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Spanish Company Tests 'Right To Be Forgotten' Against Google

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the with-a-side-of-bacon dept.

The Internet 200

suraj.sun writes with an excerpt from an article over at Ars Technica: "Los Alfaques, a bucolic campground near the Spanish town of Tarragona, isn't happy with Google. That's because searches for 'camping Alfaques' bring up horrific images of charred human flesh — not good for business when you're trying to sell people on the idea of relaxation. The campground believes it has the right to demand that Google stop showing 'negative' links, even though the links aren't mistakes at all. Are such lawsuits an aberration, or the future of Europe's Internet experience in the wake of its new 'right to be forgotten' proposals? Legal scholars like Jeffrey Rosen remain skeptical that such a right won't lead to all sorts of problems for free expression. But in Spain, the debate continues. Last week, Los Alfaques lost its case — but only because it needed to sue (U.S.-based) Google directly. Mario Gianni, the owner of Los Alfaques, is currently deciding whether such a suit is worth pursuing."

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Godwin'd right out the gate (5, Insightful)

maugle (1369813) | more than 2 years ago | (#39181755)

Next up: Germany uses the "right to be forgotten" on all events between 1939 and 1945.

Re:Godwin'd right out the gate (4, Insightful)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 2 years ago | (#39181783)

/thread

History is history. PR and marketting be damned!

Re:Godwin'd right out the gate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39182413)

History is history. PR and marketting [sic] be damned!

And History is whatever historians write it to be.

Re:Godwin'd right out the gate (4, Insightful)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182429)

Unfortunately for those in favor of the status quo, we have a whole lot of people now writing history from a vast amount of perspectives.

Re:Godwin'd right out the gate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39182873)

I have mod points, but I can't figure out which mod is closest to "an obvious and ridiculously overused, feeble attempt to somehow be profound and subversively cool, like a Che Guevara t-shirt".

No comparison whatsoever (4, Insightful)

Latent Heat (558884) | more than 2 years ago | (#39181843)

If the owners or operators of the resort campground had any degree of responsibility, culpability, or negligence in the accident that had happened there, I might agree with your reasoning. As far as I can tell, that a petrochemical company had a hazardous load on a tanker truck blow up on the road outside the resort has absolutely no correlation or comparison with the complicity of the German people, either active or silent, in the events you describe.

You are going to have to come up with a better argument in favor of Google, a commercial entitity, in reminding people about a tragedy of which another commercial entity was an innocent victim. Your snarky post has me siding with the folks in Spain.

Re:No comparison whatsoever (5, Insightful)

jdgeorge (18767) | more than 2 years ago | (#39181901)

The events of history should not be erased simply because they are unfortunate. In my view, you have the right to pursue success, but you don't have the right to be successful. In this case, the campground operator doesn't have any right to be successful, no matter how much it wishes its context or were different.

As others have suggested, the easy solution is to choose a new name. Asking Google to "forget" is foolish, and does a disservice to people who are interested or were affected by the disaster.

Re:No comparison whatsoever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39182317)

The problem is that Google isn't just indexing content, point to the destination sites. They are archiving the content--effectively owning it--then monetizing it by selling ads, but not sharing with the content creators.

Same goes for Alexa--their first pass of the Internet Archive was scraped content and no one asked for permission to include them in the archive. Thankfully, the Internet Archive at least honors content removal notices (even those where a site owner is simply no interested in being included in the archive) and those removals ("blocked site error") continue to be honored through subsequent site designs (unlike Google Groups where previously nuked posts reappear in the new versions).

Re:No comparison whatsoever (4, Interesting)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182537)

OTOH, the campground owner does probably have the right to sue the petrochemical company for financial compensation, and likely already has.
Why should compensation for damages be more than actual damages?

Re:No comparison whatsoever (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182759)

Well, the usual reason is typically something like lost revenue. Possible reasons include your minor tourist destination being more famous for a horrible historical event than its services. Remember when everyone stopped using ReiserFS?

Re:No comparison whatsoever (4, Insightful)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182029)

a better argument in favor of Google, a commercial entitity, in reminding people about a tragedy of which another commercial entity was an innocent victim

The 217 people who were incinerated should be erased from history because a commercial entity would rather no one knew about it?

That was the most important thing that has happened at that place, it's perfectly correct that it should be one of the first things that comes up on a search for that name.

If I operated a camping ground at Auschwitz, should I sue to make the concentration camp not turn up on searches? I That wasn't my fault, why should I have to suffer the negative publicity?

Re:No comparison whatsoever (3, Insightful)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182209)

If I want to visit Nuremberg on business I don't necessarily need a slew of results about Nuremberg laws. If I'm going to China I probably want to see Tianamen square, just as I would want to see Trafalgar square in the UK. One happened to have a massacre in it, but unless that massacre is happening *right now* I care more about directions, parking etc.

It's not that there's a problem to have results that list all of the terrible things that have happened somewhere in the past, it's that they are just that, history, and if you want to go camping something that happened 34 years ago is not really relevant. It's not that the links shouldn't be there, just they should maybe be slightly deprioritized over current events or status. If there's a flood in Nuremberg I'd rather that be at the top of the list, than an event, horrific as it may be, that happened 70 years ago.

Do you really want a world where the first search for Kansas is about bleeding kansas and the fight over slavery that happened there 160 years ago? That might be history, and it might make for some historical sites worth visiting (having never been to kansas I have no idea), but I may care more about a map than about one specific event that happened to be the worst thing to ever happen to a place. The history of the world is full of dirty laundry, that's important, but it's probably more relevant that the top result for anything be somewhat current.

We might be arguing about degree. If I search for Tianamen square should the first 3 results be: a map, tourist info, and the offical website of the place or should it be a series of things about the 'protests' of 1989 and videos of tank man? How about the "National Mall" in DC (I think that's what it's called) where there have been a few shootings over the years? Should a search for verden (a town in germany) produce a page full of results for a massacre in verden ordered by Charlemange in 782, before information such as the local government webpage, or a map? I tend to think the first few results should be relevant to right now, and the lower results still have all of the messy history, and, especially in Europe, lets face it, there are a LOT of layers of history, you kinda get used to it, and focus on today even if your local bank branch is in a 900 year old castle.

Re:No comparison whatsoever (5, Insightful)

webnut77 (1326189) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182253)

Isn't this a matter or SEO? Get positive links to your site?

And on the flip side, don't these other sites, the ones that have info about the disaster, deserve their place in the search listing?

This sounds like: "Please adjust the rules in my favor"

Re:No comparison whatsoever (2)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182613)

And on the flip side, don't these other sites, the ones that have info about the disaster, deserve their place in the search listing?

Sure, so now we're arguing degree. Should the first result for Nuremberg be the city, or the laws passed by the Nazi's? Which search ranks matter, the top 3, top 5, top 10? Does it matter how exactly they're displayed? If I'm searching for this specific phrase should the top result be that specific phrase, or a more popular variant thereof.

If I search for slashdut I may really specifically mean whatever the hell slashdut is, or I may mean slashdot. The priority should go to the actual thing slashdut with the variants lower down the list, and or a 'did you mean slashdot' on the top. If there is no such thing as slashdut, or if it's a generic (Think Pizza vs Pappa Johns Pizza vs Pizza Hut, vs Pizza Pizza etc.) then all bets are off.

This sounds like: "Please adjust the rules in my favor"

It sounds like "your search enigne is fucking over my business the law says you have to change your algorithm to make it stop unfairly disadvantaging me". SEO is the enemy of accurate information. That's the problem. Why does wikipedia, or some spanish newspaper, or some google properties (youtube) deserve a higher priority than the actual business in question? Should a giant media company (say a newspaper) be able to write an article about something near you (infront of webnut77's business there was a horrific murder of a child with a knife sort of thing), and because they're paying for SEO get their article from 30 years ago ahead of your actual result, which is for a say... web design company. If we want to argue degree, then ok, I'll grant you, if the murder happened say... this week, it might legitimately be higher priority, but how about 1 year later. 5? 10? 33?

If you grant (as the EU essentially has) that search results can essentially represent or defame a business, which is probably not far off from realistic, then their influence on downstream businesses needs to be done in a regulated fashion. Compare to a phone book, where, if I could buy out all results for webnut plus a wildcard then I can seriously undermine your reputation. Now the difference in search is that it's not necessarily intentional, Wikipedia doesn't have some plan to go and screw over this poor campground, it just sort of happens that the nature of their business is such that they dominate results. Which is why you need a mechanism in place to override that if the algorithm unfairly represents something. So then we're back to arguing a matter of degree as to what does, or does not fairly represent something.

Re:No comparison whatsoever (3, Insightful)

maj1k (33968) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182263)

google 'tianamen square map' google 'tianamen square tourist info' google 'tianamen square official website' is that really that hard?

Re:No comparison whatsoever (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182485)

You can make the same argument the other way. If I want info on Tianamen Square massacre shouldn't I have to type that in first? If I just want info on tianamen square, I just want info on Tianamen square, I don't necessarily want the Tianamen Square official website, but I do want information about Tianamen Square.

Why is one prioritized over the other, and is that merely a self fulfilling prophecy, again, how far back do we want to drag history. Just because it happened after the advent of colour photography or in an era of mass media doesn't make it all that much more important.

Re:No comparison whatsoever (5, Interesting)

Omestes (471991) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182695)

A bigger question, though, is which is more important or relevant? Your vacation to Tienanmen Square, or the events that happened there? Also, from a search engine's perspective, which is more relevant to more searchers? Are more people trying to look up historic events, or planning a trip?

My snarky answer (its late) is; your vacation plans are pretty much completely irrelevant next to the events in historical Nuremberg. Those events (the laws, and the later trials) effected far more of the world than your vacation ever will, and are vastly more important than you finding cheap lodging without having to type in a couple extra words into a search. Ditto for Tienanmen Square.

Also, while I'm on the snark train, I don't feel one small shred of pity for the director of this camp ground. Sure, it sucks to be him, but that is life. Google generally ranks things according to relevance, and I'm guessing there is more interest (and hence more Page Rank) in the disaster than in his little camp ground. Nothing wrong with that. Google doesn't exist to ensure this guy stays in business or pulls a profit, nor should they.

Re:No comparison whatsoever (2)

anonymov (1768712) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182287)

Great post, except top result for "camping alfaques" is "Alfaques Camping - Apartamentos - Camping www.alfaques.com/" both on Google and Bing and they are just ticked off by image search feature showing unpleasant pictures.

But why get constrained by boring reality, when you can rant instead?

Re:No comparison whatsoever (2)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182517)

The top result for "Alfaques"

In order are:
The wiki about the disaster
Pictures of the disaster
The offical website (without thumbnail)
Newspaper about the disaster (with picture)
A youtube video about the explosion
Two campground things
Results related to the current discussion about their search problem.

Search from Ontario Canada.

Every example I cited I specifically searched for in advance to be specifically illustrative of the problem, why is one place saddled with search engine results that are negative and another not? Absolutely nothing there was a rant. If you search for a definite 'thing' I expect results about that 'thing' "Tianamen Square' is a discreet thing, as was the "Tianamen Square Massacre" (or protests or whatever you want to call it). From that standpoint a search for "Alfaques" should bring up "Alfaques" first, and "Alfaques + tuple" second.

Re:No comparison whatsoever (1)

anonymov (1768712) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182651)

> why is one place saddled with search engine results that are negative and another not?

Because one place is famous for bad thing happening there and another is not. Searching for Jane Q. Celebrity will turn up her personal site first, as she's famous by herself, but searching for brutally murdered John Smith will turn up news reports, not his facebook page.

Your definition of "relevance" is strange. If most people looking for "Nuremberg" or "Bhopal" are interested in trials and chemical plant disaster, filling top page with tourist spots would be irrelevant.

Re:No comparison whatsoever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39182419)

What businesses are dreaming about is "the right to be first on the search results".
As to what do you want to see: if you want the right answer, ask the right question.
How a hell is anybody supposed to know what do you care about or what do you want to know about "Nuremberg"? Want to see "tourist info", - why don't you just say so?

Re:No comparison whatsoever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39182465)

The results should be the thing that most people, searching for that term, are really looking for. If your priority is business, when most people's are not, you should simply modify YOUR search terms to exclude what you aren't interested in, and be more specific to get the things you are looking for.

Results everyone gests should not be based on how important history is to YOU.

Re:No comparison whatsoever (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182533)

My argument is precisely that this is a problem that extends well beyond one site or business. This is a general problem that if I search for a specific string, and the first result is that string + some other tuple/parameter/string, with what I actually searched for further down then I'm not getting a good result, in fact you're biasing the result against the actual thing I searched for.

The classic example would be if I do a search for Pizza Hut and the first result is Dominos. Now if I search for "Pizza" all bets are off, I would expect the first results to be either a map to all places with a keyword pizza, or an article about pizza or the like. But if I searched for Pizza hut, no matter how much more popular the related search Dominos is, I really specifically searched for Pizza Hut

Re:No comparison whatsoever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39182689)

... I don't follow.

So, you say that searching for "Alfaques camping" shouldn't turn up results about Auschwitz. Now if you search for "Alfaques" all bets are off, and it might be whatever, like the article about biggest incident in that place or the like. But if you search for "Alfaques camping", you really specifically searched for Alfaques camping website (which comes up first).

And your complain is exactly what?

Re:No comparison whatsoever (5, Insightful)

philip.paradis (2580427) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182563)

If I want to visit Nuremberg on business I don't necessarily need a slew of results about Nuremberg laws. If I'm going to China I probably want to see Tianamen square, just as I would want to see Trafalgar square in the UK. One happened to have a massacre in it, but unless that massacre is happening *right now* I care more about directions, parking etc.

This is where the discussion shifts to "your personal needs versus the needs of the majority." Most people will never visit Nuremberg on business. Actually, most people will never visit Nuremberg at all. However, many people are interested in Nuremberg in a historical context. Your personal interest in Nuremberg massively pales in comparison to that of the majority. Why should your needs and interests suddenly gain precedence over those of the majority?

There is, of course, an easy way to deliver relevant results either way. It's called "personalized search," but implementations of such ideas are the target of frequent and in some cases massive outcry from privacy advocates, because accurate personalized data mining requires having a whole bunch of data about you to work with.

The world can't have it both ways.

Re:No comparison whatsoever (2)

izomiac (815208) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182589)

If you're looking for parking in Tianamen square then how is Google supposed to know what you want when you just type "Tianamen square"? Isn't it worse if they have so much data on you they can predict what you're searching for without you even needing to type it?

Wow, nice censorship (1, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182653)

So basically you want to force search engines to only list nice, clean un-objectional results that don't offend anyone... all so you won't see anything that might upset you. Nice. That is how all censorship and oppression starts. Anything from censoring nudity to homo-sexuals being banned from kissing in public. Someone might be offended so it must be hidden.

You are the enemy of any person who desires freedom. If we left things up to your kind we would life in a sanitized world were those who object to Telly Tubbies because one might be gay control all speech. And I will see you dead before that happens.

Re:No comparison whatsoever (1, Insightful)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182677)

IIf I'm going to China I probably want to see Tianamen square, just as I would want to see Trafalgar square in the UK. One happened to have a massacre in it, but unless that massacre is happening *right now* I care more about directions, parking etc.

Well, duh, if you want to know about parking in Tiananmen, ASK FOR THAT. How the hell is Google, or anyone, supposed to know what you want?

http://www.google.com/webhp#&q=Tiananmen+parking [google.com]

Is that hard?

Failing that, the most widely discussed information is at top, which is about the massacre.

Re:No comparison whatsoever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39182771)

We might be arguing about degree. If I search for Tianamen square should the first 3 results be: a map, tourist info, and the offical website of the place or should it be a series of things about the 'protests' of 1989 and videos of tank man?

It should be whatever most people are searching for. Which is heavily weighted towards the 1989 protests and the massacre, because that's what most people are looking for. You seem to want the search engine to be forced to provide a bunch of bland, sanitized results over useful information, or they get sued.

The reason the National Mall results don't show the shootings, while Tiananmen square shows the protests, is because in both case the results reflect what people are looking for. The Verden Massacre and the occasional shooting at the National Mall do not carry a lot of attention and aren't particuarly relevant to modern history. The Tiananmen Square massacre does get attention and is relevant, far more than your vacation plans.

Re:Godwin'd right out the gate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39181851)

Its illegal in Germany to deny the happenings during that period.

Re:Godwin'd right out the gate (2)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#39181869)

deny and forget are 2 different things.

Re:Godwin'd right out the gate (1)

KingAlanI (1270538) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182627)

Yes, Germany does seem to be doing a good job not repeating the horrors of the past, perhaps even being overenthusiastic about it
(with the exception of a few far right extremists)

Re:Godwin'd right out the gate (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 2 years ago | (#39181855)

Not just on the internet either. They'll send schools free replacement textbooks with those events removed. Hell, they'll remove everything between 1914 and 1920 as well.

They'll just pad the books with more stuff from the Spanish Inquisition...and how China is oppressing Tibet..

Re:Godwin'd right out the gate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39181917)

Hey, Japan's already trying to do that!

Re:Godwin'd right out the gate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39181943)

Let's not forget Israel crushing Rachel Corrie to death under a
bulldizer, shall we ?

Re:Godwin'd right out the gate (1)

GrahamCox (741991) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182089)

1933-1945. The Nazis didn't start WW2 on day one - they'd been in power a while.

Some sanity required ... (1)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182385)

Both the Los Alfaques disaster and Nazi Germany are events that occurred several decades ago, so interested parties should have a right to complain about the ranking of search results based upon a simple search like "Los Alfaques" or "Germany". And Google should take the initiative to improve the ranking of the results.

Note, I am not saying that Google should sanitize the results. Searches for "Los Alfaques disaster" and "Nazi Germany" (or anything of that ilk) should definitely present the relevant results first. The generic searches should also present information about the disaster and the war, and even do so on the first page. Google should also work to present independent information as the top results, rather than marketing information from a tourism bureau. It is simply insanely morbid place the disaster/war results at the very top because, let's face it, it affects living people in a detrimental way because of something that happened well over a generation ago.

Re:Some sanity required ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39182559)

and who is in charge of assuring that the results are "right"? And where does this start/stop? What happens when there are 2 opposing groups who have different ideas of what the right order is? Just whose version of "sanity" should be enforced, with "improved" results? Holocaust survivors rightfully think that the event was pretty dang important - even more so now with the deniers - so that it should continue to dominate relevant searches. I suspect the same is true of Los Alfaques.

Google does it all algorithmically. Thats not to say that the algorithm is perfect, but at least it has a basis in objective reality (or should). It is not tweaked for one side or the other. If you force this open for fine tuning" (aka tampering), you will get endless arguments, suits, and disagreement.

Re:Some sanity required ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39182807)

When it comes to society, there are very few absolute rights and wrongs. To use this holocaust example: most people would agree that it would fit in as an absolute wrong. But does that make defining Germany by that single episode right? I'm not suggesting that we whitewash the holocaust or even play it down as a defining moment of German history. I am suggesting that defining the term Germany and, by extension, the current nation state as well as the people who live within it is much less clear. On one side, you don't want to deny what happened. On the other hand, you need to reflect that the current German government and the majority of the German population is opposed to antisemitism.

I would also avoid hiding behind an algorithm. Samuel Clement is famous for claiming that there are, "lies, damn lies, and statistics." Mathematics may be persuasive, but you have to realize that algorithms (much like statistics) suffer from a fatal flaw: they are subject to human judgment. People choose which algorithms to use, and that will give some results more weight than others. People decide upon the inputs for those algorithms, which again gives more weight to some results. We also have to worry about how the outputs of that algorithm are presented. Is the difference between being the first result and a result buried upon page 10 a nominal difference or a significant difference. In the case of Google, they don't tell us. And all of that assumes that Google's algorithms aren't fine-tuned to start with. Judging from their results, I highly suspect they are.

Re:Godwin'd right out the gate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39182397)

...and white supremacists, neo-Nazis and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sue to get the holocaust erased from Google. No fear, though, as they're representing themselves in court.

Re:Godwin'd right out the gate (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39182493)

My resort next to Auschwitz keeps getting bad Google search results. Those really need to be censored.

Re:Godwin'd right out the gate (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182527)

I though this whole "right to be forgotten" only applied to non-newsworthy humans. I.e. facebook and twitter profiles of ordinary people.

Re:Godwin'd right out the gate (4, Funny)

Dave Emami (237460) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182565)

Brian: Yeah, about your pamphlet, I'm not seeing anything about German history between 1939 and 1945. There's just a big gap...
German tour guide: Everyone was on vacation! On your left is Munich's first city hall, erected in 15...
Brian: What are you talking about? Germany invaded Poland in 1939 and...
Tour guide: We were invited! Punch was served! Check with Poland!
Brian: You can't just ignore those years. Thomas Mann fled to American because of Nazism's stranglehold on Germany.
Tour guide: No, no, he left to manage a Dairy Queen.
Brian: A Dairy Queen? That's preposterous.
Tour guide: I will hear no more insinuations about the German people! Nothing bad happened! Sie werden sich hinsetzen! Sie werden ruhig sein! Sie werden nicht beleidigen Deutschland!

Re:Godwin'd right out the gate (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182591)

Unlikely, since last time I checked Holocaust denial was a criminal offense in Germany.

Re:Godwin'd right out the gate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39182623)

I just did a Google Search for Germany.

No mention of Nazis in the first pages.

They have already succeeded.

Not to mention the Streisand Effect (4, Insightful)

enoz (1181117) | more than 2 years ago | (#39181785)

Wouldn't it be cheaper, easier, and more effective to simply rename the campground?

Not to mention the Santorum Effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39181897)

I'm sure Rick has his fingers crossed on this one...

Re:Not to mention the Streisand Effect (2)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 2 years ago | (#39181999)

That was my first thought. Especially since the results being returned are accurate information. This doesn't even rise to the level of a Santorum situation where irrelevant and/or unrelated results are being provided.

Re:Not to mention the Streisand Effect (4, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182177)

I wouldn't call the Santorum/santorum situation irrelevant. The term, and the website behind it, began several years before the man became a presidential aspirant, as a response to his medieval views on sex and his desire to get the government involved in it. Since he still espouses those same views, I'd say that lower-case "s" santorum is still very relevant.

Americans forget past transgressions by politicians far too quickly. How else to explain Newt Gingrich ever polling above 5%? Or Ollie Fucking North working in a job that doesn't involve busing tables? As soon as it stops getting ratings, the media moves on, and no one cares anymore. I'd like to see more "Google problems" haunting people like that, not fewer.

Re:Not to mention the Streisand Effect (4, Funny)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182053)

Sure, that worked when they renamed Camp Crystal Lake to Forest Green

Dismissed? (1)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 2 years ago | (#39181789)

Hasn't this lawsuit already been dismissed by said courts?

Doesn't mean anything. (2)

pavon (30274) | more than 2 years ago | (#39181837)

It was only dismissed because they sued the wrong entity (a Spanish Google subsidiary rather than Google itself). The dismissal says nothing about the merits of the case, and it can be refiled against Google.

Means something, but what? (3, Interesting)

Capsaicin (412918) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182507)

It was only dismissed because they sued the wrong entity (a Spanish Google subsidiary rather than Google itself). The dismissal says nothing about the merits of the case, and it can be refiled against Google.

IAAL, not one who understands European, but issues of jurisdictional standing etc are very much part of what I would consider the merits of the case.

That Google's Spanish subsidiary could not be sued (apparently because it did not run the search engine, but only engaged in marketing) may turn out to be significant. Assuming Google has no other corporate presence in Spain, would the court enforce the judgment, nonetheless, against this subsidiary?! If not, and assuming a US court would not enforce such a judgment, that would rather limit the effect of this law as regards extra-national search engines, even where they have a Spanish corporate presence.

Re:Means something, but what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39182875)

I am not spanish, but the court rules are similar in most continental european countries. The law suit needs to be adressed to the right entity, since otherwise said entity could not defend itself properly, which is why the case was dismissed. But if Google were found guilty (I hope not), then all assets including those wholly or partially owned by the losing entity can be seized as part of the settlement, and operations within the country could be forbidden (which would hurt google if they couldn't see advertisements in spain.

Personally, if I were to draft any such law and would not have to care about how it could be implemented, I'd be in favor of a "right to forget" for individuals, as long as the actions are not "historically relevant" (and yes I know, that term is very vague). For corporations and other legal entities, I don't really see the point.

Reading is hard (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39181979)

Yes.

Re:Reading is hard (1)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182065)

then wtf is the point of this story? lawyers so incompetent they sued in the wrong court.

They have a point... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39181791)

The disaster had absolutely nothing to do with the camp, and its location was completely coincidental. While censorship is bad, it's also rather unfair for such a disaster to needlessly hurt tourism for years after. There really isn't a "right" choice here, just different levels of wrongness.

Re:They have a point... (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 2 years ago | (#39181873)

OTOH, if we forget what caused the disaster, it could happen again. I think the campground would be better off changing its name.

Re:They have a point... (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182011)

Yep. Other than the fact that a bunch of campers who were camping at the camp were killed, the disaster had no connection to the camp. Camp.

Re:They have a point... (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182101)

Yep. Other than the fact that a bunch of campers who were camping at the camp were killed, the disaster had no connection to the camp

So is it indeed harmless? I've seen a documentary [wikipedia.org] that tells otherwise.

(duck)

Re:They have a point... (5, Insightful)

philip.paradis (2580427) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182045)

Let's look at this another way. Why should this campground in its present day form be considered more relevant/important than the historical facts surrounding the 1978 disaster that happened to occur at the site? Search engines are in the business of providing results weighted by relevancy and importance.

Nobody is being slandered here. History is simply being reported.

Santorum (2, Funny)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#39181797)

I'll bet Santorum wishes Google would forget him.

SEO (1)

Freddybear (1805256) | more than 2 years ago | (#39181807)

Sounds like a job for search engine optimization services. Bury all those old news stories.

Contact the hosts (1)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 2 years ago | (#39181817)

They should contact/sue the hosts hosting the content, and not Google

Re:Contact the hosts (4, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182187)

Why should they sue the hosts? Historical fact is neither libel nor slander, nor is it hosted with malice.

Removing history we don't like is called censorship and is Orwellian in the extreme.

--
BMO - doubleplusungood.

Re:Contact the hosts (1)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182635)

True, I intended to say that even if this content was to be removed, it should be done by the hosts and not by Google

Campground vs disaster (5, Insightful)

Skapare (16644) | more than 2 years ago | (#39181819)

If the campground sues and wins, then we forget about the campground, but that won't affect the disaster. The campground does not own the disaster. To forget the disaster, then the disaster must sue.

What about MY right to remember history the way it truly happened?

Re:Campground vs disaster (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 2 years ago | (#39181893)

What about MY right to remember history the way it truly happened?

Apparently, you are allowed to remember whatever you like, just not distribute information regarding it over the internet.

Your rights end at my nose; memory included (2)

Valacosa (863657) | more than 2 years ago | (#39181835)

There's no way in hell your "right" to be forgotten is more important than our right to remember.

Their is a big difference... (2)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#39181839)

There is a big difference between the right to be forgotten and the right to decide what is remembered and what is forgotten.This picking and choosing seems to be a completely untenable situation.

Up Next: Picasso's "Guernica" is banned? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39181857)

And to paraphrase Santayana, those who are forbidden to learn from history will learn nothing from history.

Re:Up Next: Picasso's "Guernica" is banned? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39182497)

Nobody learns from history anyway. The more history you learn, the more you see that it's the same stories, again and again.

Only if it works both ways! (5, Interesting)

Ambvai (1106941) | more than 2 years ago | (#39181861)

The 'right to be forgotten' sounds fine-- if the campground wishes to remove all mentions of itself, then by all means, they can. But they can't pick and choose what gets eliminated based on their own criteria of 'good' and 'bad'.

It rather reminds me of that Belgian newspaper who brought suit against Google to stop linking to any of their pages... and complained when Google did that and their traffic dropped through the floor. (Though they referred to it as some kind of hostile retaliation...)

Dilemma (1)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | more than 2 years ago | (#39181877)

We are caught in a dilemma. While most people trust Google search indexes / algorithms and, thus, its results, Google is, nevertheless, a private company. As such, it will be regularly (probably more and more) attacked by some people for the same - apparently legitimate - reasons as the ones mentioned in this story ; Google being unable to prove the relevancy of such results without revealing the secret algorithms. The dilemma is, can we let/trust Google as an honest company that does the best it can to produce the fairest results? Or do we tend to have to rely, in the future, on a public/independent association/organization that will certify the results/algorithms are not rigged?
As surprising as it can be, I think we tend to the latter.

Re:Dilemma (1)

webnut77 (1326189) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182319)

Or do we tend to have to rely, in the future, on a public/independent association/organization that will certify the results/algorithms are not rigged? As surprising as it can be, I think we tend to the latter.

Are you saying that Google needs oversight?

I got an idea, we can hand that off to Congress. Nothing they touch ever gets financial/political manipulation. </sarcasm>

Seriously, I think Google does a pretty good job at in context searches. One time when I was setting up a new server and doing a lot of searches on IPSEC, however, it kept giving me IPSEC results even though I had moved on to IPSET. Sort of frustrating.

Now that was a big explosion (1)

Cigarra (652458) | more than 2 years ago | (#39181899)

Or at least it seems so in this (apparently Dutch) re-enaction [youtube.com]

Re:Now that was a big explosion (1)

Cigarra (652458) | more than 2 years ago | (#39181925)

Lame auto-reply to indicate that the re-enaction is from this 2007 German movie [imdb.com] .

Google is more fucking annoying than MS ever was (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39181905)

If you ever posted something (e.g. a newbie question) to a forum, or participated in some public event then we have Google to make sure that it will be instantly available to anyone who types your name into a search bar, until the planet is destroyed by man's inability to etc. etc.

Yeah, I get that it's far from just Google these days, and even if they went off the air, we'd have 100's in their place. But I blame Google for starting down the path of callous invasion of people's privacy. The earlier generation of web crawlers seemed to be more about finding stuff written by people who were delighted to have everyone find it.

Google is evil.

Re:Google is more fucking annoying than MS ever wa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39182001)

> posted something (e.g. a newbie question) to a forum, or participated in some public event
> invasion of people's privacy

You've got your "public" and "private" all messed up, but why let that get in the way of Google bashing, right?

Re:Google is more fucking annoying than MS ever wa (1)

TWX (665546) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182343)

If you ever posted something (e.g. a newbie question) to a forum, or participated in some public event then we have Google to make sure that it will be instantly available to anyone who types your name into a search bar, until the planet is destroyed by man's inability to etc. etc.

How about thinking before asking questions and researching before asking questions?

There are also these things called handles, aliases, nicknames, etc, that one can use when subscribing to many different forums. They offer a bit of a veil of anonymity.

the need for anonymous distributed communication (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39182051)

We the people, who are not ceo's or board members, who are not politicians or relatives of politicians, who were not born rich and have no lust for power and derive no pleasure from domination of others are at a crossroads. One path is control by "institutions", government, finance, religion, corporations and another is unfettered, uninhibited communication and freedom of expression.

The powerful hate anonymity because that is the only weapon the weak truly have. They hate uncontrolled communication because it makes them feel powerless, as they can't exercise their resources against it.

The authoritarian institutionalists will of course claim that anonymity and freedom are terrible things. They will trot out the usual bogeymen of the times in attempts to exert more control and gather more power for themselves.

We the people need truly unstoppable means of communication that can't be shut down. The current internet is a good first step but in the name of efficiency too much of the physical layer is consolidated, traceable, and under someone's jurisdiction.

Freenet was another good try but it is not nearly usable enough for the normals.

We need a mesh network where anyone who wants to can add nodes or listen in. It needs to have multiple protocols so that even under the direst circumstances of pure sneakernet or station wagon full of vhs tapes so the message will still go through and can't be stopped.

We need a way to distribute nodes without anyone's permission. For example solar powered wifi grenades that we can throw on a roof, autonomous mobile transmitters that re-arrange themselves to keep the network stable even if under attack, induction powered flexible credit card sized transmitters that can be surreptitiously slipped behind an electrical faceplate.

We need a way to add nodes faster than the "authorities" can take them down. We need a means of communication that is so common and simple to deploy that no government can try to take it down without giving up any pretext of legitimacy.

And we need all of this soon. Because the government and corporations and institutions are trying as hard as they can to lock down the current internet. And if we don't have our new, invulnerable network up and running before the internet is lost the chance to ensure the freedom of future generations will be lost with it.

Capitalize (2)

bdwoolman (561635) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182087)

What is... is. Any decent tourbook that includes this campsite will of course mention the disaster. It is feckless to ask any supposedly objective information source to skip over a significant element of a place's history.

Or a person's history. "Here are my transcripts... Oh wait! We have a right to forget that C- in calculus."

"Really? Somehow I think not Mr. Woolman."

As I said, What is simply...is. So the place in infamous. So what? Why not capitalize? Build a shrine. Pay some monks to consecrate it. Build a museum filled with grisly photos. Put up a flower wall. These Europeans simply need to take a page from the How To Be An American Handbook. Seems to me these people are sitting on a goldmine. Picture this: Next to the grisly search results a Google text ad that reads. "See the Alfaques Museum and Shrine." Some people just don't realize when they have it good. Sheesh!

Slippery Slope (0)

enoz (1181117) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182111)

Next up, China sues Google to stop showing 'negative' links for Tiananmen Square. Ad infinitum.

1978 (1)

GrahamCox (741991) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182165)

The disaster happened in 1978. That's a long time before Google existed! If they worry about association with it so badly, why not just change the name of the bloody campsite! Job done. Idiots.

"Al-Fa-Ques" (1)

torsmo (1301691) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182173)

Well, I sure won't.

Streisand Effect Winner Coming up (2)

aqui (472334) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182239)

These guys will learn the hard way about the Streisand Effect ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect [wikipedia.org] ).

Heck I would just rename the campground and associated website. It would cost less than the lawsuit and would be a lot easier than trying to rewrite history.
With the money I'd save, I'd even set up a camp ground sponsored road side shrine (To make sure that no one would accuse you of changing the name to hide the history). The only thing this camp ground is guilty of is bad luck. If the truck had been 2-3 km down the road they would have never been a news story, except for maybe bad sun burn.

Oh well some people always seem to learn the hard way.

Re:Streisand Effect Winner Coming up (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182291)

These guys will learn the hard way about the Streisand Effect ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect [wikipedia.org] [wikipedia.org] ).>/quote>

I'm sure wikipedia will be hearing from Ms Streisand's lawyers soon about that...

They have a point (0)

Jiro (131519) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182261)

Google doesn't just go into its database, do a count of what web pages contain a term, and return those web pages ordered by number of references. Google uses a complex, hand-tuned algorithm that is strictly proprietary. A search for the town shows pictures of the accident because Google chooses to have an algorithm that does so, not because having that happen is a natural result of searching.

If Google tweaks their algorithm to make pages more or less prominent based on what people at Google personally think of them--and there is no question that Google does exactly that--then it is reasonable for someone to request that Google not do this in a manner which causes them financial damage.

Everyone on Slashdot seems to be responding as if Google's search results for this camp are based on happenstance, which isn't really right.

Re:They have a point (2)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182381)

A search for the town shows pictures of the accident because Google chooses to have an algorithm that does so, not because having that happen is a natural result of searching.

Unless you are claiming that someone at Google is deliberately going out of his/her way to explicitly manipulate the results that turn up when someone googles the name of the this campsite, then I think it is fair to call what happens "a natural result of searching". What general ranking algorithm Google uses isn't relevant; its results are (by definition) the natural results for that algorithm.

then it is reasonable for someone to request that Google not do this in a manner which causes them financial damage

Sure. You can request anything you like, and it is then up to Google to decide whether or not they want to comply with your request. But it's Google's web page, and Google's server, and Google's search algorithm, so unless/until Google becomes a regulated public utility, Google gets the final say about what content they put on their site. People who don't like Google's service can apply for a refund.

Just do what the chinese do... (2)

Karmashock (2415832) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182373)

Block the portions of the internet you don't like. Forbid them access to your country.

really... you might as well just disable internet altogether.

Happy now? People have a right to express themselves. If people want to show horrible images of your beach and give it poor reviews that is their right. You don't counter that by suing them. You counter it by flooding the search engine with a different set of links. Talk to an SEO company and just pay them. Or hand out a set of instructions and have everyone in the town click on different links or submit different information. I should think even a small town should be able to collectively force an algorithm to show different content.

Man up and join the 21st century.

easy fix (0)

sixsixtysix (1110135) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182387)

change the name?

Re:easy fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39182417)

Sound decision, what with "Ah'll-fuck-ass" reading and all.

hold on a second (1)

PJ6 (1151747) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182443)

Want's that law intended for protecting individuals? Or is this the old 'businesses are people too' shtick? Where's the damn Wikipedia article.

Suing the wrong people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39182475)

They really need to start suing all the people that clicked on the links for the horrific images, as they are the reason that they spring to the top.

Misdirection (1)

powerspike (729889) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182487)

The campground wants the bad results removed. These images and pages belong to other people/sites/etc. They have a "right to be forgotten", but that won't extend to other peoples property. If it was pages/results on their site, it'd be fine, but they are not, and what they are really trying to do is remove competion from the search results for their own commercial benefit.

Love it or Leave it (1)

jtnix (173853) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182503)

I've always had a hard time sympathizing with this sort of attitude toward reality. What a case!

You insens1tive clod! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39182749)

OUTER SPACE THE And Has instead

The sanitized web (4, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182763)

This is not about the right to be forgotten,this is about the commercial sanitized web, where no search result may interfere with business and the business of marketing. Related to it are the religious nutters who want to censor the world of anything that might offend. The water-shed but also "Don't ask, don't tell" are symptoms of this. They might seem harmless but once you start giving into these extremists, freedom goes out the window.

It after all never ends. Take this case, at what page of image search ARE the charred corpses allowed to start appearing? Bottom of the first page? 2nd page? For what search results? There is always more sanitizing to be done.

Telly tubbies anyone? Lot of fuss because one of the characters supposedly was gay. Can't have that. Not because being gay is bad of course... it just needs to be hidden. From toddlers, from small children, from teens, from young adults, from adults... go into your ghetto and don't come out and upset right thinking people!

Search engines and the internet have allowed us to do something unheard of in previous era's, to consume any information we want regardless of other human beings. If you were to ask in a christian town in the library for a book on homo's, you might not get what you want, information is easily censored on a local level. With the internet, you can get ANY opinion on the subject, good and bad and make up your own mind. Doesn't mean everyone will, but you can. And that is a great power to have.

Censoring search results because someone doesn't like them might seem harmless in individual cases but cases set precedent and precedent is abused by those who know their individual case gets no symphaty.

I am fairly certain a certain cruise company would like NOT to have a certain accident be linked to it constantly especially now it is again in the news with another ship. How far, how soon would you censor search results? The answer? Always to far and to soon.

Freedom of speech dies fastest when you are free to speak but nobody is allowed to hear you.

Worksforme (1)

peppepz (1311345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39182831)

I get the camping official site as the first result on Google. What more do they want? Remove the other results? Would that censorship be respectful towards the victims?

And by the way, why don't they just buy a sponsored link if they want to catch more searchers?

There is no "right to be forgotten" ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39182837)

or else we would have to burn down all the newspaper collecting libraries or lock them up so no one can access them any more.

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