Monday, September 14, 2015

Op-ed columnist argues for "right to be forgotten" in US, says it is slowly being implemented voluntarily

Now, columnist Liza Tucker is arguing that the “right to be forgotten” ought to be honored in the United States, in an op-ed on p. A17 of the Washington Post on Monday, September 14, 2015, “The right to bury the (online) past”, here
Tucker argues that Google and other engines (Bing) are not having difficulty identifying requests that would seem morally legitimate, from subjects who are not public figures.  In Europe, the volume of these requests is huge, but Tucker argues these private companies are making big profits from their search engines.

She also argues that Google is honoring some requests in the United States, when circumstances seem compelling enough.

A related issue is my own practice of placing my book text online where it could be searchable.  There’s the question of “self-competition” which I have addressed elsewhere, but some people may feel that it is not appropriate to leave narratives of old incidents available if people would not normally pay for them (as with a best-seller book). But it’s important to note that the book contents normally don’t name non-public persons involved in questionable behaviors. There have been a couple of incidents where the name of someone associated with a normally obscure publication has presented an issue for them when found on Google.  While I can easily suppress names with initials on my own online file copies of my book contents, they still could get picked up by Google Book Search.

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