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Former NSA Lawyer Asks Google To 'Forget' All Of Techdirt's Posts About Him

from the making-a-point-about-bad-laws dept

Former NSA counsel and surveillance/security state hypeman Stewart Baker has had just about enough of Techdirt making "distorted claims" about his statements for the "purposes of making money." To counter this, he's sent a "right to be forgotten" request to Google stating the following:

https://www.techdirt.com/blog/?tag=stewart+baker

Reason this link violates the right to be forgotten:

This link is inappropriate. It compiles stories making many distorted claims about my political views. Political views are a particularly sensitive form of personal data. The stories are written by men who disagree with me, and they are assembled for the purpose of making money for a website, a purpose that cannot outweigh my interest in controlling the presentation of sensitive data about myself.
Baker's certainly not hoping for Techdirt's posts on him to be de-listed (although I imagine he'd indulge in a chuckle or two if they went down). He's mocking the ridiculousness of the "right to be forgotten" ruling Google is now attempting to comply with. He has submitted other requests as well over such things as outdated photos and "inaccurate" statements as the kickoff to an informal "hack" of a bad law.
I feel bad for Google, which is stuck trying to administer this preposterous ruling. But that shouldn't prevent us from showing quite concretely how preposterous it is.

I propose a contest. Let's all ask for takedowns. The person who makes the most outrageous (and successful) takedown request will win a "worst abuse of privacy law" prize, otherwise known as a Privy.
Stewart's takedown request targeting Techdirt is mostly tongue-in-cheek, but it does highlight the sort of abuse that should be expected when government bodies attempt to force the internet to bend to their will. Granting a "right to be forgotten" pretty much ensures that a majority of the requests will be no more legitimate than Baker's.

Multiple advocates for the law have compared it with the infamous DMCA takedown notice, something that has also been routinely abused. But at least the DMCA takedown carries with it the (almost never enforced) charge of perjury for issuing bogus takedowns. The RTBF form simply asks for a copy of the submitter's identification. There's nothing in it to discourage abuse of the system. If you don't like something someone has said about you on the web, just fill out a webform.

While we at Techdirt disagree with most of what Stewart Baker says, at least his position on privacy remains consistent. His "Privys" -- an "award" given to the worst or most hypocritical abuser of privacy laws -- have generally been awarded to worthy recipients, usually people who tend to think these laws exist to save them from their own embarrassments.

As for the "right to be forgotten," it appears as though requests may be forwarded to Chilling Effects. On June 6th, this test post showed up in the database.
A request has been made to remove one or more links from a search page under European "right to be forgotten" rules, following Google Spain SL, Google Inc. v Agencia Espanola de Proteccion de Datos, Mario Costeja Gonzalez.
The body of the post contains nothing but the word "TEST" but this seems to indicate that an attempt will be made to publish takedown attempts. At this point, it's impossible to say how much information will be redacted, or if the European Commission will even allow this sort of transparency. Google is also toying with appending messages to the bottom of search results pages indicating that link(s) may have been removed due to "RTBF" requests. If this works like DMCA requests do, then a link to Chilling Effects database will be provided. These measures won't necessarily deter abuse, but they will make it much easier to track.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    sorrykb (profile), Jun 9th, 2014 @ 12:13pm

    Stewart Baker issues awards to "the worst or most hypocritical abusers of privacy laws".

    Even attempting to rationalize this statement hurts my brain.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Michael, Jun 9th, 2014 @ 12:13pm

    Let's all ask for takedowns

    Is he trying to get us to create a DDOS attack on Google? That fiend!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2014 @ 12:19pm

    "I propose a contest. Let’s all ask for takedowns. The person who makes the most outrageous (and successful) takedown request will win a “worst abuse of privacy law” prize, otherwise known as a Privy."

    That prize should have already been awarded to the NSA for the abuse of the 4th amendment.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    kenichi tanaka (profile), Jun 9th, 2014 @ 12:21pm

    Someone needs to tell that genius ex NSA lawyer that Google only needs to adhere to E.U. requests, it doesn't work for Americans. LOLS

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    velox (profile), Jun 9th, 2014 @ 12:27pm

    For years Stewart Baker would post his views quite regularly on the Volokh Conspiracy blog, and then get skewered in the comments section. Eventually thin-skinned Stewart blocked all comments on his posts there, but now that the Volokh Conspiracy has moved to the Washington Post, he can't block comments any more.
    Poor Stewart.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    icon
    vancedecker (profile), Jun 9th, 2014 @ 12:39pm

    Yes, keep it going TD! Keep kissing massa's ass! All praise be to Google. All praise be to our corporate masters!

    You don't like comment you made 20 years ago when you were just a kid? NO? TOO BAD! What would all the senseless bitches discuss on their mommy blogs? It's a serious topic, and you must be screened, retroactively, for everything google manages to index. What would HR do all day?


    "Oh? the NSA is doing the same thing."

    "NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNO! That's different!"

    -another silly stupid brain damaged TechDirt reader

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2014 @ 12:44pm

    WTF, Tim

    When did you start defending NSA apologists?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    icon
    HegemonicDistortion (profile), Jun 9th, 2014 @ 12:45pm

    What if someone from the EU Court of Justice petitions to have Google forget court's ruling that mandates a right to be forgotten?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    James T, Jun 9th, 2014 @ 12:48pm

    Right to be forgotten to be posted

    Person will submit a request and then it's forwarded on to Chilling Effects. Couldn't you then submit another request to forget that too? Privacy through walls of requests.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Michael, Jun 9th, 2014 @ 12:52pm

    If Chilling Effects and Google would finish their automatic posting of "forgotten" links, I could get my "Unforget forgotten links" Chrome extension up and running.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Rich Kulawiec, Jun 9th, 2014 @ 12:53pm

    Re:

    "You don't like comment you made 20 years ago when you were just a kid?"

    You know, there were archives before the Internet Archive and search engines before Google. I can still (rather easily) find comments that I made online over 30 years ago. There are numerous public and private archives of mailing lists and Usenet newsgroups from that era, and they're not going away. (One project, http://olduse.net/ is reposting them.)

    There is no way to make those go away. No legislation, no litigation, no court orders, nothing is going to ever make those go away. There are and will be copies squirreled away on disks and CDs, USB sticks and tapes, all over the planet, and they'll be copied to new media as old ones age out. (1600 BPI 9-track -> 8mm -> DVD -> flash, for example.) And nothing will ever stop anyone from re-releasing them -- say, as a torrent -- should they choose to do so.

    That paragraph isn't a value judgment on whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. It's a reality assessment. And this farsical EU "right to be forgotten" is in direct conflict with reality, which is why -- regardless of its theoretical merits or lack thereof -- it will never, ever happen.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2014 @ 12:59pm

    Re:

    Same thing?

    Google indexes publicly available information on websites that people choose to post where the Robots exclusion standard can be used to prevent the Google indexing.

    The NSA takes every piece of data it can without any official or unofficial form of disclosure agreement for systems and communications where citizens have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

    Google isn't perfect, but you can block them with robots.txt and you can decline to post to websites that allow Google indexing.

    You can't escape from the NSA's data collection without having to go off grid.

    But don't let reality get in the way of your FUD.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2014 @ 1:03pm

    TechDirt Takedown

    Dear Google,

    Please take remove all references to TechDirt on the Internetz as every mention maligns me with their spurious reference to 'tech'. As a person with a high percentage of Neanderthal DNA, and living high on a mountain in a cave and using only tools created by my ancestors, tech is not even in my vocabulary, and is therefore insulting to my personage.

    Sincerely,

    Joe Dirt

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    icon
    Josh (profile), Jun 9th, 2014 @ 1:04pm

    Again

    Yes you should be able to be forgotten on Google, and any other search engine. BUT, you don't get to pick and choose, you get scrubbed from their databases. Let's see how many people would agree to that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Adolph Hitler, Jun 9th, 2014 @ 1:06pm

    Re: Again

    I will!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Jun 9th, 2014 @ 1:15pm

    Re: Re: Again

    Hitler, Hitler... where do I know that name from?

    Did a quick search, but got no results back, so I guess it's just one of those familiar sounding names...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Jun 9th, 2014 @ 1:19pm

    Re: Again

    Let's see, 'Prenda', 'John Steele', 'Righthaven', 'Charles Carreon', 'Malibu Media'... yeah, there are a lot of people and businesses who would be willing to take that deal.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2014 @ 1:19pm

    Re:

    It takes one to know one.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Jun 9th, 2014 @ 1:24pm

    You can agree to one view, without agreeing with the others

    When they happen to be right on something.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2014 @ 1:28pm

    Did my duty to google: stewart baker techdirt

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Jun 9th, 2014 @ 1:29pm

    1. Read article 2. Post comment

    In particular read this bit, which makes it pretty clear his goal wasn't to get anything pulled, but to highlight how ridiculous the idea is:

    'I feel bad for Google, which is stuck trying to administer this preposterous ruling. But that shouldn't prevent us from showing quite concretely how preposterous it is.

    I propose a contest. Let's all ask for takedowns. The person who makes the most outrageous (and successful) takedown request will win a "worst abuse of privacy law" prize, otherwise known as a Privy.'

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 9th, 2014 @ 1:40pm

    Re: 1. Read article 2. Post comment

    In particular read this bit, which makes it pretty clear his goal wasn't to get anything pulled, but to highlight how ridiculous the idea is

    We explain that in our post as well...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), Jun 9th, 2014 @ 1:46pm

    Re: You can agree to one view, without agreeing with the others

    Remember, folks, Hitler ate sugar. Hitler was evil. Therefore, eating sugar is evil.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2014 @ 2:01pm

    Re: WTF, Tim

    Welcome to the real world. Here it's possible to agree with someone on one issue and disagree on another.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    icon
    Roger Strong (profile), Jun 9th, 2014 @ 2:03pm

    Back in the USSR

    Maybe we have the Stalin era all wrong. Maybe all those official edited out of photos and tapestries their right to be forgotten.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    icon
    Roger Strong (profile), Jun 9th, 2014 @ 2:05pm

    Re: Back in the USSR

    er, Maybe all those Stalin-era officials edited out of photos and tapestries were merely exercising their right to be forgotten.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    icon
    Roger Strong (profile), Jun 9th, 2014 @ 2:22pm

    Just Individuals?

    Since US corporations are people too, how long until Exxon Valdez disaster is ordered to be forgotten? Or the GM ignition switch problem? Or any criticism of Comcast?

    Will nations make the same requests? Is there already an effort to "Forget Pearl Harbor", "Forget the Alamo" and "Forget Winnipeg?"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    icon
    Rikuo (profile), Jun 9th, 2014 @ 3:17pm

    Re: Right to be forgotten to be posted

    Not at the moment, since the EU ruling applies to Google and Google alone (which should be yet another sign of how retarded it is). The Chilling Effects database would be separate from Google and thus not subject to the ruling.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2014 @ 3:19pm

    It's nice to know that Mr.Baker knows about Techdirt.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2014 @ 3:26pm

    "Multiple advocates for the law have compared it with the infamous DMCA takedown notice, something that has also been routinely abused. But at least the DMCA takedown carries with it the (almost never enforced) charge of perjury for issuing bogus takedowns."

    Also, at least the DMCA is trying to address a real offense: unauthorized copying. "Right to be forgotten" doesn't even deal with a real offense: Posting truthful information is not itself illegal, even in places like the UK where the laws are so fucked up that those accused of libel have to prove their statements are true.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    k-h, Jun 9th, 2014 @ 3:57pm

    J Smith

    John Smith wants to be forgotten. Please google, remove all references to John Smith.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2014 @ 4:07pm

    Re: Again

    No, you shouldn't - unless the links are actually defamatory and ruled so by a court.

    People aren't islands. "Forgetting" one person affects other people. Your "right" to be forgotten may infringe my "right" to be remembered. Your censorship may affect my free speech.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2014 @ 4:40pm

    Why is it that the pencil necks think that Google can censor the internet? Google gave them an inch, and sooner or later will regret it. I must admit I no longer use the Google search engine directly. It seems the internet is getting a bit long in the tooth as of late, am guessing the future lies elsewhere.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2014 @ 4:47pm

    I'm so confused by this article. An NSA apologist apparently poking fun at European laws meant to shroud the truth in secrecy. It's like my entire world just got turned upside down!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2014 @ 5:20pm

    Re: Re: You can agree to one view, without agreeing with the others

    >Remember, folks, Hitler ate sugar. Hitler was evil.
    >Therefore, eating sugar is evil.

    Sugar was a wonderful girl and cannibalism was wrong.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2014 @ 5:26pm

    But at least the DMCA takedown carries with it the (almost never enforced) charge of perjury for issuing bogus takedowns.


    When was the charge of perjury ever enforced and has anyone ever been convicted of perjury for bogus DMCA takedowns?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Anon, Jun 9th, 2014 @ 5:27pm

    not european

    I expect better from a US-based lawyer:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stewart_Baker
    In the US, there is no "right to be forgotten". It is entirely a European thing. In the US, the truth is an absolute defense against libel. In Europe, not so much, which is clearly insane. Any competent lawyer would know this.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    icon
    JMT (profile), Jun 9th, 2014 @ 5:37pm

    Re: WTF, Tim

    Is Tim defending NSA apologism? No.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    icon
    JMT (profile), Jun 9th, 2014 @ 5:39pm

    Re: Again

    I'm not sure why some people think being entirely scrubbed from the internet wouldn't appeal to many, many people.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Zonker, Jun 9th, 2014 @ 5:41pm

    Will the right to be forgotten ever be forgotten?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Zem, Jun 9th, 2014 @ 7:18pm

    I am pretty sure it would not be hard to find a dozen or so individuals, who shares their name with someone famous, to issue some take downs.

    Like, if your surname was Disney.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2014 @ 8:15pm

    Stewart, the techdirt community would like to forget you, but you keep spouting BS, which makes it kind of difficult. The easiest way to be forgotten is to simply STFU.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2014 @ 9:34pm

    Hahaha - another one that thinks google is the internet.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    Zem, Jun 9th, 2014 @ 10:47pm

    Re:

    It was awarded to them, it's just we all forgot about it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    andypandy, Jun 10th, 2014 @ 4:54am

    Why

    Oh why are people still using google to search the internet, they are slowly becoming the most useles search engine out there and hopefully someone will come along very soon with a search engine that does what google does but better, with a statment that they are a search engine nothign more and that they search the internet for content that the user is searching for and refuse to be the big brother and block any searches or restrict any searches like Google does.

    I liked the fact that i could do a search on google and do so for images and places and quickly do a google maps search etc, Google is very useful but others are catching up and using the same robot files Google uses to do searches.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2014 @ 5:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Again

    Well as there's nothing bad about him online, he must have been a great guy!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    icon
    The Wanderer (profile), Jun 10th, 2014 @ 8:27am

    Re:

    I think the whole idea of the "right to be forgotten" is to make it so that revealing truthful information *is* in some cases illegal - just as the idea of "copyright" is to make it so that creating a copy of a piece of information is in some cases illegal.

    Both "rights" are created only by government and law; if the government and the law says it's forbidden, then it is by definition illegal.

    The dispute (or part thereof) is about whether, to what extent, and/or with what penalties or other remedies such things *should* be illegal.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Jun 10th, 2014 @ 8:31am

    Re: not european

    I expect better from a US-based lawyer:

    Did you read the article?

    "Baker's certainly not hoping for Techdirt's posts on him to be de-listed (although I imagine he'd indulge in a chuckle or two if they went down). He's mocking the ridiculousness of the "right to be forgotten" ruling Google is now attempting to comply with."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    icon
    Anonymous Howard (profile), Jun 11th, 2014 @ 4:10am

    Re: Re: You can agree to one view, without agreeing with the others

    First day, I drank wine with soda. I got hammered.
    Second day, I drank vodka with soda, and got stone drunk again.
    Third day I drank whiskey with soda, and again plastered..

    So I concluded that drinking soda makes you drunk.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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