Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Europe's "Right to Be Forgotten" winds up under private, rather secretive control

Mark Scott reports on the front page of the New York Times Wednesday, April 19, 2016, “Europe tried to Rein In Google; It Backfired”.   Google, from its European headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, has indeed honored “right to be forgotten” search engine result takedowns, but is able to do so without reporting on results, and without appeal.  It does tell people who ask for takedowns the results and does tell website owners about the removal of results.

Digital Trends reported in February that Google does remove search results for a subject in a “covered” country in the EU across all its domains now, not just the one country, including “.com” in the US. But it does not honor requests yet from the US under normal circumstances.

The process does not affect website content itself.  I have never gotten such a notice that a link to one of my sites was removed in Europe over this issue.  On at least three occasions, I have removed named (or one article someone had posted) when requested, but these events are quite rare, even thought my digital stuff seems to stay forever.

It’s also relevant that the “way back” machine on the Internet archive would contain content I could have changed or removed, although the practical consequences of this fact are probably very remote.  For example, some content that led to an incident when I was working as a substitute teacher in 2005 might be on the Internet archive somewhere.

The UK Register has an interesting perspective, by Andrew Orlowski, on the problem here

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