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Privacy and public information

Joe Schmoe does a Google search on his own name and finds something embarrassing that he did, said, or posted ninety-leven years ago. He requests that Google (insert your favorite search engine here; the case applies to all of them) remove that document from its search results on the basis of his "right to be forgotten". Google is initially reluctant, on grounds that the document is authentic history, and Google doesn't want to rewrite or censor history. Joe Schmoe takes it to court, and in an environment of strongly anti-Google public opinion, wins. The EU court recognizes a "right to be forgotten" (sort of -- see the report for the nuances), but also recognizes the public's legitimate interest in uncensored history, particularly if Joe Schmoe happens to be a public figure, and the publisher's right to free expression. Google is given a few months to develop procedures (administrative, legal, and technical) to respond to such requests, which have since numbered in the tens or hundreds of thousands.

Anyway, Google convened a panel of outside experts to advise it on how to handle the "right to be forgotten". Its public report has just been released. I've just started reading it, but it should be a good read for anybody interested in online privacy and censorship issues.

Comments

Thank you for the link.