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On Forgetting the Facts: Questions From the EU For Google, Other Search Engines

KevReedUK Re: Interesting (181 comments)

Except that in the UK we have a piece of legislation called the Data Protection Act, which I believe is our ratification of a piece of EU legislation (the name of which I don't have time to look up. Ironically, Google may be of assistance here), so it is relevant to the discussion at hand. It places restrictions on what data processors are permitted to do with so-called PII (Personally Identifiable Information), particularly where it involves sharing with other corporate entities, and places certain responsibilities upon the processor with regards to the safekeeping of that data. IANAL, but I think it could be argued that this legislation may make it an offence to disclose to the publisher that a takedown request has been made. At the very least, it is likely to limit how much Google et al can disclose about the request. It may also be something of a grey area in cases where the mere existence of a takedown request would be enough to identify the requestor.

Simply put, there are so many pieces of legislation that have the potential to be, perhaps unintentionally, interrelated that they form a very tangled web (no pun intended) and, as such, complying with one may put you at risk of breaching another unless you are very careful about exactly how you comply.

yesterday
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On Forgetting the Facts: Questions From the EU For Google, Other Search Engines

KevReedUK Re: I still can't understand this insanity. (181 comments)

Flawed analogy!

Signboards are there for everyone to see, whether they are searching for you or not. Search results do, at least, require that a search parameter is entered. No one is suggesting that Google is spamming their advertising feeds with links to articles covered by this.

Your post does, however, raise another important question... Does this legislation require that Google filter paid adverts where the link points to articles that would be covered by this, and if so, are they required to reimburse those who paid for the adverts?

yesterday
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On Forgetting the Facts: Questions From the EU For Google, Other Search Engines

KevReedUK Re: Institutional hypocrisy (181 comments)

Privatising the judiciary? Now THAT's a scary thought! Especially when you consider a lot of the discussions in these forums complaining about "evil" corporations.

yesterday
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On Forgetting the Facts: Questions From the EU For Google, Other Search Engines

KevReedUK Re: Slippery Slope (181 comments)

Are you suggesting that Google include the full search results, but when you click on one that is covered by this they send you to a different address to the real result (I.e. one showing the "blocked" message), or are you suggesting that they send you to the right address, but somehow dynamically "hack" the target server and replace the legitimate content with the "blocked" message? (In other words, did you forget that, unlike when discussing YT, Google is not the content's host in these situations?)

yesterday
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On Forgetting the Facts: Questions From the EU For Google, Other Search Engines

KevReedUK Re: Slippery Slope (181 comments)

Oops, my apologies. It would appear that I am misunderstanding your comment (I knew I should have topped up my caffeine levels before reading /. !!!).

If I'm understanding you right then I agree with your assertion that links should only be blocked where the person's identity is the search parameter. I thought you had meant that the results should not be blocked, regardless of the search parameters, as the articles that they point to could have ongoing legitimate interest for other reasons.

2 days ago
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On Forgetting the Facts: Questions From the EU For Google, Other Search Engines

KevReedUK Re:Institutional hypocrisy (181 comments)

My understanding is that this (Separation of Powers) is explicitly defined and codified in the USA. In the rest of the world, that may be the intent, but there can often be some overlap.

You mean like the typically politically motivated appointment of the judges of the supreme court? Oh wait, that's in the USA...

True, but do your SC judges have a vote in congress? Until recently, ours had the equivalent!

who were serving members of the House of Lords (one of the houses of Parliament). [...]some degree of agency between the executive and the judiciary.

Legislative. Get your facts straight before you argue.

Fair point. To be fair though, I do know the difference. Low caffeine levels, rushing, and not proofreading before submitting (Damn you, mobile interface. No preview!) were the cause of this screw-up. It's also worth noting that there WAS an overlap between the legislative and judicial arms (the creation of the UKSC appears to have mainly been intended to address this), but there REMAINS an overlap between the executive and the legislative arms in that ministers are each members of one or other of the houses of parliament and retain their voting rights. As such, the lines between the arms were so blurred that the whole damn construct may as well have been one giant amorphous blob (I'm not even sure if there was anything explicitly preventing a serving "Law Lord" from being a minister as well, other than the fact that the workload would probably have got in the way)!

2 days ago
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On Forgetting the Facts: Questions From the EU For Google, Other Search Engines

KevReedUK Re:Interesting (181 comments)

"6. Do you notify website publishers of delisting? In that case, which legal basis do you have to notify website publishers?" Laws are restrictive not permissive. The response from the search engines should be "by what legal basis do you have to prevent us from notifying website publishers?"

That's overly defensive. The question, as asked, is not accusing, nor implying, that the notification of the website publishers is wrong. The aim is probably to determine whether they considered doing this and, if they didn't, was it for technical (too difficult), financial (too expensive) or legal (concerned that as there is nothing currently in the law compelling them either way on this that no action is the safest option). Alternatively, if they did, this could be used to justify compelling them to continue doing so (so that the linked article can be amended/removed) and, if the legal basis that they have been using thus far is flawed, enact retrospective legislation to protect them from any repercussions of doing so.

On the other hand, I may be crediting those asking the questions with an undeserved degree of rationality and confidence. It's certainly a weird feeling, reading a comment on /. and finding that my opinion on the matter appears to be LESS cynical that theirs!

2 days ago
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On Forgetting the Facts: Questions From the EU For Google, Other Search Engines

KevReedUK Re:Institutional hypocrisy (181 comments)

You've heard of this thing they call "Separation of Powers"? Maybe the news hasn't reached you yet, after all it's only been around for some 350 years.

My understanding is that this (Separation of Powers) is explicitly defined and codified in the USA. In the rest of the world, that may be the intent, but there can often be some overlap. As an example, until the (fairly) recent creation of the UK Supreme Court, the highest court in the UK were the so-called "Law Lords", who were serving members of the House of Lords (one of the houses of Parliament). As such, whilst it may not be an executive agency of the government, where any overlap exists it can still be argued that there is some degree of agency between the executive and the judiciary. Additionally, within the EU, there is the further complication of the relationship between the judiciaries, executives and legislatures of the member states and those of the EU as a whole (especially as there have been plenty of cases where they do not agree!).

2 days ago
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On Forgetting the Facts: Questions From the EU For Google, Other Search Engines

KevReedUK Re:Not a Slippery Slope (181 comments)

... a much better way to go at this would be to require news agencies to remove news content that talk about arrests, but where there were no convictions, after x amount of time...

Fine. This works for online publications published within the jurisdiction where the law exists. However, how about:

Online publications published outside of the jurisdiction. How do you compel them to remove this content?
Offline publications. Are you suggesting that there be some way of tracking every last copy of every hard-copy publication so that when "x amount of time" has passed, someone can be sent to where each affected copy is, with powers to seize, edit (tricky, as most, if not all, are printed on both sides!) and return it. At present, it may not be searchable, but if someone had the time and inclination to trawl hard copies/microfiches at a suitably equipped library, they could turn up all sorts of reports of content talking about arrests without subsequent conviction going back decades.
Publications where the publisher has gone out of business.
I do, however, agree that morally this is something that should fall on the publisher to put right. Technically, however, this is unlikely to be reasonably achieved. As has been said throughout this discussion, for most people, if they can't find it with their search engine of choice, they will never see the information. As such, whilst it is placing an administrative burden on a party who had no part in causing the situation, tasking the search engines with filtering these links is the most cost-effective solution. Whether it should be possible, where the publisher is within the jurisdiction and still in business, they should be compelled to take some action themselves (and maybe even bear some of the costs incurred by the search engines in administering their part of the process) is a separate, although no less valid, debate.

This all being said, however... how do we propose that things like the Internet Archive be affected, should such a law ever see the light of day in the USA (or even now, bearing in mind it can be accessed from within the EU)?

2 days ago
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On Forgetting the Facts: Questions From the EU For Google, Other Search Engines

KevReedUK Re:Spent convictions (181 comments)

Your question can be read one of two ways. Either you mean "Can an applicant with an unspent conviction not declare it and get away with it?" or you mean "If an employee has a spent conviction and is not obligated to declare it, is there anything in place to prevent him/her from declaring it and/or anything in place to ensure that the potential employer can be forced to disregard it?"

If the former:
The short version - in non-high-risk jobs, it depends if the employer chooses to carry out checks (if no, getting away with it is easy. If yes, getting away with it is not so easy). The long version - In high-risk roles, it should not be possible. My understanding of it (and remember, IANAL) is that if you are explicitly asked about convictions on a normal (i.e. for a non-high-risk role) application, you only have to declare "unspent" convictions. If your employer then applies for a criminal records check (which, as I understand it, any employer can do with the individual's consent) it will only return "unspent" convictions. "Spent" convictions remain on record. They are not expunged. If you are applying for a higher-risk role, your employer may have the right to request a more complete criminal records check, under which circumstances ALL records are returned, "spent" and "unspent". Indeed, if you are applying for a high-risk role, my understanding is that the application form MUST make clear that you need to declare both "spent" and "unspent" convictions and that (unlike in a non-high-risk role, where the criminal records check is optional) the company MUST have you vetted by the DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service. I believe that this replaces the CRB - Criminal Records Bureau). In low risk roles, however, because formal checks are optional, it has the potential to be relatively easy.

If the latter:
I'm not aware of anything being in place, other than human nature of a person not normally wanting to portray themselves in a negative light, to prevent an applicant from declaring spent convictions that (s)he does not need to. That being said, if (s)he does declare it, depending on how much detail (s)he gives, the employer should be able to determine for themselves whether a conviction is spent (the length of time it takes for a conviction to be spent is, I think, determined by the length of the sentence. Therefore, provided the applicant can give accurate dates, the employer should be able to do the math without needing so much as a calculator). The downside it that, whilst the employer should be able to determine that the conviction is spent, and thus should be disregarded, I am not aware of anything in place to ensure that once they have determined such that they do disregard it. Indeed, it is likely that, should an applicant slip up and disclose a spent conviction when there is no duty to do so, the employer will take it into consideration and choose an alternative candidate but, when pressed for a reason, will not admit to this being it (as can be fairly common with ageism and other forms of discrimination).

As for the question of whether the employer is allowed to ask, only when hiring for high-risk roles are they permitted to ask about spent convictions. I am not sure what the legal options are for an applicant with spent convictions who is asked about whether (s)he has any by an employer who is not afforded such an exemption. I am not even sure whether they could be found guilty of fraud if they lied and didn't disclose them as, as far as the employers legitimate entitlement to information is concerned, the spent convictions do not exist. I'm also not sure whether there are any sanctions laid down that can be imposed on employers who ask when they do not have such an exemption. Maybe a real lawyer would like to chip in here and fill in the blanks?

As for being expunged from public records, the answer is no, as they still need to be declared for high-risk roles. My understanding is that they cannot, however, be referred to in most court proceedings. I also believe that it is an offence to publish details of spent convictions for malicious purposes. I am not aware, however, whether this means that archived/historic publication of such convictions made whilst the conviction was unspent are required to be purged (I doubt it).

Again, IANAL, and I look forward to any clarification that can be made by a real lawyer.

2 days ago
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On Forgetting the Facts: Questions From the EU For Google, Other Search Engines

KevReedUK Re: Slippery Slope (181 comments)

Then there's the flip-side of that argument... What if the police subsequently dropped the accusations because they found the real culprit, but because it was never reported in the public domain, it's not available for Google et al to index. Because the sites reporting the original police accusation are reporting fact, you can't use libel laws to force a take-down. Based on your argument, you seem to be saying that it's OK for the first, falsely accused, individual to suffer in perpetuity as a result of a false accusation. Am I misinterpreting your comment, or did you not consider that side?

2 days ago
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On Forgetting the Facts: Questions From the EU For Google, Other Search Engines

KevReedUK Re: Slippery Slope (181 comments)

Actually... Scratch that! IP address based location would probably work, but not exactly as implemented on YT. IIRC, searching for restricted material on YT still brings up the search results, and even brings up the individual pages, it's just the video content itself that's blocked.

2 days ago
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On Forgetting the Facts: Questions From the EU For Google, Other Search Engines

KevReedUK Re: Slippery Slope (181 comments)

They already have a better way to manage this than via which TLD the query is run against. On YouTube, it is apparent that they use IP address to determine the location of the client (that is, software client. Let's leave the argument about users being the product and the advertisers being the clients for another thread!) and thus block content in territories where they have been asked to prevent its distribution. Why not implement the same here?

2 days ago
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On Forgetting the Facts: Questions From the EU For Google, Other Search Engines

KevReedUK Spent convictions (181 comments)

One point I haven't seen raised in the debate thus far is that of "spent" convictions.

Here in the UK (and possibly other EU jurisdictions, I don't know), if you are convicted of a crime and have served your sentence, after a defined period the conviction will cease to appear on most employment-related criminal records checks (with obvious exceptions for high-risk roles such as those working with the young/vulnerable) and no longer have to be declared. This defined period varied with the severity of the crime involved/sentence served.

Historically, this meant potential employers in the lower-risk roles didn't know of convictions from a long time in the past unless the applicant volunteered the information, the HR staff involved had a far greater than average memory or could be bothered to pop down to the library and trawl the (barely indexed) microfiches of old newspapers on the slim chance that one of the current batch of applicants may have been convicted in a case considered significant enough to make it into the press. Now, it's just a couple of minutes on Google (or your other search provider of choice) to get this information that was considered unobtainable without compulsion or formal regulated checks when the law covering spent convictions was enacted.

This change is pretty fundamental, and MAY have been at least subconsciously involved in the court judgements that led to this discussion. That being said, IANAL. I do have a vague recollection of the statute being called the "Rehabilitation of Offenders Act" (there was a section about it and why it didn't apply on a set of security clearance application forms I had to complete over a decade ago, which, being a 20-year-old without so much as a speeding ticket, I only skimmed due to its irrelevance to me. Hence why my recollection is merely somewhat vague on the specifics), but I'm sure that if I'm wrong, some lawyer lurlikg in the /. undergrowth will jump in and correct me (and even if I'm right, will still likely jump in to add the date the act was passed).

2 days ago
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On Forgetting the Facts: Questions From the EU For Google, Other Search Engines

KevReedUK Re: Why are they asking Google? (181 comments)

My guess is, different groups involved here. IIRC the "law" in question is in fact case law, not (as yet) codified in statute or treaty. As such, the current state of the law (with all its lack of limitations, clarifications, etc) is the result of judgements made by the judiciary. IANAL so I won't start delving into the rights and wrongs of whether they should have the power to make judgements that interpret the law in such a way that they extend/expand it to such a great degree, but what I will say is that I believe that, should the decision be taken that the law is important enough to warrant codifying in treaty/statute, that codification should NOT be in the hands of the judiciary. My guess is that someone fairly senior in the EU bureaucracy has determined that this matter is getting enough column inches that it warrants codifying in an attempt to bring a degree of clarity (or, and I guess that this is just me being overly cynical, they've run out of things they have been tasked with and need to find something to do to use up remaining budget/resources to justify its maintenance/increase in the next round of budget negotiations). The obvious first step in this is to determine how the major players are interpreting and implementing the judgement thus far. They will likely then determine whether this is the interpretation of the judgement that they want to see applied, and codify legislation either to maintain the current way the industry is operating, or to encourage it in their preferred direction. Of course, the whole process is somewhat iterative, inasmuch as it only being a matter of time before some case hits the courts due to a disagreement over interpretations of this new law, and we'll be back to judges again (potentially on and on, ad infinitum). Tl;dr... The questions weren't asked when the law was written because the law was never envisaged as covering these sorts of situations. Judges interpreted the law as encompassing them (this is within their power) but did not rewrite the underlying law (as this is NOT, or at least shouldn't be, within their power).

2 days ago
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On Forgetting the Facts: Questions From the EU For Google, Other Search Engines

KevReedUK Re: Slippery Slope (181 comments)

Surprising??? You must not read the news much!

2 days ago
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Man Booted From Southwest Flight and Threatened With Arrest After Critical Tweet

KevReedUK Re:What?!? (875 comments)

except there are the lovely post-9/11 laws about "not following the orders of flight crew"

Sorry to break this to you, but in the vast majority of cases:

Gate staff != flight crew

3 days ago
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Man Booted From Southwest Flight and Threatened With Arrest After Critical Tweet

KevReedUK Re:airports are reduced rights zones after 9/11 (875 comments)

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

My understanding is that this amendment was intended (and has since been interpreted) to protect free speech and the right to assemble and petition the govt for redress where THE GOVERNMENT is the cause of such grievances. I do not believe it applied in this case. That being said, IANAL. More to the point, I do agree that the reaction of the airline staff was grossly lacking in proportionality.

3 days ago
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New Raspberry Pi Model B+

KevReedUK Re: Model C (202 comments)

Probably because it's using the same SoC as the B model. IIRC the A and B variants were different not only in the layout/ports, but also the underlying SoCs (CPU, GPU, RAM combination). This would suggest that the major model identifier will be used to indicate the underlying SoC, while suffixes like '+' will be used to indicate layout/ports. This is, however, just a somewhat educated guess on my part...

about two weeks ago
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The First Person Ever To Die In a Tesla Is a Guy Who Stole One

KevReedUK Re: Unsafe at any speed (above 100 MPH)... (443 comments)

Local dealers insure safety? Personally, I'm no fan of any insurance company, but I'd still rather get insurance from them than from any dealer... Or did you mean ensure?

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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How long now...?

KevReedUK KevReedUK writes  |  more than 6 years ago

KevReedUK (1066760) writes "Our "Friends" over at ZDNet appear to be eulogising over the upcoming death of physical media sales. In their article here they refer to the noticeable drop in physical sales of albums whilst digital sales continue climbing (albeit at a reduced rate).

Normally, this would be a case of "Nothing to see here...", save for their assertion that one of the key reasons for the music industry's slowdown is piracy. Is it just me, or is this a bit of a stretch?"

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