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The US Vs. Europe: Freedom of Expression Vs. Privacy

Unknown Lamer posted about 4 months ago | from the dang-freedom-hating-europeans dept.

Privacy 278

First time accepted submitter GoddersUK (1262110) writes "Rory Cellan-Jones writes about the recent European Court judgement on the right to be forgotten in terms of US/EU cultural differences (and perhaps a bit of bitterness on the EU side at U.S. influence online): 'He tells me... ..."In the past if you were in Germany you were never worried that some encyclopedia website based in the United States was going to name you as a murderer after you got out of jail because that was inconceivable. Today that can happen, so the cultural gap that was always there about the regulation of speech is becoming more visible."... Europeans who have been told that the Internet is basically ungovernable — and if it does have guiding principles then they come from the land of the free — are expressing some satisfaction that court has refused to believe that.' And, certainly, it seems, here in the UK, that even MEPs keen on the principle don't really know how this ruling will work in practice or what the wider consequences will be. Video here."

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I agree. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47042703)

http://www.pensu.com

US vs Europe, again? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47042727)

I'm betting on Europe to win this time!

Re:US vs Europe, again? (0)

Mashiki (184564) | about 4 months ago | (#47043575)

Dunno about that, there is a fundamental difference between the two. Generally in the Americas, the line of reasoning is: Whatever is not forbidden is allowed. In Europe whatever is permitted is allowed. The problem right now in the americas though is crony capitalism and monopolies/duopolies controlling the market. In Europe it's the same deal, they're simply more sly about how they go about it.

Re:US vs Europe, again? (5, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | about 4 months ago | (#47043939)

It's a cultural thing. Even Churchill knew that:

“In England, everything is permitted, except that which is forbidden.
In Germany, everything is forbidden, except that which is permitted.
In France, everything is permitted even that which is forbidden.
In the USSR, everything is forbidden, even that which is permitted.”

Re:US vs Europe, again? (1)

JockTroll (996521) | about 4 months ago | (#47043979)

And in the Netherlands everything is permitted, especially what is forbidden.

The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (5, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 4 months ago | (#47042755)

The problem is that some nations want to enforce their rules on other nations.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Create a couple of giant hubs in the Atlantic and Pacific, controlled by NOBODY. Let countries that want to hook up to them hook up to them, and then regulate their own internet however they like. But they don't get to govern what other people in other countries say. The very idea is pretty obvious, unworkable, globalist-statist nonsense.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47042775)

That's a terrible idea. Then, for example, you wouldn't be able to force people to fire hateful people like the moron that used to rule Mozilla that spouted nonsense about how he thought gays were subhuman. We need governments to be able to come down hard on those people.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47042817)

Agreed. You couldn't, for example, steal businesses from business owners like Donald Sterling after they say something non-PC. We must be able to take their property to keep them in line. If we don't do that, then they'll be free to say offensive things.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47042865)

While I don't particularly think they should have been fired in the first place (businesses should not be concerned with the beliefs of individuals)... these people were fired by their organizations/companies, not the government. It was totally legal and legitimate. It is like if you had a really good friend, and then suddenly you were a total dick to him over and over again, is he not justified if he decides to stop talking to you? Businesses can associate with whom they chose, just like people can.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (4, Insightful)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about 4 months ago | (#47042957)

While I don't particularly think they should have been fired in the first place (businesses should not be concerned with the beliefs of individuals)... these people were fired by their organizations/companies, not the government. It was totally legal and legitimate.

It's legal, but that doesn't make it right. Technically, the first Amendment only prevents the government from restricting free speech. That restriction should apply to every one.

If your ability to earn a living can be taken away because of something you said or did, even though what you did is perfectly legal and you broke no laws, and even though you weren't at work when you said or did it, then you have effectively created a society where there is no free speech.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (1)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 4 months ago | (#47042969)

my kingdom for a mod point :(

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47042975)

But where exactly do you draw the line? Should your friends be forced to continue to communicate with you regardless of what you say or do? If corporations are people, why are the somehow exempt from this? I think for private businesses, this should be allowed, but for public corporations, perhaps not.

Re: The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47042997)

That's the beauty of a free speech free market solution. The government didn't need to come down on him, all it took was shareholders raising some eyebrows and customers withdrawing their business.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (0)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 4 months ago | (#47043033)

If your ability to earn a living can be taken away because of something you said or did, even though what you did is perfectly legal and you broke no laws, and even though you weren't at work when you said or did it, then you have effectively created a society where there is no free speech.

I agree. Lots of people need to get it through their heads that even when it is not government, but "social pressure" that restricts speech, it is still a restriction on speech. It is not JUST something in the Constitution, it is a long-held (and hard-won) CULTURAL VALUE. The reason it appears in the Constitution is that the Founders knew what it was like to not have it. And the reason for not having it is not very important. Whether that reason is government or social pressure, not having it is still not having it.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47043051)

Weren't businesses in general pretty rare/nonexistent at the time of the constitution? It was mostly just rich white men associating with one another, and if they didn't like one particular guy, and decided not to talk or do business with him, I doubt they or the government were particularly concerned.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (2)

dreamchaser (49529) | about 4 months ago | (#47043113)

No, there were plenty of businesses/corporations in Colonial times. There were not necessarily megacorps like we're starting to see but they existed a plenty.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (5, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 4 months ago | (#47043131)

There were a few "Megacorps", even then. Like the East India company. And just like today, the megacorps of the day got special treatment from their respective governments.

That's one of the things we fought a war to get away from.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (5, Informative)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 4 months ago | (#47043249)

There were a few "Megacorps", even then. Like the East India company.

People that complain that corporations are worse than ever are very ignorant of history. For centuries, the East India Company had their own army, waged war in their own name, and occasionally executed people that failed to pay their bills. No modern corporation even comes close.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (0)

DocHoncho (1198543) | about 4 months ago | (#47043439)

People that complain that corporations are worse than ever are very ignorant of history. For centuries, the East India Company had their own army, waged war in their own name, and occasionally executed people that failed to pay their bills. No modern corporation even comes close.

Yet.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 4 months ago | (#47043501)

People that complain that corporations are worse than ever are very ignorant of history.

Yes. But to say that they were worse then is not the same as saying they aren't bad now.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (4, Interesting)

s.petry (762400) | about 4 months ago | (#47043929)

No modern corporation even comes close.

I beg to differ, as do tens of thousands of South Americans that were slaughtered by Dole goons. That is just one of the few we know about, so there are plenty just as bad and probably worse today.

Re: The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47043075)

So what your effectively saying is that a society formed of individuals should not be allowed speech that discourages the speech of another individual, because he may no longer feel free to speak. All I'm hearing is, whaaaa, people don't like what I'm saying with my free speech, and are using their free speech to say something about it, so now I'm afraid to speak because I'm in the social minority and am too afraid to say something and stand it and it's repercussions... Oh whoa is you

Re: The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (4, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 4 months ago | (#47043159)

Individual speech is the thing protected by the Constitution. Organized pressure to fire somebody from their job is not free speech, it's mob rule.

There is a difference. The line might be a bit gray, but it's there.

So let's say you were an atheist. (I'm not saying you are, it's just hypothetical.) And because of your atheism, you believe that John Smith should not be able to post monuments to Jesus on government property. (Again just hypothetical.)

Lots of people would consider that to be freedom of religion. You might disagree. So in those circumstances, would you say it was socially acceptable to post a massive internet campaign to insult and disparage John Smith, boycott the company he just happens to work for, and demand that he be fired?

I am just curious what your answer to that would be.

Re: The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47043297)

So businesses should not have freedom of association? I mean, I don't really disagree... just don't see many people arguing that these days.

Re: The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (0)

Your.Master (1088569) | about 4 months ago | (#47043357)

I am not the original AC. I'd say no for your analogy, but I think your analogy has some fundamental flaws.

1. Brandon Eich didn't just happen to work for Mozilla, he was the CEO. It's literally his job to represent the company.
2. Both the company he worked for (Mozilla), and the cause that he supported (preventing gay marriage), were directly related to the operations of the company that was making the Internet campaign (OKCupid, a browser-based service for connecting people into relationships, often for the purpose of marriage).

In your atheist analogy, the atheist isn't really harmed except in the opportunity cost of putting something other than monuments to Jesus on the property, and indirectly from the promotion of Christianity as the state religion implicitly marginalizing atheists among others. You'd need it to be more like posting scripture that says (and here I'm going to be hypothetical instead of quoting actual scriptures) that only Christians should ever be found innocent in any court proceeding, because only they have been cleansed of Original Sin (again, hypothetical, not saying anybody literally says this).

And John Smith needs to be the CEO of, say, a law firm, which is itself not religiously oriented and has Christian, atheist, and other employees, and among whose many legal services is the ability to file disputes based on religious discrimination. Then an organisation that's dedicated to universal religious freedom including freedom to not be religious would have every reason to suggest that religious freedom lawsuits should avoid going through this one law firm, since the hypothetical CEO of this hypothetical law firm is hypothetically opposed to non-Christians ever winning, even if he promises not to let that personal belief affect his work in the law firm.

(Also, not being able to be CEO isn't the same as being fired)

Re: The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (4, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 4 months ago | (#47043523)

In your atheist analogy, the atheist isn't really harmed except in the opportunity cost of putting something other than monuments to Jesus on the property, and indirectly from the promotion of Christianity as the state religion implicitly marginalizing atheists among others.

This is patently untrue. The atheist (let's assume he's a militant atheist) feels that religion rots kids mind and is completely horrified by the thought of government support for a particular religion like Christianity. So not only does he see it as personal harm, in his honest opinion it is grossly harmful to society as a whole. (This is, in fact, a situation that is rather close to a devout Christian believing that homosexuality is a crime against God and society. BUT I'm not claiming either side is right.)

And John Smith needs to be the CEO of, say, a law firm, which is itself not religiously oriented and has Christian, atheist, and other employees, and among whose many legal services is the ability to file disputes based on religious discrimination.

I don't give a damn whether he is CEO of Citicorp or a mail clerk in a medium-sized business. Business is business, and personal politics are something else. Too much mixing of business with politics is already one of the biggest problems with this country today. We hardly need more of it.

Re: The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47043317)

Free speech wasn't nearly as strong 200+ years ago. Both the federal government and especially state governments routinely locked up people for their speech.

It wasn't until the early- to mid-20th century that our modern free speech rights were invented. In the 19th century it you often got locked up merely for the potential of discerning the peace. Ever wonder why suffragists, abolitionists, and labor protesters were in jail so often? Usually just for meeting together or speaking in public. And the courts accepted this.

Brandeis and Holmes began to change the jurisprudence, but it wasn't really until the 1950s that the 1st Amendment became what it was today. The founding fathers were much mire deferential to the legislature than you think. And if course until the 14th amendment the federal bill of rights was little discussed.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (2)

sphealey (2855) | about 4 months ago | (#47043085)

= = = It's legal, but that doesn't make it right. Technically, the first Amendment only prevents the government from restricting free speech. That restriction should apply to every one. = = =

So... your political theory is "libertarianism for me but not for thee"? Corporations to be free to do whatever they want, unless they violate some unwritten norms of right-wing thought? That doesn't sound very, um, free to me.

sPh

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47043933)

Yeah, it's typical libertarian "thinking". Nonsensical when you actually examine it.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (1)

iNaya (1049686) | about 4 months ago | (#47043135)

You can have as much free speech as you like. Just not in MY house. It's impossible to prevent people preventing free speech. Do I have to let protesters into my house, just so they are allowed to say what they want to me?

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 4 months ago | (#47043311)

Your house is not a public location. Since you control who can enter and exit, telling people to leave because they decided to turn your living room into a protest zone is perfectly fine. However, telling people that they can't march on the public sidewalk (not privately owned) with signs would be preventing their free speech. Similarly, I could try protesting in a mall, but they would be well within their rights to kick me out and ban me from re-entering. They couldn't prevent me from protesting on public property in front of the mall, but they could ban me from entering the mall itself.

Also, freedom to speak doesn't mean freedom to be heard. If a protester is handing out pamphlets and you refuse one, you haven't violated his freedom of speech. You're just refusing to listen to his speech (read the pamphlet). Now, if the government came by and told him not to hand out the pamphlets, they might be infringing on his freedom of speech.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47043293)

If your ability to earn a living can be taken away because of something you said or did, even though what you did is perfectly legal and you broke no laws, and even though you weren't at work when you said or did it, then you have effectively created a society where there is no free speech.

If your speech cannot have consequences, then your speech means nothing. It literally means nothing. Because it *cannot have consequences*.

If you can't be fired for things that you say, it realistically means that people can't speak out against the things that you say.

(Brandon Eich did not lose his ability to earn a living, he just couldn't be the CEO of Mozilla Corp. -- and even deciding that he was fired is an editorial assumption)

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (3, Insightful)

kwbauer (1677400) | about 4 months ago | (#47043531)

Technically, he would have been fired for having a political belief, which would make it a criminal act in the US.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47043631)

The idea that there is of even should be any consequence-free speech is, quite frankly, ludicrous. If someone has publicly made racist remarks, I have no intention of attending said person's place of business, as is my right. The Donald sterling issue of private recordings brings another layer that complicates things...

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (1)

radarskiy (2874255) | about 4 months ago | (#47043703)

"If your ability to earn a living can be taken away because of something you said or did, even though what you did is perfectly legal and you broke no laws, and even though you weren't at work when you said or did it, then you have effectively created a society where there is no free speech."

Why is this argument allowed in the defense of unpopular speech or positions, but not allowed in the defense of popular speech or positions?

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (2)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | about 4 months ago | (#47043793)

If your ability to earn a living can be taken away because of something you said or did, even though what you did is perfectly legal and you broke no laws, and even though you weren't at work when you said or did it, then you have effectively created a society where there is no free speech.

Nope. You've confused "freedom of speech" with "freedom from consequences." When you say hateful and vile things about a group of people,whether you're on or off the clock when you say them, no one in that group can work effectively with you. They know, after all, that your opinions don't change when you come into the office.

To take a recent example, Brendan Eich has the right to say and believe whatever bigoted nonsense he wants. Others have the right to say "fuck you" and choose not to associate with him as a result of that. If those people's free choices mean he can't do a certain job and so he doesn't get the job he wants, cry me a river; I can't get the job I want either. (I keep looking but no one is offering a six-figure salary to be a subject for hedonic engineering studies but no one's hiring.)

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (2)

s.petry (762400) | about 4 months ago | (#47043913)

Your point probably should have been the difference between a consumer boycott and a government whim, like the US Government has become so good at. I agree with you but will extrapolate a bit on the difference.

I boycott Microsoft and have for decades, I think they have poor business practices and cheat people out of money in various ways very intentionally. My boycott means that I persuade others not to purchase their products, including businesses. This is the power of the consumer under a Capitalist economy, and it was well defined by Adam Smith as a tool for maintaining balance in the economy.

Governments acting without legal basis is harmful to the economy and is not part of the capitalist economy nor is it within it's Constitutional Rights when it does. (Note the 'legal basis' there) This was done in the US, and today our economy is still in a shamble from the effects. The "Stimulus" to banks is my primary argument there, and the bailout was a reaction to deregulation which should have prevented banks from becoming large enough to have catastrophic impact on our society. The FDIC can not guarantee these mega banks, so has lost much of it's purpose as well. None of these things have been corrected, because our Government is completely out of control currently and acting beyond their lawful abilities as defined by the US Constitution.

In other words, there is no provision in the US Constitution to protect or harm any private business for any reason other than violation of Federal law. If a law does not exist the Government can not (or should not be able to) arbitrarily take action, such as forcing the sale of the LA Clippers or Chik-Fillet.

Be a good consumer and boycott when you believe a corporation/company needs to be sent a message. In fact you are failing to perform a primary duty of consumers in the economy if you don't.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (1)

moronoxyd (1000371) | about 4 months ago | (#47044067)

Freedom of speech does not include the freedom of consequences. Whatever you say can, and often will, have consequences.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | about 4 months ago | (#47043041)

The problem with that is that we live in a society of wage slavery and indentured servitude that has been structured to systematically favor those businesses. If the playing field between businesses and workers was fair, I'd agree with you. Because it is not a fair playing field, and so being fired from a single job can RUIN a person, then this attitude amounts to tyranny and the de facto suppression of free speech.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47043095)

You can start a private business in the US pretty damn easily. You basically just write a piece of paper saying: This is my business and its name. If businesses are so damned privileged... then make one, and do all of your business under the business.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 4 months ago | (#47043057)

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." -- Evelyn Beatrice Hall, summarizing the philosophy of Voltaire

Also summarized as: "Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so too."

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47042867)

No. Affording governments the ability to come down hard on "those people" is the terrible idea. In contrast, general, non-aggressive liberty is a pretty splendid notion. I'd rather be surrounded with hateful people that consider gays subhuman than suffer the existence of authoritarians as extreme as you seem to be.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about 4 months ago | (#47043321)

That would be a good thing, since your freedoms should not be contingent on whether you agree with the (politically) 'correct' party line. The fact there's a disagreement here is the perfect reason why the grandparent post is a good idea. Societies that promote witchhunts and the like should never be encouraged.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (4, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 4 months ago | (#47042793)

But they don't get to govern what other people in other countries say. The very idea is pretty obvious, unworkable, globalist-statist nonsense.

Who says this governs what other people in other countries say?

The original court decision was twofold
1. You have no right to be forgotten by the Newspaper that published the story
2. You have a right to be forgotten by search engines.

This only applies in the EU and only applies to companies incorporated in the EU.
Google is welcome to shut down its various European subsidiaries (including the ones in Ireland and the Netherlands that they use to shelter income).
There's a precedent for this, if you can recall when Google China was shut down and redirected to Google's Hong Kong page.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (3, Insightful)

BitterOak (537666) | about 4 months ago | (#47042885)

The original court decision was twofold 1. You have no right to be forgotten by the Newspaper that published the story 2. You have a right to be forgotten by search engines.

This only applies in the EU and only applies to companies incorporated in the EU.

There are two problems here. First, why should search engines not enjoy the same free speech rights as newspapers? Second, what defines an Internet service as a "search engine" or a "newspaper"? Suppose I run on online newspaper that has a search function, allowing users to search past articles about any topic? Am I now a search engine? Suppose my newspaper becomes so popular it becomes the de facto place where people go to search for news stories? Do different rules apply then? Or does this ruling simply apply to sites that link to content on other sites rather than it's own original content? Now, do online newspapers lose the ability to link to other source material in their articles? The line between newspapers and search engines may become fuzzy, if it isn't already. Do you see the problem?

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47043049)

What if my blog names a convicted murderer and links to the original newspaper story? Are the search engines obliged to remove my blog from their list of possible search results? What if an english wikipedia article includes a link to the original newpaper stories? Where does it end?

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (5, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 4 months ago | (#47043121)

First, why should search engines not enjoy the same free speech rights as newspapers?

You're asking the wrong question.
If we can agree that internet search engines are not newspapers,
then the burden falls upon search engines to explain why they should receive the special status granted to newspapers.

Second, what defines an Internet service as a "search engine" or a "newspaper"? Suppose I run on online newspaper that has a search function, allowing users to search past articles about any topic? Am I now a search engine?

You are not an internet search engine.
The court distinguishes between (1) a newspaper with a searchable index and (2) a website that indexes other websites on the internet.

Suppose my newspaper becomes so popular it becomes the de facto place where people go to search for news stories? Do different rules apply then?

Still not an internet search engine.

Or does this ruling simply apply to sites that link to content on other sites rather than it's own original content?

The decision is dense, but readable [europa.eu] .
If you want the highlights, just skip to the conclusion

TLDR: this ruling simply applies to sites that link to content on other sites rather than it's own original content
Still TLDR: With all kinds of legal parsing to determine who is processing the data and whether they are under European jurisdiction.

Now, do online newspapers lose the ability to link to other source material in their articles?

No, they don't. Because they are not internet search engines.

The line between newspapers and search engines may become fuzzy, if it isn't already. Do you see the problem?

The line is not fuzzy and I do not see "the problem."
The only problem I see is that this is horribly inconvenient for Google and every other search engine.
But, according to the court, the inconvenience to Google's business model does not outweigh citizens rights under the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

As the data subject may, in the light of his fundamental rights under Articles 7 and 8 of the Charter, request that the information in question no longer be made available to the general public on account of its inclusion in such a list of results, those rights override, as a rule, not only the economic interest of the operator of the search engine but also the interest of the general public in having access to that information upon a search relating to the data subject's name.

However, that would not be the case if it appeared, for particular reasons, such as the role played by the data subject in public life, that the interference with his fundamental rights is justified by the preponderant interest of the general public in having, on account of its inclusion in the list of results, access to the information in question.

Don't try to make this more complicated than it is.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47043161)

A special privilege of the newspaper...? It seems to me that basic free speech and free thought is that you cannot command me to forget something, nor command me not to share what I know (ignoring confidentiality agreements which are irrelevant here).

Not that I want to defend Google per se, but I cannot understand how they can lose the right to index content without me losing the right to tell people about an article I read, or about a book I know they can find in a library somewhere. I don't need to be the newspaper publisher nor the owner of the library to "index" that content and tell others to check it out.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (5, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | about 4 months ago | (#47043327)

seems to me that basic free speech and free thought is that you cannot command me to forget something, nor command me not to share what I know (ignoring confidentiality agreements which are irrelevant here).

And here I think the great cultural divide between Europe and USA rears its head. While you cannot be commanded to forget, in Europe, you are expected to forget. The judicial systems of Europe are based on being able to fully rehabilitate, and the former offender's slate is wiped clean.
In the US, you continue to be punished for past offenses until the day you die. Whether you've been released or not, you don't have a right, legally or culturally to a clean slate.

Personally, I think this difference is due to religious thinking, where the great majority of Americans believe in a "soul", and that a 60 year old man can and should be held responsible for what a 20 year old did. Add that justice is largely revenge based (an eye for an eye), and there must always be someone to punish, even after the world has moved on.

The Northern European view is that people change, and that the 60 year old man is not the same person as the 20 year old. People change, and should not be held responsible for views they no longer hold or crimes for which they've served their sentence. There is no "soul", so when the person has changed, the decent thing to do is to forget and not bring it up again. Give people a chance to start over.

Newspapers are historical documents. But someone in Northern Europe going through old newspapers to dig up old dirt is seen as an arsehole. While not illegal, it's against all cultural decency.. in the US, it would be seen as due diligence.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (3, Insightful)

s.petry (762400) | about 4 months ago | (#47043835)

Personally, I think this difference is due to religious thinking, where the great majority of Americans believe in a "soul", and that a 60 year old man can and should be held responsible for what a 20 year old did. Add that justice is largely revenge based (an eye for an eye), and there must always be someone to punish, even after the world has moved on.

Absolute nonsense! The US used to believe in rehabilitation, which is actually a Christian belief. We used to believe that double jeopardy was unjust too, but now it's common place for people to be tried for the same crime twice, once in criminal court and again in civil court (verdict in either court does not sway the other court). We used to believe in innocence before guilt, and we thought mens rea was required for a crime.

Like most of Europe and the UK, US courts and laws were based on Christian Law and Philosophy.

If anything we have lost our sense of justice as the US has become anti-Christian, and yes the US has become very anti Christian.

For posterity, I am claiming you are wrong about the reasons we have lost our sense of justice. I am not claiming someone's Religion is right or wrong. Look at the lying scum that sits in a huge number of political offices and it's obvious that they are corrupt and immoral. US Culture lacks morality and faith, media has done a great job of removing both of those things.

Re:The Problem Isn't (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47044083)

You are entirely too metaphysical for my tastes. I'm not sure that the theory about souls is the operative issue here.

This is my theory. The European view is based upon the notion of a supportive state. If a person has changed their life and behaviours, then the state is willing to support that change (funny how this only applies in cases where the earlier behaviour was bad and the new behaviour good. Let's not dwell on this though).

The US view is based upon historical facts. The person has their history and they may change. However it's other people's right to discover what that history is. Even if the story is controversial and contested, the dispute over the facts is itself part of the historical record.

What I cannot currently reconcile is that it is an accepted cultural truism that America is the land where people can reinvent themselves. Which appears to contradict the above??

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (2, Insightful)

BitterOak (537666) | about 4 months ago | (#47043241)

First, why should search engines not enjoy the same free speech rights as newspapers?

You're asking the wrong question. If we can agree that internet search engines are not newspapers, then the burden falls upon search engines to explain why they should receive the special status granted to newspapers.

What "special status" granted to newspapers? Is this a European thing? In America, everyone has the same free speech rights that newspapers do. Newspapers aren't special.

TLDR: this ruling simply applies to sites that link to content on other sites rather than it's own original content .

Now, do online newspapers lose the ability to link to other source material in their articles?

No, they don't. Because they are not internet search engines.

Your last two comments contradict each other. You say it's a search engine if it links to offsite content, but then in the next answer you say newspapers are allowed to link to offsite content without being classed as a search engine.

Re: The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47043373)

Technically public media and journalists have stronger free speech rights than individuals, for numerous reasons, including statutory and constitutional.

However, our courts are unlikely to challenge your claim that you're a journalist as long as you're earnest.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (1)

jhol13 (1087781) | about 4 months ago | (#47043677)

Newspapers have editors who can be kept responsible for the content in the newspaper, search engines do not.
Then EU does have "government", "police", "judicial system" and "newspapers" as separate entities unaffectable by others (government cannot directly control police, judicial system or newspapers, neither can police control any of the other entities, and so on).

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (3, Insightful)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 4 months ago | (#47043265)

It's not only newspapers that get to keep the info, but any non-search web site apparently. So you can't even divide it based on journalism. What is it about "internet search engine" that is special compared to "online legal database", "hall of records", or "almanac of 1972"? It's like censoring only the card catalog in a library.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 4 months ago | (#47043331)

When the recording industry went after sites that pointed to (but didn't themselves host) pirated material, we shook our heads in amazement. How could pointing to something be illegal? Wouldn't the thing itself be illegal but saying "illegal thing is over here" just be informative?

Now the EU is actually going one worse. Apparently, having the article online is fine. No problem. Perfectly legal. However, a search engine saying "there's that legal thing over there" is illegal - in some vague circumstances.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47043415)

The position that communicating a fact is a special privilege belonging only to participants in a particularly favored class is both a fundamentally totalitarian position.

Which is to say, it's entirely to be expected from the EU, an organization whose procedures and practices conclusively demonstrate that it exists primarily to circumvent the democratic form of government unwillingly imposed on continental Europeans by the US military at the end of the Second World War.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (1)

bitt3n (941736) | about 4 months ago | (#47043281)

Given that anyone can sign up for a VPN for $35 a year and use the US google (which presumably isn't governed by EU law), I'd say the biggest problem is that this law is completely unenforceable.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (1)

NapalmV (1934294) | about 4 months ago | (#47044099)

The question here is the lifespan of he "news", not how you classify their support (paper vs. internet, search vs. non-search etc). Traditionally this lifespan was limited to a few days while the said newspaper was on the stands. After that, access to those news was becoming cumbersome, i.e. like in having to go to the library and manually scroll through miles of archived microfiche. This 2 tiers system (news stands vs. microfiche) was ensuring that, while the information was still retained, you were practically "forgotten" and "out of the news" for the purpose of daily life. Obviously a newspaper could have elected to later regurgitate the same news and publish them again on the front page; however, they couldn't do this forever (you being on the front page for months for exactly the same news may have ended in a harassment lawsuit).

With the advent of internet, there's only one tier of "archiving", i.e. those news are always one search/click away from the public, making them "front page" for ever.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (1)

locofungus (179280) | about 4 months ago | (#47044151)

There are two problems here. First, why should search engines not enjoy the same free speech rights as newspapers?

You're asking the wrong question.

First - why should search engines be exempt from the data control regulations that other people who compile databases of personal information are obliged to follow?

The court has ruled that what Google is doing is _legal_. That is huge! Everybody else has to get a licence from the data controller, has to provide all the information they hold on a person in a readily accessible form[1] for a small (capped) fee and has to delete information on request.

[1] When a subject access request is made, the company has to go through and remove all the personal information relating to other people - so Google could not just point to their search engine.

Google (search engines) only have to comply with the last of these. I've not read the judgement, so I'm not sure why search engines were given a free pass on the other items (although I agree with it)

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (2)

dnavid (2842431) | about 4 months ago | (#47042961)

The original court decision was twofold 1. You have no right to be forgotten by the Newspaper that published the story 2. You have a right to be forgotten by search engines.

This only applies in the EU and only applies to companies incorporated in the EU. Google is welcome to shut down its various European subsidiaries (including the ones in Ireland and the Netherlands that they use to shelter income).

It will be interesting to see how this ruling actually gets implemented by member states of the EU. It appears to be highly problematic for various reasons. First, because the ruling while comporting with EU law appears inconsistent with how the internet actually works. Taken to its logical conclusion it states that it could be legal in the EU for someone to publish information that can theoretically be accessed by the general public, but illegal for anyone else to point out that fact. The ruling also states that its legal interpretation only applies to legal entities that are actually within the EU. That means global entities like Google can be held to the legal standard articulated within their ruling, but entities outside the EU are completely immune. So, a search engine in China, say, that had no subsidiaries within the EU would be free to ignore EU's attempt to implement this "right to be forgotten" principle. But if a large enough search engine anywhere contains that information, its not hard to presume technology that would make it accessible from anywhere. In the extreme, you'd just balkanize search, with different search engines referring to each other to access content an individual search engine was legally not allowed to offer.

More likely you'd simply make it much more inconvenient for countries that attempt to enforce this type of law to access global search. And you'd encourage your own citizens to use search engines outside the regulatory umbrella of your own country to obtain the most complete search results. The unintended consequences of this type of ruling seem to have no end to the list of detrimental collateral damage that they can cause.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (2)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about 4 months ago | (#47042995)

The original court decision was twofold
1. You have no right to be forgotten by the Newspaper that published the story
2. You have a right to be forgotten by search engines.

This only applies in the EU and only applies to companies incorporated in the EU.

How are those two things not exactly the same?

A fact is a fact. If a newspaper reports a fact and a Google search returns articles which state that same fact, how is there a difference? Why can Goolge be forced to remove reference to a fact, but not the newspaper.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 4 months ago | (#47043167)

Why can Google be forced to remove reference to a fact, but not the newspaper.

From the Court Opinion [europa.eu]
Why Google:

As the data subject may, in the light of his fundamental rights under Articles 7 and 8 of the Charter, request that the information in question no longer be made available to the general public on account of its inclusion in such a list of results, those rights override, as a rule, not only the economic interest of the operator of the search engine but also the interest of the general public in having access to that information upon a search relating to the data subjectâ(TM)s name.

Why not the newspaper:

16 By decision of 30 July 2010, the AEPD rejected the complaint in so far as it related to La Vanguardia, taking the view that the publication by it of the information in question was legally justified as it took place upon order of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and was intended to give maximum publicity to the auction in order to secure as many bidders as possible.

The AEPD = Spanish Data Protection Agency
Whether this means that a newspaper can be forced to remove content that is not published "upon order of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs," ... I don't know.
I can't seem to dig up the Audiencia Nacional (Spain's National High Court) decision/referral.

Re:The Problem Isn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47044227)

A map to a grocery store is not a grocery store....

A newspaper article is a block of text and/or photos that conveys information about some event.
Google's search engines are directions on where to find that article.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 4 months ago | (#47043245)

I can see each of those decisions individually can make sense in some contexts or viewpoints. However when put together they clash with each other and it doesn't make sense. All that you get with them together is that casual searches on your name won't bring up the embarrassing information, but background searches by your employer or doctor or potential date will find it. You're not being forgotten, merely obfuscated.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47044147)

1. You have no right to be forgotten by the Newspaper that published the story

This is wrong: Traditional media is also subject to german slander laws [wikipedia.org]

Basically it means, that if traditional media lies about you, you can force them to to publish a rectification, which has to be published in the same manner and within reasonable time - if they slandered you on their headlines, they'll have to publish their rectification on their front page as well.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47042795)

Let countries that want to hook up to them hook up to them, and then regulate their own internet however they like.

That'd be more like an intranet. And who says you cannot do that?

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 4 months ago | (#47042797)

The problem is that some nations want to enforce their rules on other nations.

I think it's fair to say all nations would like to enforce their rules on other nations.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Create a couple of giant hubs in the Atlantic and Pacific, controlled by NOBODY. Let countries that want to hook up to them hook up to them, and then regulate their own internet however they like. But they don't get to govern what other people in other countries say. The very idea is pretty obvious, unworkable, globalist-statist nonsense.

How do you administer these neutral giant hubs that you imagine will operate free of influence?

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 4 months ago | (#47043089)

How do you administer these neutral giant hubs that you imagine will operate free of influence?

Why would they need "administration"?

If what you meant was upkeep or maintenance, an international consortium should do the trick. They would also have to allow inspection (but not interference) by any participating country at any time.

But other than that, why does it need "administration"? It's not rocket science. It's just a hub. They're dirt simple in principle.

And if other countries want to build hubs other than the "public" hubs, that's their business too.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 4 months ago | (#47043361)

First of all, how do you power the servers on the hubs? Where is the electricity coming from?

Secondly, where is the data connection to the hub coming from?

Lastly, who is administering the servers? Is it someone living in the US, UK, etc who remotes in? Or someone who lives on the "hub island"? If the latter, how do you get food and other essentials to the hub?

Now assume that some websites this hub is hosting makes the US and some other big countries angry. I'll even grant some leeway and assume that raiding the island and seizing the computers would be troublesome. No problem. Simply cut off the electrical feed, sever the data connection, arrest any off-hub personnel, and/or block any supply shipments for on-hub personnel. You've just brought the hub to its knees.

If an "international consortium" is managing the hub, who is on the consortium? What countries are they from? Would they be vulnerable to "attack" via friends/family members/interests based in those or other countries?

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (2)

sphealey (2855) | about 4 months ago | (#47042953)

Great! When the pirates show up [1] and the "island in nowhere" owners call for help from the US Navy, Royal Navy, Spanish Navy... I'm sure there will be prompt response.

In any case, how are you going to get qualified people to live in the middle of the ocean? Oh, they're going to live in Brooklyn and telecommute? I see a tiny flaw in your "stateless Internet" plan...

sPh

[1] I had a site in a reasonably advanced developing nation where all EDP equipment was twice cleaned out at gunpoint by marauders, along with the copper wire to the phone company stolen. Why they didn't just take the electric power transformers while they were at it I don't know. And that was in a functioning nation-state with a not-hopeless police function.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (4, Insightful)

beelsebob (529313) | about 4 months ago | (#47043011)

The problem is, what you're saying here is actually "enforcing your rules on other nations". You want the rule to be "I'm free to do whatever I want", which is basically the American ruleset. You are trying to enforce that on Europe, where the rule is "no, actually, that hurts someone else, you can't do it".

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 4 months ago | (#47043111)

The problem is, what you're saying here is actually "enforcing your rules on other nations". You want the rule to be "I'm free to do whatever I want", which is basically the American ruleset. You are trying to enforce that on Europe, where the rule is "no, actually, that hurts someone else, you can't do it".

This is just plain nonsense.

I'm saying: create a hub where Europe and America can connect. America is in control of its branch of the hub. Europe is in charge of its branch of the hub. Neither is controlling the other.

If Europe wants to access anything on the American branch, that's fine, but then they're on American territory and must operate under American rules. Similarly, if an American visits European internet (and is allowed to do so), that American must follow European rules.

What's the big deal with that? People have been doing this for centuries. When you're in Europe, follow European laws. When you're in America, follow American laws. Etc.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 4 months ago | (#47043227)

There is a certain stunning irony in someone on the US side of this particular debate complaining about nations wanting to enforce their own laws in other nations.

For one thing, that doesn't appear to be what the ruling actually says.

That aside, someone from the United States is arguing against enforcing local laws abroad? Seriously?!

I say let's go with your idea. It sounds great. You can have your free speech on your part of the wild west Internet, and we can have our privacy protection in our part of the grown up, normal laws do actually apply here Internet. Also, maybe we can go back to having reasonable IP laws. And perhaps we might even keep the tax revenues from sales by Internet companies in our countries. With a bit of luck, we might even develop more home grown tech industry that way, too.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 4 months ago | (#47043413)

But you're outside the whole context of this discussion thread. It wasn't about what the ruling said, it was about what OP said.

At least get your context straight, please.

I happen to agree with you that it would be rather a joke for the U.S. government, say, to complain about someone else trying to tell them what to do. (Note, however, I am not my government.)

BUT... that simply isn't what this was about. I was proposing SEPARATE networks so each country can govern as it sees fit. No interference with anyone else. That's not dictatorship, that's freedom for each country to do what it wants.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about 4 months ago | (#47043495)

The big deal is that it encourages extradition abuse. Americans would be subject to EU law if they access a host outside of their borders and european citizens would be subject to american extradition. So now both groups of people are subject to laws written by systems they have no say in. Wonderful. It's bad enough that western governments are willing to bilaterally work around laws which limit their actions on their home soil. This would make it worse. 'Cross-site-scripted' tyranny like this is one of the gravest threats to liberty because it's nearly impossible to get justice when states routinely use targeted citizens as pawns on the international chessboard.

Both americans and europeans don't even know their own laws as there are too many on the books creating huge minefields. Now you want them to memorize the combined legal code for the USA and EU countries (and possibly more) in order to use the internet? Expecting the average user to understand this and how to corral his computer into complying with that is insane. Cross site scripting is ubiquitous these days making it nearly impossible to check beforehand where the next dump of javascript will send the browser, and http is how most people use the net.

Maybe it's just time for the boomer generation to catch up to the youth of 'eternal september' (and now their children) who grew up with the internet (or at least had it as teens), by realizing that data packets != reality land, making most of law irrelevant. Legislation cannot fix this, nor can the generous 'donations' from single interest groups backed by technology companies who don't/can't fix their broken systems. Knowledge and wisdom can mitigate it though.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (2)

phantomfive (622387) | about 4 months ago | (#47043809)

I believe the problem here is that Google wants to have a presence in Europe (including offices for business and tax purposes). Otherwise they would have already ignored the EU.

Re:The Problem Isn't "Free Speech vs Privacy" (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | about 4 months ago | (#47043805)

You are trying to enforce that on Europe, where the rule is "no, actually, that hurts someone else, you can't do it".

Censorship hurts everyone. So if that was actually the rule, this case would not have gone this way.

Utter nonsense (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 4 months ago | (#47042809)

if anyone cares about your worthless narcissistic ass, they would have been just as interested in the pre-Internet age. The fact that there is now an on-line encyclopedia really doesn't change anything. The media was quite free to 'slander' you in the past. They just would have done it in print or on TV. Either of those mediums can be propagated worldwide.

Also, anything involving you being incarcerated is not an issue of "privacy". It's a matter of public record and needs to be open and available for public audit.

Re:Utter nonsense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47042983)

It's terribly simplistic to equate the two just because it was possible before. The difference is that now, you can't escape it. The information is at everyone's fingertips, a search engine query or two away. This creates a culture where your mistakes can never be forgotten, let alone forgiven.

No longer do people really have to try to find out details about you, and no longer do you have to be the public's consciousness to have this stuff plague you. At best you're generic enough to show up alongside many people with the same name, but even then information retrieval services (and the younger generation's skills with them) are almost keeping pace with this explosion of available information.

Re:Utter nonsense (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 4 months ago | (#47043299)

Of course mistakes are forgotten. You can barely find any information on Google that is more than a decade old, it gets scrubbed and removed over time as not being relevant to generating ad revenue.

The other problem is that when this information really matters it will be found out. Apply for a new job and they'll find out all the dirt about you when they run the credit check and criminal history check, so that will hurt you economically far more than if your neighbor found out. Even if a criminal record is expunged it still will be discovered by people doing the background check.

Re:Utter nonsense (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 4 months ago | (#47043147)

Also, anything involving you being incarcerated is not an issue of "privacy". It's a matter of public record and needs to be open and available for public audit.

Although I've never been incarcerated and it's highly unlikely that I ever will be, I don't think a criminal record should be a permanent millstone around anyone's neck. If you've done your time and are no longer a threat to anyone or anything, it should need a court order to turn up criminal records. Time done, move on. Anything else is vengeance, not justice.

Europe is shortsighted; the USA oblivious (4, Insightful)

TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) | about 4 months ago | (#47042835)

There are a large number of things that Europe "gets right".

Europe doesn't realize that privacy in theory becomes censorship in practice.

There are a large number of things that the USA "gets right".

The USA doesn't realize an *unregulated* free market without *PROPER* government supervision means all companies merge into one company and then do really shitty things.

Which form of stupid to do you prefer: ___________ >>--- fill in your choice.

(This is my view of what happens, in Europe ultimately there ends up being a Ministry of Censorship that results in websites warning about cookies and the plutocracy having more rights, while in the USA evil corporations end up being immune to government because they contribute $$$ to our broken political system.)

Re:Europe is shortsighted; the USA oblivious (2)

ravenshrike (808508) | about 4 months ago | (#47042935)

Oh they damn well do realize it, and the governments at least consider that working as intended.

Re:Europe is shortsighted; the USA oblivious (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 4 months ago | (#47043275)

As far as I'm aware, there is literally no country in the world that actually has 100% free speech protection in law. Certainly the US does not: there are numerous things that you are not free to express without penalty. You can shout about your theoretical First Amendment protections as much as you want, but you can still be sued for infringing copyright, you can still be arrested for threatening to kill someone, etc.

Equating privacy protection with censorship misses the point. There's an old saying that your right to swing your fist ends at the bridge of my nose. It's not strictly true from a modern legal perspective, but the point that you need to balance many rights and freedoms for everyone is just as valid as it ever was. There will always be a tension between freedom of expression and right to privacy, and using inflammatory language like "censorship" to describe anything but an absolutely one-sided position isn't going to achieve anything constructive.

In fact, it's rather ironic that in one paragraph you attack the idea of protecting privacy as a form of censorship, yet in the very next paragraph you argue for government supervision and market regulation so that companies are not free to act as they wish.

Re:Europe is shortsighted; the USA oblivious (1)

TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) | about 4 months ago | (#47043459)

"In fact, it's rather ironic that in one paragraph you attack the idea of protecting privacy as a form of censorship, yet in the very next paragraph you argue for government supervision and market regulation so that companies are not free to act as they wish."

The two aren't related in the slightest.

You might believe that "corporations" have "rights" --- but I sure as hell don't.

I also don't believe Lex Luthor or Dick Cheney or Kim Jong Korean Dude has the right to purge the internet of facts he finds inconvenient --- you might as well rule that big enough aholes can write and sculpt their wikipedia pages how they see fit.

Apparently, you seem to call that privacy --- but such a privacy when it is backed by money and lawyers isn't a right but rather a plutocracy where the size of one's purse is your right under law.

I think that stinks, but you seem to disagree.

Re:Europe is shortsighted; the USA oblivious (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47043973)

you might as well rule that big enough aholes can write and sculpt their wikipedia pages how they see fit.

They already do, I have been in edit wars on some pages and give up because I don't have a sock puppet army to fight them. Pay attention to hot topic issues on Wiki and keep screen scraping. In fact I'll go one better, do some fact checking and try to correct some of their edits.

The two aren't related in the slightest.

If censorship comes from the Government it's not censorship? Come on now, you can do better.

Re:Europe is shortsighted; the USA oblivious (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about 4 months ago | (#47043659)

True. That doesn't mean we say "oh well, might as well get comfortable with ever more pervasive surveillance and censorship."

You can make that case for physical violence involving your fists, but not for much else. Once the law starts covering things like feelings too, you effectively have crazy censorship and monitoring driven by the limits imposed by the most powerful social activists (the mozilla firing, invasive employee background checking, etc). I'll pass on this too. It's really not that hard to pass a law that forces businesses and government agencies to 'forget' you if you demand it. Just associate personal information as personal property that cannot be retained either by force or by condition of service, and be done with it. It's very obvious that we are unable (or unwilling) to secure systems technologically or legally, so such information should be the property of the person in question, governments and corporates be damned...and governments which refuse to abide by such a law are criminal and need to be treated as such. Is this likely to ever happen? No, but I am saying it's possible if our leaders were truly legitimate.

Re:Europe is shortsighted; the USA oblivious (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 4 months ago | (#47043795)

It appears we are in strong agreement.

I don't think we should ever become comfortable with state surveillance and censorship, just as for example we should never be comfortable with armed people going around with the power to forcibly detain us or worse. These things may be necessary evils without which the law cannot in practice be upheld, but they are evils all the same.

Such powers should therefore be granted by law only to the minimum necessary level to enforce the law itself, and they should be applied to everyone equally, and they should probably be overseen by ruthless monsters with the ability to punish in some suitably slow and painful fashion any public official who abuses their privileged powers.

It is unfortunate that in reality government officials tend to get away with a lot more than they should, even in our supposedly democratic and civilised societies. We still have a long way to go before serious abuse of office is considered a high crime tantamount to treason and punished accordingly, but I can't help thinking modern society would probably be a fairer place if we could get there.

Re:Europe is shortsighted; the USA oblivious (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 4 months ago | (#47043951)

I'd prefer the European system. It has the better chance to get changed.

Unbiased summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47042887)

(and perhaps a bit of bitterness on the EU side at U.S. influence online)

Totally unbiased.

Europeans who have been told that the Internet is basically ungovernable — and if it does have guiding principles then they come from the land of the free — are expressing some satisfaction that court has refused to believe that.

And with good reason - it ungovernable unless you happen to be something like, say, a security agency or one of its corporate friends.

Cultural divide is right (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47042899)

"The internet is so new that the law hasn't caught up with it but eventually it'll be regulated like every other aspect of society and that's quite right."

Yes, that's why our forefathers left Europe.

Re:Cultural divide is right (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 4 months ago | (#47043963)

The question is, where are WE going to go? It's not like there's any space left that's really "free".

Only problem is that google has assets in Europe. (1)

anwyn (266338) | about 4 months ago | (#47042977)

If google had no assets in Europe, it could shoot Europe the big finger, because of the SPEECH Act [gpo.gov] . But because google does have assets in Europe, it will have to comply or move its assets out of Europe.

Google is too subject to international pressure. It is time for those interested in truth to move to a search engine that has no assets in Europe.

What about Duck Duck Go, does it have assets in Europe? What about other search engines?

Re:Only problem is that google has assets in Europ (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47043949)

Given that they basically don't pay tax it wouldn't be a great loss anyway. Maybe piss off the nsa and gchq. So could be a positive move all round. Win win!

TTIP (4, Funny)

manu0601 (2221348) | about 4 months ago | (#47043071)

Don't worry, the upcoming Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership [wikipedia.org] will fix that divergence by removing any European specific thing from Europe.

Re:TTIP (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about 4 months ago | (#47043967)

In other words, we will have shitty meat, shitty gen-manipulated corn, shitty clothing, shitty living standards and shitty jobs.

But we will have the right to freely express our dissatisfaction with them.

Both deserve to lose. (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 4 months ago | (#47043651)

Two powers are trying to take control over the internet and neither is worthy of it.

The US overstepped its authority in wire tapping everything. The NSA needs to have reasonable limits placed upon it.

And Europe has no right to dictate what people say on the internet. This starts out with limiting pornography and hate speech... and then very quickly it becomes about shutting down political rivals or ideas you simply disagree with...

Both deserve to lose.

I want to become an American and move out of Europ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47043759)

I plan to move to the US, the land of the free, because there is no freedom of speech in Greece and EU and I'm not allowed to take photos of people in the street and publish or sell them without their written permission. Photography has become illegal in Europe due to misguided "privacy" laws. It's just ridiculous that I cannot do street photography in Europe because the European governments have decided that we photographers should ask people before we take their photo or publish it! I want to become an American citizen and do my photography in the US because the American Constitution guarantees me freedom of speech.

And the balanced perspective... (2)

jandersen (462034) | about 4 months ago | (#47044031)

Yes, it is coming up the the European elections over here, and this 'story' should be seen on that background: as a self-serving piece of propaganda from one of the wing-nuts.

...bitterness on the EU side at U.S. influence online.

Meh? I suspect most of us are not so much bitter at all as simply plain, old tired of American self-importance. The fact is that American influence is on the decline and has been for many years; any bitterness is probably on the American side. The Chinese are taking over as the great influencers of cultural and intetllectual expression, but these things always shift; it is only a few decades ago that it was Italy, UK, France or Germany.

Europeans who have been told that the Internet is basically ungovernable â" and if it does have guiding principles then they come from the land of the free...

Ask a real American if USA is the 'Land of the Free' any more, if ever it was. The internet is not ungovernable; there are many ways govern, and not all rely on legislation, democracy or use of weapons. The rulers of the internet are not national governments, but big corporations like Google, Facebook etc, who have a near monopoly on the most popular methods to access information. If you control the sources of information, you control people's minds. In Europe we have a very sound scepticism towards the wisdom of letting unelected corporations have that much power.

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