Thursday, 15 May 2014

Right To Be Forgotten Ruling

I didn't expect the European Court of Justice ruling on the right to be forgotten to turn into a USA v Europe argument but that is where it seems to have ended up with Europeans cheering the ruling and citing the right to privacy and Americans calling it a violation of free speech.
The ruling has said that Google must remove links to 'irrelevant and outdated data' should a individual request it and stressed that the rights of the individual are paramount when it comes to their control over their personal data.
The Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, who the ruling with have a huge effect, explains that this would never happen across the Atlantic because of the constitutional guarantee of free speech: 'This is not a debate the United States is even capable of entering into. You'd have to repeal the First Amendment so that's never going to happen'.
Max Mosley, who has fought years of privacy battles with tabloid newspapers and Google expressed the opposite view, calling an individuals privacy: 'A principle accepted in most civilised countries. The internet shouldn't regurgitate things for ever'.
Tens of millions of EU citizens can now force Google to remove links to their past online lives but my initial thought was not so much the people who want a 10 year old picture removed of them drunk with sick on their shoes and a traffic cone on their head worried about an upcoming interview but the people with real stuff to hide like politicians or celebrities.
My feeling on it is that for the everyday person it's a sound ruling but the flip side is that it is also very beneficial for the dodgy public figures who this time last week would have given up their first born to hide their past and can now benefit from a bit of rewriting their history.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think the US will follow the EU on this regardless of the first amendment.

reasons:
1. the left in america is happy to limit the first amendment when it suits them - criminalizing racial slurs for example. removing christian references at govenment buildings for another example. banning public prayer for another.

2. the american left have dreamt of being like europe since Jimmy Carter's days

3. the left think that only financially successful people should be held accountable for their actions.

all others (felons, poor, addicted, etc.) should not be blamt (intead of blamed) and keeping a record of their misdeeds undermines efforts to blame parents, society, etc.

q

Lucy said...

I keep changing my mind if it is a good thing or not, so many pros but so many cons. As almost all the companies this is aimed at (Google, Wikipedia, Facebook etc) are American, i can understand why they are not happy about it. Lots of extra work for them.

Any particular country in Europe the American left dream(ed) of being like? Not the Mediterranean types i hope.

Media Mentions said...

On a bit of a sidenote, the part that surprises me the most is that judging by what's in the press today (http://www.pressreader.com/profile/Media_Mentions/bookmarks/right_to_be_forgotten), Google is being surprisingly compliant. I'd expect a little more "free speech" or "integrity of information" arguments from the master search engine.

Lucy said...

I think Google got such bad press over the NSA spying scandal that they have to be seen to play along. The privacy issue is a big thing. Implications are going to be huge though.

Lucy said...

I think Google got such bad press over the NSA spying scandal that they have to be seen to play along. The privacy issue is a big thing. Implications are going to be huge though.

Anonymous said...

when it comes to consumer protection i would say more like UK, France, or Germany.

q

Keep Life Simple said...

Will newspapers and magazines and libraries have to redact or exponge data?

Q

Lucy said...

As far as i am aware, it only applies to online content and the ability to search for the content so although the newspapers etc won't have to redact the info, the pages won't be included in search engine results. That's my understanding of it.

Nog said...

I'm worried that Europe's far more pro-censorship policies are going to force big businesses like Google to invent better censorship technology that will then end up back over here in the US one way or another, probably being used more for the benefit of the powerful scrubbing their unwanted pasts than everyday folks in 2040 trying to get rid of photos of themselves as drunken teenagers in 2015.

-Nog

Lucy said...

Exactly what i think will happen Nog, a useful tool for us but an essential tool for the powerful with a grubby past they want forgotten.