Google loses ‘right to be forgotten’ case

“A businessman fighting for the ‘right to be forgotten’ has won a UK High Court action against Google,” BBC News reports. “The man, who has not been named due to reporting restrictions surrounding the case, wanted search results about a past crime he had committed removed from the search engine.”

“The judge, Mr Justice Mark Warby, ruled in his favour on Friday,” The Beeb reports. “The right to be forgotten is a legal precedent set by the Court of Justice of the European Union in 2014, following a case brought by Spaniard Mario Costeja Gonzalez who had asked Google to remove information about his financial history.”

“Google says it has removed 800,000 pages from its results following so-called ‘right to be forgotten’ requests,” The Beeb reports. “However, search engines can decline to remove pages if they judge them to remain in the public interest.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Whenever Google is forced to delete data, the matrix visibly flickers.

14 Comments

    1. You can avoid Google if you choose to stop using anything that depends on Google services. That is unless the choice to not use a given service terminates your life.

  1. The law is stupid, an attempt to rewrite history similar to renaming half* the high schools in Texas because their namesakes once served in the Confederate Army… in addition to doing whatever historic thing it was that got a school named after them.

    (*Note: “Half” is a rhetorical exaggeration.)

    This plaintiff actually did commit a crime. The records of that crime will remain forever in government archives easily accessible to any member of the public who goes there to look. Nobody else will ever know, because Google and the other search engines are prohibited in the EU from indexing old public records and news articles related to living people who are not regarded as “public figures,” a definition that can often only be determined AFTER a lawsuit is decided.

    The Web is so huge that indexing has to be done by “robots.” However, the “right to be forgotten” requires human editors to then go through the millions of millions of indexed documents to determine which ones are not of legitimate interest to the general public. Quite obviously, most of them are of “illegitimate” interest, or nobody would ever conduct a search that found them.

    1. Most respectfully, are there not other archives of important information, such as past crimes? You say so yourself. Should they be openly accessible?

      People have finite memories, people forgive, people change and people grow. A computer, or network of computers are not one’s peer, but they never forget. Computers are also extremely powerful at doing things quickly. Is it fair that the comment I make about Trump come back to haunt my great grandchildren, just because some future millennial “Googles” it?

  2. Has the court that convicted the individual expunged their record? If yes, then I can see the “right to be forgotten” applying. If the court has not, then no. Other cases involved information about C-level officers of a company that they are required by law to provide to government, and that is publicly available were an individual go look for it. Making that information not available online is silly.

    1. I agree.. If public money was used to create a record as in the case of court records made public, an individual has no right to tell a private search company to remove those results. However if the results point to records created at a private company (like a Facebook page) I can see a “right to be forgotten” applying.

      1. Archived information perhaps should be requested and, if proper, provided. Not so openly accessible.
        For things that happen in the public domain, I have no problem with a request for removal after making ones case. Hey, a law was written for a reason.

        1. While I can see your side where requests should be made for certain types of info, how far would this ruling be taken? Start at general search engines like Google now but what would prevent this from being a precedent to ‘be forgotten’ in search engines at say libraries or newspapers? In effect by creating a law to remove all info, you set a precedent for censorship.

          1. It’s about who owns the info that matters. Right? The individual owns their medical info, for instance. They also own any unpublished material. Criminal history, if not already regulated, should be regulated. That, of course, is on a case by case, or at least class by class basis.

            When you want to find out some government action under a “Freedom of Information Act” you actually go to a government office or site to request it. You don’t Google it.

            Then there’s the “purchasing” aspect. Google provides services in exchange for the information. What if you stop using the services? Even if you don’t, persistent information is like paying forever. There’s laws protecting from “paying forever”.

            1. Ok, I can give you medical records and criminal history in police databases. But if any of either has been part of public records such as a newspaper article or open court proceedings they should not be deleted from search results since they are considered no longer ‘private’. If the result is to be ‘deleted’ it is up to the individual at that point to remove the source article/document where it has been indexed from if that is even possible.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.