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Google Has Received Over 41,000 Requests To "Forget" Personal Information

samzenpus posted about a month and a half ago | from the forget-me dept.

Google 138

itwbennett (1594911) writes 'In the three weeks since a key ruling by the European Court of Justice about the so-called right to be forgotten, Google has already received around 41,000 requests to delete links to personal information from its search results (within 24 hours of putting the form online, Google had reportedly received 12,000 deletion requests). It should be noted, though, that there is no absolute right to have information deleted, and Google will have to weigh a number of criteria in responding to the requests to delete links, including relevance of the information, and the time passed since the facts related.'

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138 comments

To Mob told them to... (0)

Tablizer (95088) | about a month and a half ago | (#47169425)

...fogettaboudit

Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (1, Interesting)

Gothmolly (148874) | about a month and a half ago | (#47169429)

If Google is all about doing no evil and playing nice, why wouldn't they delete the information?

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (4, Insightful)

LihTox (754597) | about a month and a half ago | (#47169443)

If Google is all about doing no evil and playing nice, why wouldn't they delete the information?

Because some of those requests are almost certainly from nasty people wanting Google to cover up their crimes?

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47169465)

You're a bit insane, you know that?

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (4, Funny)

LihTox (754597) | about a month and a half ago | (#47169473)

You're a bit insane, you know that?

Oh certainly, but that's beside the point. :)

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47169841)

In an article posted a few days ago they already said that they have had a ton of requests from sex offenders and people who have committed crimes.

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47170351)

We're in a post-rational era. As long as you don't "feel" like you're guilty, you're innocent, right?

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47170615)

Yeah, and it was obvious that this tiny minority would be propagandised by those who are opposed to privacy rights.

Anyway, we have a justice system to deal with crimes - not private firms encouraged by the mob.

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (1, Insightful)

bradrum (1639141) | about a month and a half ago | (#47169497)

That is what the justice system is for... to adjudicate and punish those that break the law. Google is just for nosy people that think they can avoid anyone that will ever commit a crime and never get sick because they can diagnose every sneeze they ever have.

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47169507)

Google is diagnosing sneezes now?

Take that BING!

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (1)

bradrum (1639141) | about a month and a half ago | (#47169527)

Yup. So remember to collect all those tissues and send them into your local Google offices.

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (5, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | about a month and a half ago | (#47169583)

I suspect there's quite a lot of people who are running questionable schemes requesting removal of information that would show their bullshit schemes as bullshit schemes and them as bullshit peddlers.

say, you're actively committing fraud, by claiming that you're a doctor of alien sciences or some bullshit like that. should you be able to remove all criticism about your "alien artifact healing technology" or not?

should some random dude be able to remove _my_ information that I _want_ to be available?

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (2)

fastest fascist (1086001) | about a month and a half ago | (#47170047)

say, you're actively committing fraud, by claiming that you're a doctor of alien sciences or some bullshit like that. should you be able to remove all criticism about your "alien artifact healing technology" or not?

should some random dude be able to remove _my_ information that I _want_ to be available?

To the first, I don't believe that is the kind of information Google is required to remove. To the second, Google requires verification of ID as part of the removal process.

Don't get me wrong, I think asking search engines to forget publically available data is censorship, and it seems like it must cost Google quite a bit to comply with such requirements. Still, let's at least criticize this development for what it is, not for what it might be in bizarro-world.

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (1)

Xest (935314) | about a month and a half ago | (#47170237)

"should some random dude be able to remove _my_ information that I _want_ to be available?"

I don't know if you were implying otherwise, but it's probably worth making it explicitly clear that they can't easily do so, because Google require proof of ID to honour a request.

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (1)

MrMickS (568778) | about a month and a half ago | (#47170411)

"should some random dude be able to remove _my_ information that I _want_ to be available?"

I don't know if you were implying otherwise, but it's probably worth making it explicitly clear that they can't easily do so, because Google require proof of ID to honour a request.

I think you've missed the point here. If I post information explaining why Mr X shouldn't be trusted that's my information. Mr X can request Google to remove my site from their index by providing proof that he is Mr X. At no point does Google have to talk to me about it.

The whole scheme provides an extra-legal mechanism to censor the web. Its an appalling overreach of secrecy law and needs to be removed forthwith.

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (1)

Xest (935314) | about a month and a half ago | (#47170559)

"I think you've missed the point here. If I post information explaining why Mr X shouldn't be trusted that's my information. Mr X can request Google to remove my site from their index by providing proof that he is Mr X. At no point does Google have to talk to me about it."

It depends what exactly you post. If you're just posting an opinion piece then yes that's your information. If you start posting his address, phone number and so forth then you're posting his personal data and that's what he can have removed.

"The whole scheme provides an extra-legal mechanism to censor the web."

Only to the extent he can censor personal data, that's all. It's just a mechanism to ensure you're not hounded by spammers or have decision made against you based on old outdated information. You seem to think it's more sinister than that but that's not the case. The European data protection directive only applies to personal data, not opinion pieces, literature and so forth and even then it only applies if there's no public interest defence and so forth.

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | about a month and a half ago | (#47170719)

"should some random dude be able to remove _my_ information that I _want_ to be available?"

I don't know if you were implying otherwise, but it's probably worth making it explicitly clear that they can't easily do so, because Google require proof of ID to honour a request.

What if I'm writing about someone, do they have the power to hide what I've written?

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (1)

Xest (935314) | about a month and a half ago | (#47171059)

Only if you're exposing personal data and have no public interest defence.

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | about a month and a half ago | (#47170707)

I have received cease and desist letter from scammers, one case the scammer was going after me because they didn't like a coroners report that criticised them for selling fake medicine to the now deceased victim. These people will never take me to court where evidence would be examined, now thanks to the EU they don't have to.

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a month and a half ago | (#47170777)

In order to get stuff removed you have to show that it meets the EU's criteria of being irrelevant, inaccurate or out of date. It seems like nothing in your example would meet those criteria, so would not be removed. Clearly any on-going activity is relevant and up to date. Note also that the EU court was talking in legal terms, not the common or dictionary definition of those words so the meaning is a bit narrower.

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (3, Interesting)

Titus Groan (2834723) | about a month and a half ago | (#47169523)

and the do no evil part of that is called rehabilitation of offenders. Most (if not all) EU countries have laws that state you do not need to inform anyone of a past crime after a certain amount of time - this means that they should not affect your employment prospects. There are obvious exceptions to this for sexual offences against the vulnerable. We like to think that once you serve your sentence your debt is paid.

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (-1, Flamebait)

bradrum (1639141) | about a month and a half ago | (#47169541)

Haven't you gotten the memo on this? Somewhere during the Reagan years people decided that rehabilitation is only for white collar criminals and government officials.

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47169697)

Post-conviction, a bench warrant over a misdemeanor can last over 20 years. They won't pay to extradite from anywhere, but if the person were to be found in that jurisdiction...

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (0, Troll)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | about a month and a half ago | (#47169603)

You not being legally required to inform others of your past transgressions is not the same as having those acts concealed for you by a third party (at their own expense). Otherwise history is going to look very different in the near future. Holocaust? Sorry, no records available. Khmer Rouge? Never happened. Every event is driven by people, and if they have the right to have their complicity forgotten, then who caused the event? Yes, I should be able to find out if a future employee was convicted of a serious (read "time in jail") crime... no, I don't need to know if they were simply stupid as a kid. Our prior actions do, and should, affect our future. Having paid ones debt to society is not the same as suddenly becoming trustworthy just because our past can be hidden...

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (1)

bradrum (1639141) | about a month and a half ago | (#47169673)

Otherwise history is going to look very different in the near future. Holocaust? Sorry, no records available. Khmer Rouge? Never happened.

You do realize that those events are documented by first hand accounts and historians right? How is being erased from Google's databases close to erasing the memories of witnesses or even the ability of historians to publish books? Not even close sorry.

Our prior actions do, and should, affect our future. Having paid ones debt to society is not the same as suddenly becoming trustworthy just because our past can be hidden...
 

People say this shit all of the time then something happens to them or they get sick or something. Then they suddenly become the one exception to the rule. What you saying is more of the same kind of talk that control freaks say that think that they control who they meet, what they see, and what they hear all of the time. Thinking that the more self selected information that they dig up will prevent anything bad from happening to them or their loved ones.

Actually, it happens all the time (4, Insightful)

Camael (1048726) | about a month and a half ago | (#47169757)

Otherwise history is going to look very different in the near future. Holocaust? Sorry, no records available. Khmer Rouge? Never happened.

You do realize that those events are documented by first hand accounts and historians right? How is being erased from Google's databases close to erasing the memories of witnesses or even the ability of historians to publish books? Not even close sorry.

As far as the internet is concerned, if you don't appear on Google, you don't exist [icaew.com] . Practically speaking, a lot of people doing research today start with a quick google search. If they don't get any results, they are likely to assume the subject doesn't exist/never happened.

As for your point about historical records, accounts etc, the same are often accused of being fabricated/simply ignored. For example, even today there are many who deny that the Holocaust ever happened [wikipedia.org] . Similarly, until today the government of Japan still denies that the Nanking Massacre occurred [wikipedia.org] .

My point is, if this information is freely available on the web, it is much harder to deny the truth. Make this information disappear, and it is much easier to brainwash the public into believing it is a lie.

This brainwashing process has already begun [tofugu.com] .

Re:Actually, it happens all the time (1)

Cochonou (576531) | about a month and a half ago | (#47169813)

For sure the internet makes the information flow easily, but it also makes disinformation flow easily. It seems to me that from what we have seen in recent history, the internet also makes much easier to deny the truth or to cling on on fringe theories. I am sure that people denying the Holocaust find plenty of websites and forums on which they can learn about the "hidden truth" and reinforce their beliefs. I am also sure that you will find much more rewriting of history happening on websites rather than on japanese schoolbooks.
So in this regard, the situation is not that clear cut.

Re:Actually, it happens all the time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47170545)

But it gets a little worse as soon as information can be removed (almost) arbitrarily.

Re:Actually, it happens all the time (1)

bradrum (1639141) | about a month and a half ago | (#47170447)

The internet is full of disinformation and lies, just as well! Quite a bit of internet information is free...a ton of it is free for a reason, it is untrue.

Searching the internet on Google is not a replacement for historians doing extensive research, having that research reviewed, then publishing.

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (2, Insightful)

Titus Groan (2834723) | about a month and a half ago | (#47169691)

in days of old - you'd have to manually search an unindexed and massive collection of newspapers on microfiche to locate news articles about a crime that was "expunged" by the rehabilitation of offenders act. these days 10 seconds of google can turn them all up. There is no suddenly in the act, there's a sliding scale based upon how long the sentence was. If you're jailed for 4 years or more the conviction does not become non-disclosable. Failing to employ someone in there 40s because they had a shoplifting conviction when they were 18 is unfair on the silly mistakes of youth.

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (1, Funny)

StripedCow (776465) | about a month and a half ago | (#47170791)

Failing to employ someone in there 40s because they had a shoplifting conviction when they were 18 is unfair on the silly mistakes of youth.

Unfair? They should have seen the internet coming, like the rest of us.

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (1)

jader3rd (2222716) | about a month and a half ago | (#47170991)

Failing to employ someone in there 40s because they had a shoplifting conviction when they were 18 is unfair on the silly mistakes of youth.

Which is why there are laws about that, and they even existed before Google.

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (1)

xelah (176252) | about a month and a half ago | (#47170175)

I don't know about EU countries other than the UK, but the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act isn't quite /that/ wide. The time limit is different for different crimes (immediate for police cautions, never for prison sentences over 30 months - so you can certainly forget about having your conviction for mass murder spent). It doesn't require old records or publications to be destroyed. It doesn't require that no-one ever mention it, instead you can be sued for defamation if you do it maliciously (and, AIUI, you can't be sued for defaming a dead person so historians don't need to worry so much). And, employers are allowed to consider it anyway for some jobs (financial jobs, anything involving children, taxi driving, etc.). In fact, if you want to volunteer to work with children you might have much more than your spent convictions inspected, but pretty much any contact with the police at all.

What it does mean is that you can't be charged higher insurance premiums because you got caught speeding a few times ten years ago, can't be sacked from a shop when your employer discovers you shoplifter many years ago, etc. Personally I think it's of benefit to society as a whole because it provides an eventual route to a normal life for people who stop offending. In particular I'm thinking of lazy service providers who find it easier to say no than think about it, and recruiters who may think that someone poses no extra risk but worry that if it goes wrong they as individuals will get the blame.

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a month and a half ago | (#47170123)

Most countries with those laws exclude specific crimes, like sex offences.

New Zealand's clean slate act:

An individual must meet all of the criteria in section 7 of the Act before all of their convictions can be concealed ...

not been convicted of a "specified offence" (e.g. sexual offending against children and young people or the mentally impaired)(see interpretation section for a full list);

To: Google (5, Insightful)

tlambert (566799) | about a month and a half ago | (#47169783)

APPEAL FOR URGENT BUSINESS ASSISTANCE.

Dearest One,

Permit me to inform you of my desire of having a terrible wrong righted! I am quite aware that my message will come to you as a surprise because it is indeed very strange for someone you have not met before to contact you in this regard.

l am Judy Robert the only daughter of late Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Robert. My father was a very wealthy cocoa merchant in Abidjan here, the economic capital of Ivory Coast, he was poisoned to death by his only brother (My Uncle) and his business associates on one of their business meeting. My mother died on the 15th June 1991 and my father took me so special because l am motherless.

Before the death of my father on 21st December 2008 in a private hospital here in Abidjan, he secretly called me on his bedside, when I sat down to listen to him, he started crying, when I asked him why?

(1) He complained that I am too young to be managing my life with no one to take care of me,(2)That I have not finished my university education as he planned for me, he revealed to me that he has a sum of US$6.5 ,000,000.00(Six Million Five Hundred Thousand United State Dollars) left in a security company here in Abidjan, that he used my name as the only daughter for his next of kin in deposit of the funds in the box.

He also explained to me that it was because of this wealth that he was poisoned by his only brother (My Uncle) and his business associates, that l should stay away from them as they are evil he warned me seriously not associate with his brother that is my uncle, that I should seek for a God fearing foreign partner in a country of my choice where l will transfer this money and use it for proper investment purpose. Unfortunately, as I was attempting to contact people to aid in retrieving my inheritance, my father's only brother (My Uncle) and his business associates on one of their business meeting decided to besmirch my character and called me a scammer. Now I show up in all search results as a scammer and have no sane hope of achieving my rightful inheritance.
Dear, I am honorably seeking your assistance in the following ways:
(1) To help me by removing these bad search results about myself.
(2) To help me by giving search results advising me to invest the money in a good business. Like Real estate or Hotel Business.
(3) To giving search results on how to make arrangement for me to come over to your country to further my education and also to secure a resident permit in your country.

Moreover, Dear I am willing to offer you 15% of the total sum as compensation for your effort/ input after the successful removal of this bad search result to you. Furthermore, please indicate your options towards assisting me as I believe that this transaction would be conclude within seven (7) days you signify your interest to assist me. Email me on my email address for me to send more details to you.
judyrobert1759@
gmail.Com
Anticipating hearing from you urgently.
Thanks and God bless.
Yours Sincerely,
Judy Robert

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47169935)

If Google is all about doing no evil and playing nice, why wouldn't they delete the information?

Because some of those requests are almost certainly from nasty people wanting Google to cover up their crimes?

Um.. So are you saying that Google is now "OFFICIALLY" a law enforcement agency, in Europe no less?

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47170679)

Not in the least, where the hell do you that idea from?
They are indexing what is on the net.
Where does this "OFFICIALLY" a law enforcement agency bullshit come from?

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (1)

C18H27NO3 (1282172) | about a month and a half ago | (#47170163)

Delete the info but publish the requests?

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47170503)

It was reported that the first two requests after he court made it's ruling were by a corrupt politician and a paedophile.

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (5, Interesting)

Dahamma (304068) | about a month and a half ago | (#47169447)

Is it evil to refuse to delete information about a person's public comments or valid criminal record?

Removing slander is one thing, removing accurate information that is public record could be considered censorship. Which is evil in that case? Or... wow, maybe it's not so black and white...

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (2)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a month and a half ago | (#47169529)

Removing slander is one thing, removing accurate information that is public record could be considered censorship

What is a "public record" in one country may be defined differently in another. Likewise, thresholds for what is slander differ as well.

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (1)

Dahamma (304068) | about a month and a half ago | (#47169571)

Irrelevant to the point that the OP basically asked why Google didn't just delete everything requested, since I'm pretty sure public record is not defined as "only things that someone didn't request Google remove links to".

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47170309)

Also on some countries, even though something is public record not everyone is justified access to it. You have to present a legal and rightful interest in order to be granted access to it. (sorry I don't know the exact english term).
I suppose this is mainly because of privacy reasons. eg Why the hell would everyone need to know your criminal record? Your employer in most cases could ask you to provide this info. Also after some time has passed after you have finished your punishment it gets deleted from your record.

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (1)

Xest (935314) | about a month and a half ago | (#47170333)

"Is it evil to refuse to delete information about a person's public comments or valid criminal record?"

That depends on the definition of valid doesn't it? Many countries believe in rehabilitation and it's not uncommon for criminal convictions to not have to be declared after a certain period of time.

In the case of Mr Gonzales which triggered all this he was asking for removal of a record of bad credit that even credit reference agencies would no longer legally be allowed to use because it was deemed to be no longer relevant.

I don't think anyone really seriously disputes the idea that uptodate and publicly relevant information should be available, such as someone serving a sentence for murder or whatever, but the argument beyond that comes down to a battle between those who believe in rehabilitation, and those who believe that allowing rehabilitation by letting people scrub the record clean once rehabilitated is censorship and that preventing such censorship is more important than allowing people a second chance.

So yes it's not black and white.

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a month and a half ago | (#47170853)

In most European countries a person's criminal record is not public knowledge. Parts of it may be available on request to certain people for certain reasons, but you can't just log in to some web site and type in a name to get a full run-down of their convictions. Furthermore convictions can be considered "spent", after which they are no longer reported when making requests. If someone is convicted of shop lifting at 16 it is usually spent at 18, so a childhood mistake doesn't blight the rest of their life and they can still get a job and be a productive, valuable member of society.

You could argue that the reporting of their conviction in the press is public information, but in practical terms until recently there was no easy way for anyone to find it. Finding a paragraph or two on a microfilm in a local library somewhere is rather more work than typing something into Google.

Is it evil for Google to circumvent the intention of the law by reporting (for most practical purposes) non-public information?

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47169449)

If Google is all about doing no evil and playing nice, why wouldn't they delete the information?

That works both ways. If the NSA is all about doing no evil, then why would they delete the (incriminating) info?

Basically, it all depends on what the info is about to whom or what it relates, hence why Google has criteria for deletion (unlike our traitorous government).

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47169553)

How do you make one follow from the other? Just stringing together a grammatically correct sentence does not make it meaningful

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (2)

Damarkus13 (1000963) | about a month and a half ago | (#47169609)

They won't be "deleting" anything. They simply won't be indexing it. The ruling makes absolutely no demand that the content actually be removed from the internet.

It's also worth noting that these requests are not coming from the content owners, they are coming from people that the content is "about"

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (1)

Rachel Heagney (3661531) | about a month and a half ago | (#47170289)

I have to agree on this, probably they will store those information on archives.

Good reasons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47169775)

The most important one is that only information on natural persons can be deleted, by a request from that same natural person. So if Britisch Petroleum cleans up the oil spill they caused they can't request Google to delete that. Another example is that China can't delete the students protesting 25 years ago from the internet. Although China does not need to because Google already agreed to not show the Chineese that stuff anyway. Btw the whole "do no evil" certainly went out the window when they started helping China supress their own population anyway.

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (1)

Camael (1048726) | about a month and a half ago | (#47169805)

If Google is all about doing no evil and playing nice, why wouldn't they delete the information?

Actually, making truthful information readily accessible to the public is a public good. At the expense of the particular individual under scrutiny perhaps, but broadly speaking it is a public good.

A scam artist would love to hide evidence of his past scams. OTOH his past victims/potential victims would probably insist the information be broadcasted far and wide.
A paedophile would love to hide the fact that he abused children from his new neighbours. His new neighbours however would probably be very upset at being kept in the dark.
And I sure wouldn't like it if the person applying to be a school bus driver was able to hide the fact that he drinks heavily on the job and lost his previous job because of it.

In all these cases, I think it is appropriate that the individual's fear of social stigma be sacrificed when weighed against the potential harm that could be caused to innocent parties if the truth was obscured.

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about a month and a half ago | (#47170815)

A scam artist would love to hide evidence of his past scams. OTOH his past victims/potential victims would probably insist the information be broadcasted far and wide.

But what if the victims were also named in the records of information?

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a month and a half ago | (#47170095)

Because they're not the source of the information?
If you take away the source, the search results will fade away as they're reindexed.
Removing from the index is not the answer.

Re:Do No Evil so why not delete the info? (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | about a month and a half ago | (#47170677)

Because censorship IS evil.

statistics breakdown I'd like to see (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47169463)

I'd be interested in a breakdown. How many are for links hosted by governments? such as court cases?
Please break down by city,state, and country government agencies

Google has NO responsiblity whatsover (4, Insightful)

scottbomb (1290580) | about a month and a half ago | (#47169491)

It has long been known that what you post online, for all the world to see, is YOUR responsiblity.

Google is ignorant in a lot of realms, and I criticize them regularly. But one thing they DO get right (about the only thing....) is search. They are NOT reponsible for whatever is posted by whoever about whoever.

Don't like what A said about B? Take it up with A. Google had nothing to do with it. All they did was report that A said X about B. Capiche?

Re:Google has NO responsiblity whatsover (4, Informative)

beh (4759) | about a month and a half ago | (#47169597)

You're missing two points -
a) "It has long been known..." - yes, it has long been known you need to be careful about what you put on-line. But what you're missing is that we learnt this the hard way - by some people first making that mistake; and now maybe finding that they can't rid themselves of it. That _future_ people have that knowledge is no help for those that did fall into the trap before they knew it would be one. Secondly, and more importantly, in my youth I certainly said things I would no longer support today - but if my "opponents" dig out one such story and ensure that it gets linked to a lot (negative SEO), it will stay near the top of the search results - no matter, what I would say today or even have said for the past 10-15 years. Basically, it would mean that you shouldn't say anything in public any more, unless you're willing to stick with that statement forever and never change your mind (even if you learnt more that WOULD make you change your mind).

b) "All they did was report that A said X about B" - correct - but in the case of the guy in spain who brought up the lawsuit in the first place, there is also an information asymmetry at work against you or anyone else. Papers need to publish certain information (like court notices), but there is no legal requirement to publish that the initial problem situation has long been resolved. Therefore the google search results will find "A is in trouble" (10 years ago), but not necessarily "A got out of trouble and got his life back together again" (8 years ago). Therefore the google search results will only show the problem - not that the problem got solved. A look in the bailiffs office record would also show that the problem is past - basically, the record from 10 years ago would carry information that it got resolved 8 years ago; and would show no further issues. With the newspaper's editing - the original article will not be updated; so either google's search finds the resolution of the problem 8 years ago and ranks it accordingly; or it will only give you the link to the original now outdated article with no information about whether the problem has been resolved and when.

By being able to get old search results removed if they're outdated, you don't remove your original record - it would still be visible at the bailiff's office (or for a paedophile example in police records - which are the only source you SHOULD use as a definitive reference) - so "B" can't get out of his responsibilities; B can only influence the filter bubble that is in the google search results.

Re:Google has NO responsiblity whatsover (2)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | about a month and a half ago | (#47169777)

By being able to get old search results removed if they're outdated, you don't remove your original record - it would still be visible at the bailiff's office (or for a paedophile example in police records - which are the only source you SHOULD use as a definitive reference) - so "B" can't get out of his responsibilities; B can only influence the filter bubble that is in the google search results.

Why shouldn't police records be searchable? Why can't Google allow them to be searched? What you're saying is that, since the records are still available somewhere, it is perfectly acceptable to make them almost impossible to find. That's not good.

Re:Google has NO responsiblity whatsover (1)

beh (4759) | about a month and a half ago | (#47169895)

You probably don't want to be misquoted - or quoted completely out of context - why should anyone else be?

I'm not sure about where you are, but police records aren't public in most places - but they are available for relevant searches; i.e. to find out whether someone is a sex-offender before allowing them to work with children, you consult police records - and inside of that context that is perfectly legitimate - and police records are the only source you should trust for this purpose, too.

Similarly, if I ran for public office, people would probably just not quickly scan google to see whether I'm a "decent" candidate; other sources would come into play fairly automatically, because I'd be in the spotlight anyway.

But, taking your stance - where exactly will you draw the line?
Should Star Wars Kid forever be hunted and ridiculed, because you'll find this stupid video if you entered the guys name even 20 years later - just because that is the one thing in his life that went completely viral? Alternatively, just because YOU might think - in this case, it's a kid; that has no bearing on his current life - can you picture that OTHERS would still ridicule him at his workplace or other places, just because they happened to come across that stupid video?

Similarly, say, if you did something wrong in the past - that I would know about - if you ever pissed me off, I could possibly permanently ruin your search results by making that issue "bubble up" (or if I don't want to do it myself, pay some SEO guy a few quid, just to ensure that THAT story will feature fairly close to the top when searching for your name). Or just outright slander you on a web site outside your national jurisdiction - just so you can't have it removed and then ensure that comes up high in google searches.

Re:Google has NO responsiblity whatsover (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47170025)

Or just outright slander you on a web site outside your national jurisdiction - just so you can't have it removed and then ensure that comes up high in google searches.

I was going to answer that those problems could be delt with using right of response (as implemented in French law). Alas that right isn't as widespread as I though. It lets you, if allegations are made recently about you or your business, ask the publisher to let you show the data they forgot to talk about to the same audience. Seeing a well-founded "droit de réponse" article is quite detrimental to the publisher's credibility, one could hope that it enforces honesty in reporting.

Re:Google has NO responsiblity whatsover (4, Insightful)

geogob (569250) | about a month and a half ago | (#47169659)

Don't like what A said about B? Take it up with A.

I don't know in what world you live, but in the real world, there are so many hurdels to that process that it's in many case impossible (Understand, for example, no juridical basis or not affordable).

It has long been known that what you post online[...]

How about what is online and you didn't post yourself? Oh yeah, take it up with A.

I find your view of the world quite naive. I am not convinced that the solution requested by the European Court the best is, but it's a step in the right direction.

Re:Google has NO responsiblity whatsover (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a month and a half ago | (#47170749)

I find your view of the world quite naive. I am not convinced that the solution requested by the European Court the best is, but it's a step in the right direction.

Well, no, it's a step in the wrong direction. The plebes have seen that the wealthy have no accountability, so they're doing their best to get the same deal. Problem is, the system only works when people are held accountable for their actions. This is very much a massive step towards a darker future.

Re:Google has NO responsiblity whatsover (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47169759)

> It has long been known that what you post online, for all the world to see, is YOUR responsiblity.

This isn't just about what you post online, it is also about what other post about you online.

In the past we had a form of privacy that was the result of decentralized files. Arrest records were at the police station, criminal records were at the court house, property records were at the tax assesor's office, vehicle registration records were at the DMV, old newspaper articles were on microfiche at the library, etc. If someone wanted to research you they had to put in a lot of legwork which means it had to be really important to them.

Now, thanks to all of those databases going online plus centralized indexing of that data, it is super easy to research someone. So our old method of balancing privacy with the public's right to know, developed over decades and centuries, just went "poof" practically overnight. Making google remove the indexing, but not the actual records is a way to add some of that original privacy back into the modern era. If you want to research someone it is still tons easier, it just isn't quite simple as typing it into google. You'll have to manually go to each of those databases and search them individually. Still a lot easier than getting the car and driving all over town, but not quite as easy as pulling it all up with a single search on google.

It seems like a fair try at rebalancing the situation. I say give it a few years to see how it works out and then re-evaluate from there.

Re:Google has NO responsiblity whatsover (1)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | about a month and a half ago | (#47169827)

You're not suppressing information, you're just making it very difficult to find. How comforting.

Re:Google has NO responsiblity whatsover (1)

brunes69 (86786) | about a month and a half ago | (#47170377)

And what about when you don't post it online?

Example. The local phone company by default posts your name and address to a public directory when you get phone service. This is then replicated to 411.com and whitepages.com and a dozen other sites. I got the local phone company to take it down (which was a HUGE hassle), but it is still mirrored all over the net. It's been 5 years and you can still get my phone number and address by Googling my name even though I never put it up there.

Re:Google has NO responsiblity whatsover (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a month and a half ago | (#47170723)

The law says that bankruptcies cannot be reported on credit reports or kept in banking records used to make loan decisions after a certain period of time. The law also says that criminal convictions that are "spent" after a certain time do not need to be reported to employers, and employers are now allowed to employ private agencies to dig that kind of information up.

Google is a business. It must abide by the law. Sometimes search results unintentionally circumvent it. While banks and employers have certain legal obligations the reality is that detecting a search on an applicant's name is much harder than checking legal compliance of records or payments to private investigators.

This also neatly balances the freedom of the press and the benefit to society of such things being documented in historical archives, while maintaining the existing legal right to have those things forgotten for most practical purposes,

Spread the news, Create the news (1)

furgle (1825812) | about a month and a half ago | (#47169525)


Tomorrow - "Google has recieved over 64,000 Requests to 'Forget'..."
The Next week - "Google has recieved over 270,000 Requests to 'Forget'..."
Eventually - "Google has forgotten everyone"

Re:Spread the news, Create the news (1)

gronofer (838299) | about a month and a half ago | (#47169607)

Seems like submitting your searches to multiple search engines, preferably based in different countries, will become advisable.

Re:Spread the news, Create the news (1)

Rick in China (2934527) | about a month and a half ago | (#47169621)

If you're googling specific people's names, maybe. I honestly don't google specific people's names that much, so this whole debacle doesn't bother me personally. There's a precedent and ideology in the mix, but seriously, who goes around searching Mario González.

The most amusing thing about this law... (5, Interesting)

Rick in China (2934527) | about a month and a half ago | (#47169533)

is how the "Right to be Forgotten" started. "Google v González" - Ok, so, this dude petitions to have his name struck from all internet search records because when his name is searched, it turns up records of a previous debt issue where he owed money, and as a result, the government forced sale of his property. He wanted to be removed from the search! What's the result? Precedent set, law passed, and now this fool is known notoriously as the guy who owed money and had forced property sale and whined about it to try to hide history all the way to the supreme court. All of this information is, of course, fully searchable. Good job González.

Re:The most amusing thing about this law... (0)

beh (4759) | about a month and a half ago | (#47169619)

Correct - he's now known everywhere for it - but the NEW articles also mention that this was an old issue that has long been resolved.

The old articles only mentioned the forced property sale, but not the end of his financial troubles later.

What, do you think, is better for him?

I would say, the new situation is a lot better for him - yes, people will no about his financial situation WAY past; but right now they also now, that it is PAST - not current.

Sure, it would have been better for him, if it would have been resolved quietly without his name getting dragged across net news; but, at least, this time no news are saying anything that his finances ARE a problem. His issue before was that people assumed he would STILL be a financial liability, as google listed the forced property sale near the top of the search results - not the absence of more financial issues in the last few years.

You COULD glance that information, if you carefully looked through all the data - but who takes that time with every single google search? What doesn't look quickly, whether there is another "solution" to your problem, when the first one doesn't immediately look palatable?

Re:The most amusing thing about this law... (1)

Rick in China (2934527) | about a month and a half ago | (#47169815)

Now he has another problem attached to his name, 1) it's rare anyone would have searched for his name for any reason whatsoever, and 2) now people will see him as this big trouble maker and want to avoid doing business with him in any way lest they also be dragged up through to the higher EU courts.. Would you rather be known as a potential hot potato, or have a 15 year old (or whatever it was) financial issue that can very obviously be proven to be no longer the case?

Re:The most amusing thing about this law... (1)

beh (4759) | about a month and a half ago | (#47170249)

It doesn't matter in his case - if he wants to run a business, he might not even get a chance to prove that the issue is outdated, if it still ranks highly in google searches.

In his position it was probably the choice between a rock and a hard place - without the court case, he still would have trouble with his business; now with that case to his name, you might hope it's a little less of a problem (again - the news reports now mentioning his name all also list that it's about skewed search results regarding an outdated financial problem). To me, seeking redress for that seems fair; but yes, there will still be people that will not want to get into business dealings with him because of the court case - he can only hope that people will now also see the reason for the case; as opposed to just seeing a forced property sale.

It's still bad information about him - but there is less information asymmetry now, as the reports don't JUST mention the forced sale, but also mention that the financial woes are way behind him. Seeing those two things together, is fair reporting of the case. Seeing just the forced sale in the search results is a massively negatively skewed view on the case.

Business with whom?... (1)

DrYak (748999) | about a month and a half ago | (#47170397)

It doesn't matter in his case - if he wants to run a business, he might not even get a chance to prove that the issue is outdated, if it still ranks highly in google searches.

On the other hand, I think it would be highly unadviseable to do business with bank that bases its decision simply on a search result page, without even investigating *when* did the event referenced happen? To me, this sounds like very lazy practice and poor judgement and is going to bring problems down the line.
Better to ask for money loan from a bank that does proper investigations.

Re:Business with whom?... (1)

beh (4759) | about a month and a half ago | (#47170841)

I believe his problems weren't with banks, but rather potential customers for his business - who just looked at his background to see what kind of person they're dealing with.

Banks do have systems of their own that use data that is also not for public consumption to determine whether or not to lend you money - here the google search wouldn't have been a problem; as his credit record would have had that information on it either way.

Re:The most amusing thing about this law... (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a month and a half ago | (#47170263)

Financial institutions shouldn't base lending decisions solely on internet search results.

If someone is asked to disclose previous financial history when signing a loan agreement, they shouldn't lie and hide things.

Re:The most amusing thing about this law... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47169707)

They should have more than just foreclosures publicly available, throw in late payments and lists of creditors related to a person. The only loser there are the credit agencies that charge people for that information.

Re:The most amusing thing about this law... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47169819)

It's better than being know for owing lots of money. From the current story it will be clear that he no longers ows that money.
Also some people are interested in solving the issue as a concept as opposed to only getting a sum of money themselves.

Re:The most amusing thing about this law... (1)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | about a month and a half ago | (#47169831)

It's better than being know for owing lots of money. From the current story it will be clear that he no longers ows that money.

Why should it matter? Creditors shouldn't be looking at Google results to make lending decisions anyway. Let's regulate that instead of Google.

Re:The most amusing thing about this law... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47170009)

Yes, let us remove *all* results for everyone searching on google who is doing so as a creditor... that's surely the solution! You are against removing misleading results but think regulating who is allowed to look is better?

Re:The most amusing thing about this law... (1)

Xest (935314) | about a month and a half ago | (#47170363)

That is regulated, that's the point. Credit reference agencies can only use this data going back between about 5 and 8 years depending on European jurisdiction in question (7 years in the UK).

The question is why Google should be given an exemption that credit reference agencies are not - the ability to allow decisions to be made on data that is, under current law, deemed to be no longer relevant.

I think there's a fair argument for search engine exemption but it has to be well thought through - if a search engine is exempt from the ban on profiting off this data, then does this mean CRAs can bypass the law by just linking Google search into their responses?

This is the problem, the law is already clear on this sort of data but Google has been ignoring it all this time, hence why they lost the court case - there is no legal exemption for search engines right now and they didn't bother to lobby for one, they just decided to ignore the law and got fucked as a result.

Re:The most amusing thing about this law... (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a month and a half ago | (#47170745)

He must have realized that there was no hope for himself, but he has managed to effect a change that helps other people in a similar position. How is it any different to the woman who has an abortion, is harassed and then campaigns for more privacy to protect other women? Sometimes someone has to sacrifice themselves for the greater good.

Good luck with that. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47169543)

Google may forget, but the internet does not.

Oh really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47170155)

Cloud computing. "Containers." Et cetera.

The Internet constantly forgets. The Internet forgets so much that it makes an alzheimer's patient look like someone with a photographic memory.

Re:Oh really? (1)

Ardyvee (2447206) | about a month and a half ago | (#47170565)

It forgets so much yet remembers so much. Ah... the beauty of the Internet.

i can see the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47169623)

one thing i cant stand about the always connected world, generally speaking theres and old term for it, "coming out of the woodwork" sometimes its best those we used to know stay in the woodwork.

This could be the WORST thing you could do... (1)

MindPrison (864299) | about a month and a half ago | (#47169647)

...because if you truly were a "villain", you'd not want to call attention to yourself, and by asking for deletion of your "data" - you're almost certainly in the limelight of discovery.

Besides, as almost every Slashdotter knows, your data won't be completely gone, in fact - most of it will be here and there forever. WayBackMachine anyone? Not to mention the numerous dark corners of the net Google don't have any control over, have your data too.

Re:This could be the WORST thing you could do... (1)

mlk (18543) | about a month and a half ago | (#47170341)

> WayBackMachine anyone?

Google is not being asked to delete data, they are being asked to delete indexes to data. Google don't have access to the source, so they can't delete it.

I don't think Google will even remove the page from the index, just the requested terms for the page will go.

> have your data too.

It is not "your data" it is data about you. I.e. the post above is your data. You could delete or edit it as much as /. allows.
If I tweet "MindPrision posted on slashdot on Thursday the 5th of June, 2014" that is not your data. It is my data about you. This new law gives you the right to ASK Google to remove the link between "MindPrision" and my tweet. Not to have the tweet removed from the web or to remove the tweet from Googles index.
So a search "MindPrision slashdot Thursday" would not return the tweet, but a search for "slashdot Thursday" would return the tweet.

Re:This could be the WORST thing you could do... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47170709)

but it _should_ return the tweet, just because you searched for "MindPrision slashdot Thursday" it should drop the term "MindPrision" for those pages when determining the pagerank, that should be it. Not have it completely dropped because you mentioned a name.

Re:This could be the WORST thing you could do... (1)

mlk (18543) | about a month and a half ago | (#47170827)

You are correct, it should drop way down the list as a "these pages mention two of your search terms" type results. A search for "+MindPrision slashdot Thursday" would not return the tweet at all.

Different Countries = Different Rules (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47169765)

So far we do not have worldwide one common law system (check wiki to buff up your your civil law/common law/sharia knowledge), so I guess Google is anyway not the real judge (sorry for the pun) in the matter regarding whether something can or should have its index removed. I understand there is a problem, because I see a bridge to the indexing of illegal content (read: as defined as illegal by the laws in some countries).

Maybe I shouldn't have said anything...

The answer is more, not less (1)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | about a month and a half ago | (#47169817)

Instead of whitewashing history, how about promoting critical thinking, research, and debating skills so people can get the full picture? People will eventually get used to the idea that you can't take everything on the Internet at face value, without hiding any content or throwing any factual information down the memory hole. It may take a few generations, but as the old guard dies and is replaced by the new, people will learn to better handle what they read online.

And the funny thin is... (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | about a month and a half ago | (#47169851)

No one is asking Bing (or any other searchengine) to remove their names from the index.

This whole thing is SO useless and will be forgotten itself in a few months.

Re:And the funny thin is... (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about a month and a half ago | (#47170105)

No one is asking Bing (or any other searchengine) to remove their names from the index.

This whole thing is SO useless and will be forgotten itself in a few months.

I wonder how many requests for removal come from Microsoft ..... and involve chair throwing

considering.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47169857)

the amount of people using google 41k isn't really too many?

Re:considering.... (1)

Rick in China (2934527) | about a month and a half ago | (#47169955)

Um.... I think the right way to put it is: "given the number of catholic priests/ex-priests in the world 41k really isn't too many is it?"

I have a request (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47170297)

Mine namen ist Adolf Hitler. I demand you remove all references to my name in regards to World War 2, labour camps and any Jews.

It happened 60 years ago, it's in the past now.

Re:I have a request (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47170443)

This is not as black and white as "in the past, delete it".

Is it of "public interest"? Yes, then it stays.

Doing the numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47170623)

Ok, 41,000 people out of ~506 million in the EU countries is ~0.08% of the population. That's not a large number, statistically speaking. I don't get how/why this might seem like a large number. Why these folks want to be deleted seems more like a news story to me, but that would probably get deleted, too. [shakes head and goes back to work]

Publish the requests? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47171079)

Google should publish the requests for content removal ...

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