Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Consumer group wants FTC to implement EU-style "right to be forgotten" in US


The Washington Post reports that a consumer group in the US has written the Federal Trade Commission with a request to require search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo!) to honor a “right to be forgotten” in a manner similar to what is now done in the European Union.  The Washington Post article by Andrea Peterson is here
  
The Post story leads to two op-eds, that “the right to be forgotten is a right to be forgiven” and that in the “U.S., you only get one strike.”  That’s how tenth grade gym softball worked (when I pitched a “shutout”).
  
There are real problems with transparency in how search engines can respond, as in this Guardian article by Jemima Kiss, link

In Europe, there have been incidents where some publishers have deliberately reposted stories that were supposedly “forgotten”.
  
The presence of “amateur sites” like my legacy sites, without gatekeepers or monetization, where search engines used to place results high because of simple access (HTML only in the past), could cause information on otherwise obscure people to stay out in front of the public.  I got a “complaint” like this myself a very few  times (2001, 2003, 2006).  Also, books (including self-published) get indexed by Google book search, and that can lead to forced exit from a low profile. 

There might be more stringent rules for “revenge porn” and the like requested. 

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