to post any of my personal information and photos. All my relatives know that I don't use social media, that I don't want anything about me posted. And yet they do anyway. Some of them think its some kind of game to just do so because I hate it. I should be able keep morons from posting whatever they please about me.

How many people have found out one of their stupid relatives created pages for them without permission? One of my relatives is a teacher. Her daughter made a page for her without her knowing and started posting photos. She was very mad when she found out, especially since her students had already seen the page before she could get it taken down.

Not me. Because most my relatives ain't dicks. But you do realize that all this law says is that Google can't show the results in it's search pertaining to a person's name. It doesn't remove the data so even if the big search engines decided to adopt a small search engine could choose not to, so long as they're based oin some shady country they couldn't really be stopped.

So in the end this doesn't really change much. But yeah, the solution to your problem. quit hanging around and talking to your dick relatives. Then they won't have anything to post. I'm not calling them dicks to be mean, but that's sorta what I call people who do things that they know another party will not like and has asked them not to do,

Nimcha:
I find it weird why Google is targeted by this law. Why not let people have the right to take down the source?

Because that's really hard to enforce?

I have an entry on mobygames.com, for instance. I didn't put it there, an obsessive who combs the credits of indie games put it there.

I don't have an account on mobygames.com, and I don't want one, especially not if I'm trying to disappear from the internet. So, I'd have to ask Mobygames unofficially to remove my page from their site. This is obviously ripe with potential for maliciousness if they automatically accept. So we'd have to have a big back-and-forth with ID scans, pleading, and double-checks.

An acceptable and MUCH easier alternative is for Google to destroy all search links to my name, which covers much more than Mobygames.

BigTuk:

Raziel:

BigTuk:
It's the internet. Also there is the whole freedom of speech thing. As long as the in formation is not false or untrue, well then you have a right to say it.

This is TERRIBLE logic. You think I should be able to say anything as long as its true? How about if I wanted to post all your personal information? You name, address, ssn, bank accounts, medical records, all your user names and passwords, your complete schedule, everything of value you own. All that same information for all your family members as well. What if I just wanted to stream 24 video of everything you do?

Sigh, you deliberately misunderstand something to make your own point. Of course there are exceptions! It only extends as far as what newspapers are allowed.

What did I miss understand? He was talking about "free speech" and I was not even arguing he was wrong. I was stating there need to be more restrictions on what you can post than just being true. And no one is talking about newspapers.

BigTuk:

Raziel:
Personally I would love to have the same right in the US. I'm sick and tired of every jacka.. I know being able to post any of my personal information and photos. All my relatives know that I don't use social media, that I don't want anything about me posted. And yet they do anyway. Some of them think its some kind of game to just do so because I hate it. I should be able keep morons from posting whatever they please about me.

How many people have found out one of their stupid relatives created pages for them without permission? One of my relatives is a teacher. Her daughter made a page for her without her knowing and started posting photos. She was very mad when she found out, especially since her students had already seen the page before she could get it taken down.

Not me. Because most my relatives ain't dicks. But you do realize that all this law says is that Google can't show the results in it's search pertaining to a person's name. It doesn't remove the data so even if the big search engines decided to adopt a small search engine could choose not to, so long as they're based oin some shady country they couldn't really be stopped.

So in the end this doesn't really change much. But yeah, the solution to your problem. quit hanging around and talking to your dick relatives. Then they won't have anything to post. I'm not calling them dicks to be mean, but that's sorta what I call people who do things that they know another party will not like and has asked them not to do,

1 if google doesn't bring up the information, then yeah, for a HUGE number of pc users that info might as well not exist. Sure its not a total solution. But it would be a big help.

2 Just because your relatives aren't dicks doesn't address my issue that other people can post your personal information online willy nilly even if it has no relevance to anything. There is no reason you shouldn't be able to protect your privacy. They can remove the chaff without deleting things like criminal records.

3 I cannot cut off contact with all my relatives because a couple of my cousins posted a picture of my at the christmas party. They would not think thats reasonable anymore than not going because one of the kids pulled your hair or something. And making anymore of an issue of it doesn't solve anything. It just gets a bunch of facebook threads going about how 1 person in their family either would not pose in the whole family photo or wouldn't let them post the photo. And a whole bunch of phone calls arguing with me.

Why do I get the feeling that whole European countries are going to have certain historical data removed so they can go "Lah lah lah, it never happened!"? I wouldn't put it past them to try.

terrible law. censoring internet in a very inefficient way (i looked at the form, looks like something they cant really automize due to requirement of legal documents to be submitted). Internet does not forget. ever. and trying to censor google is not going to solve provacy issues, its going to only increase them. this will allow criminals even more freedom to hide behind the "its privacy hur dur" crap while benefiting no regular people.

ID rather have them hide criminal records, at least that way there would be less discrimination in workplace against reformed criminals.

MarlaDesat:
The lawsuit began in 2010 with Spanish lawyer Mario Costeja González, who made a complaint to the Spanish Data Protection Agency. González wanted an auction notice for his home, which had been published by a Spanish newspaper in 1998 and indexed by Google, removed from both the newspaper's website and the Google search results. González argued that the results from 1998 were no longer relevant, and infringed on his privacy.

I can't help wondering if he's heard of the Streisand effect. His efforts to stop people from finding out about the auction notice have resulted in him becoming know worldwide as that guy who didn't want people to find out about an auction notice. Sure, you no longer find the notice itself when you search for his name. Instead, you find sites like this one which not only give the story about how he wanted things removed from the internet, but actually include screenshots of that specific thing itself. What's he going to do now, demand that any reports about him wanting to take information off the internet be themselves taken off the internet? And then the reports on that...

 

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