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The Right to Be Forgotten

May 13th, 2014 - 5:20 am

That’s a new one, but I’m not sure I’d mind it:

European lawmakers have told Google to forget about it. The top European Court has ruled that citizens have a “right to be forgotten”, and that you can ask the Big G to delete search results about you.

In what could turn out to be one of the biggest shake-ups to online privacy legislation, the European Union Court of Justice decided today that people can ask Google and other online entities to edit or erase online search results if those results contain information that might infringe the person in question’s privacy.

I’m not sure I’d mind it, that is, if I could figure out what the heck it means

“Might infringe” on someone’s “privacy” is so full of ambiguities I’m not sure how it would ever hold up in an American court. What’s my privacy? Stuff I’ve searched for that might embarrass me? Or would that be limited to searches which could identify me? Or embarrassing searches which could identify me?

And how does one infringe on another’s privacy digitally? So long as the data remains unexamined on a server, has my privacy been infringed? Or does that data need to be made public somehow?

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All Comments   (9)
All Comments   (9)
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There is a downside to the "right to be forgotten", of course. How about scrubbing any mention of your criminal past from Wikipedia, google, etc.?

" Wolfgang Werlé and Manfred Lauber became infamous for killing a German actor in 1990. Now they are suing to force Wikipedia to forget them."--http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/13/us/13wiki.html?_r=0
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Privacy is a strange thing in the digital age…

When the Supreme Court rules you have no “expectation” of privacy in public, I accept that as an organic, natural and unavoidable “ in-the-moment” lack of privacy…

Your fly might be down and you’ll look like a Putz…you danced like an idiot...people saw you face-plant the glass door or split your britches bending down to pick up a nickel some kid glued to the sidewalk…maybe that shouting match in the parking lot with physco-chickie earnes you the Silver Bracelets and a DUI...

And word of it happening in the blazing light of Mid-day on Main-Street may (or may not) affect your reputation, business standing, or future odds of getting laid…I get it.

But to “accept” that such moments can be captured, recorded, preserved, and replayed forever by anyone seeking a chuckle (or worse) at your expense, even though they were never there to see it themselves, is a whole ’nother matter.

Like it or not, Technology has let that genie out of the bottle. Its not even POSSIBLE to put her back, even if the courts said you had to…

And I’m not satisfied with either…
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Breakup Google with Bing, ...
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Google, et al, simply index things that exist on other hosts. It's fairly idiotic to expect them to not index things that anyone else can easily find because you don't like it-- the beef is with the host being indexed, not the search engine.

Then again, it's from Europe, and involves the internet in some way, so it's pretty much got to be stupid by default.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Three people can keep a secret if two of them are dead."

The moment you share information with someone it ceases to be private. Indeed, it becomes their information. Those entities that can legally compel you to share information should themselves be legally compelled to not share that information. For everyone else - like Google, Apple, Amazon, etc - make note of how they handle information and don't give them anything you don't want treated that way.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Recently, one researcher posted a paper in which is shows how the majority of his email is in Google anyway simply because he sends email to people with Gmail accounts.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Whatever might they make of the Internet Wayback Machine?
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Aren't there services that scrub the internet for people who want to go off the grid? That may not work for somebody famous, but for a regular Joe like me it probably would. And a law would never work for famous people because the internet has a way of routing around damage like that. (For example, if you are unfamiliar, google "May 35")
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
You're right that the ambiguities make this tough to enforce, but I'll give Europe credit that they're asking the right question for once.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
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