Google Starts Disappearing Part Of The Internet In Europe

from the censorship-in-action dept

And so it begins. Following last month's dangerous "right to be forgotten" censorship ruling by the EU Court of Justice, Google has now started censoring truthful search results in Europe . According to the Wall Street Journal:
Google engineers overnight updated the company's technical infrastructure to begin implementing the removals, and Thursday began sending the first emails to individuals informing them that links they had requested were being taken down. The company has hired a dedicated "removals team" to evaluate each request, though only a small number of the initial wave of takedown requests has so far been processed.

"This week, we're starting to take action on the removals requests that we've received," a Google spokesman said. "This is a new process for us. Each request has to be assessed individually, and we're working as quickly as possible to get through the queue."
Perhaps even more troubling, is that after EU regulators got worked up about Google's plan to at least indicate that certain search results had been removed (as it does with DMCA copyright takedowns), Google has backed down on that plan:
Google, for its part, has appeared to bend to regulators' desire that the company refrain from indicating in search results when something had been removed. Google had earlier indicated it might highlight the removals, something it does when it removes links to pirated content. But EU regulators told Google in recent weeks that such a move would undermine the spirit of the decision by making it clear some individuals had wanted information about them suppressed, one regulator said.

Instead, Google on Thursday added a blanket notification that appears at the bottom of most results for individual name searches conducted on Google's European search websites, according to an explanation the company posted to its website. The notification—"Some results may have been removed under data protection law in Europe"—is added algorithmically to searches that appear to be for a name, a person familiar with the matter said.
Still, it seems highly likely that Google is going to face more litigation over this, since some are grumbling that Google is only removing those results on its EU pages, and that if someone sneaks over to one of Google's non-EU search engines, it can still find the (again, truthful) information.

This whole thing is a huge mess based on people totally misunderstanding the nature of public information. And, because of that, there are going to be a series of fights over just how far Google has to go in censoring such information.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    kenichi tanaka (profile), Jun 26th, 2014 @ 2:39pm

    EU laws do not have any type of effect in the United States. The ruling only applies to search results on European Union oriented websites. If the website is in the United States, the E.U. ruling doesn't affect Google results as they relate to searches conducted in the United States.

     

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      Bergman (profile), Jun 26th, 2014 @ 4:04pm

      Re:

      And if the EU wants to claim that they can order Google Europe to censor searches in the US, then they lose the right to complain if Google US or Google Japan gets to censor searches in the EU.

      Even if the censoring would violate EU law.

       

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      Michael, Jun 27th, 2014 @ 8:18am

      Re:

      That is not correct.

      Someone in the EU can request Google remove a US website from the European Google search results.

      So, if you have a news story on a US site (like TechDirt), it can be removed from the search results in Europe. That IS a problem for us in the US that may be selling things worldwide.

       

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    Whoever, Jun 26th, 2014 @ 3:00pm

    As I said before ....

    Google should comply by simply removing ALL links to a particular person, especially when that person is a politician.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2014 @ 3:01pm

    This is a joke. Nothing is removed. You can go to a different search engine or go to one off googles non-europe sites. Google will never win, because the data is never removed and when people find out they will sue all over again. The EU courts will come down harder on google. Creating a vicious circle.

     

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      Vel the Enigmatic, Jun 26th, 2014 @ 3:10pm

      Re:

      Just to further highlight the equally vicious stupidity of said circle.

      Google: "So we removed the links. Happy?"
      Requester: "Yes!"

      Requester finds it on another search engine completely and utterly unrelated to Google.

      Requester: "They didn't remove it, those lying jerks! I'm gonna sue!"

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2014 @ 7:01pm

        Re: Re:

        In the new episode of "Series of Tubes" (my show on Netflix), the "tubes" bypass Google and go to other sources of people's information on-line.

        The EU is totally baffled by the "tubes" ability to bypass Google and then look at their rules only to realize ---

        The EU is the Censor that Orwell warned the world about!

        OOOhhhh, the Humanity, "What have we done!?

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2014 @ 7:52pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Interesting, not a Netflix subscriber, so I took a quick look at TPB for reference. Did not see anything called 'Series of Tubes'.

          Now this could be interesting. Either the name is incorrect, thus my search worthless, or, the success, such as it is (I have no idea) is on Netflix only presentation.

          Way to go Netflix.

           

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    radarmonkey (profile), Jun 26th, 2014 @ 3:14pm

    Some genius out there needs to create a web page that lists all of the links Google, et al, remove from their search responses. Make it a wiki so that the reasons for their requested removal can be documented, discussed, and analyzed.

    It'll then be interesting to see the loop build as these pages get their search engine removal requests ... and a new wiki-page goes up .... get's listed ... gets a removal request ... lather...rinse...repeat....ad infinitum!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2014 @ 3:16pm

    lol Techdirt is for privacy unless someone hurts their precious Google. What a joke, this site is. Congratulations on outing yourselves as just another Google propaganda machine.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2014 @ 3:24pm

      Re:

      When Google has your information everyone is up in arms over it, but when the Government has your information, everyone is okay.

       

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      Adrian Lopez, Jun 26th, 2014 @ 3:25pm

      Re:

      Privacy has nothing to do with it. This is public, factual information being disappeared from Google's servers.

       

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      Mason Wheeler (profile), Jun 26th, 2014 @ 3:35pm

      Re:

      Techdirt is for privacy, but only for things that are actually private. Techdirt has always--as far as I've seen, at least--been against the abuse of the term "privacy" to try to hide public affairs that someone finds embarrassing.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2014 @ 6:09am

        Re: Re:

        If it was really private information anyway, shouldn't the actual host be held liable rather than the automated directory?

         

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          John Fenderson (profile), Jun 27th, 2014 @ 8:21am

          Re: Re: Re:

          This. Going after Google to remove search results is stupid and dishonest. If there's something wrong with the content, then the content itself should be removed.

          From comments made by EU officials, I get the impression that the reason they went after the search engine instead was specifically to avoid accusations of censorship. But that's a transparent lie that makes the law look petty and foolish.

           

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2014 @ 3:36pm

      Re:

      actually i don't care about google. I figure the EU Courts will go after yahoo next with this insane idea. This is what happens when judges and lawyers who have no clue about how the internet works come up with a knee-jerk idea that solves nothing. I hope the EU courts get buried in this nonsense. What i am is surprised that google went along with this and did not say no, and appealed.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2014 @ 3:19am

        Re: Re:

        Don't be surprised. Google has been censoring their search results for years. What do they care about a few more?

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2014 @ 3:51pm

      Re:

      Entitlement thinking clearly causes brain damage. Hatred of Google for helping people find what they are looking for, and making profits while not paying folks like you just because you think you deserve to get paid for the rest of your life, leads to a complete inability to read words and comprehend their meaning.

       

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      Bergman (profile), Jun 26th, 2014 @ 4:06pm

      Re:

      What does privacy have to do with a government censoring freedom of expression by making sure no one searching the internet for that speech can find it?

      Last I checked, freedom of expression was a protected human right in the EU. Well, it used to be anyway.

       

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      Dave, Jun 27th, 2014 @ 10:48am

      Re:

      A-ha! No prizes for guessing whose bigoted and twisted mind has re-surfaced here. If an item is stating the truth, why should the link to it be removed? Would you want a child pornographer or other criminal living next to you without the facility to find out this fact? Many people may have an unsavoury past and, in my opinion, they don't have the right to have it swept under the carpet, as if nothing had happened. This is nothing more than arbitrary censorship - simple.

       

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        John Fenderson (profile), Jun 27th, 2014 @ 12:38pm

        Re: Re:

        "Would you want a child pornographer or other criminal living next to you without the facility to find out this fact?"

        This is beside the point, but honestly? I don't care what crimes my neighbors have been convicted of. I have always had a hard time seeing how that knowledge is of any real use to me.

         

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    Adrian Lopez, Jun 26th, 2014 @ 3:26pm

    Pick up and run

    I wish Google would bow out of Europe altogether. No US court would enforce a foreign order requiring Google to take down factual content, so they wouldn't be required to comply with this kind of nonsense.

    There's too much money at stake for Google to do that, but it's the best thing to do for Google's users.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2014 @ 3:28pm

      Re: Pick up and run

      I think this creates a perfect opportunity for censorship index sites to pop up, linking to the removed data -- Google can still go after THOSE ones.

       

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      Bergman (profile), Jun 26th, 2014 @ 4:07pm

      Re: Pick up and run

      Well, not yet. I bet if the TPP doesn't include such language, a future treaty will.

       

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        Adrian Lopez, Jun 26th, 2014 @ 4:24pm

        Re: Re: Pick up and run

        They'd also have to change the US constitution, though. The reason libel laws can't be used to punish those who say truthful things is that the US Constitution forbids it.

         

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          AnonyBabs, Jun 27th, 2014 @ 10:20am

          Re: Re: Re: Pick up and run

          That's right. The US Government never does things the Constitution forbids.

           

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            Adrian Lopez, Jun 27th, 2014 @ 10:27am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Pick up and run

            On things like the right to say truthful things, the US government is quite supportive of the First Amendment.

             

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2014 @ 2:52am

      Re: Pick up and run

      That's because the US courts are wholly owned by Google, Inc. At least Europe, unlike the US, actually takes care of user privacy.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2014 @ 10:30am

        Re: Re: Pick up and run

        No. It's because of the First Amendment. Also, privacy has nothing to do with public information.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2014 @ 11:16pm

        Re: Re: Pick up and run

        >That's because the US courts are wholly owned by Google, Inc.

        The fuck have you been smoking?

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2014 @ 5:23am

      Re: Pick up and run

      I frequently fantasize that Google will 'disappear' the entirety of France, and its resident nutters, and continue until quiet is restored.

       

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    Adrian Lopez, Jun 26th, 2014 @ 3:30pm

    As if that weren't bad enough, a new website seeks to make the act of censoring invonvenient facts a great deal easier:

    http://www.theverge.com/2014/6/24/5838716/forgetme-google-right-to-be-forgotten

     

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    Roger Strong (profile), Jun 26th, 2014 @ 3:31pm

    Be Consistent

    Google publishes a list of the copyright-related take-down demands. You don't get to see the content of what was taken down, but you see who demanded the take-down.

    I hope that they do the same for search result take-down demands.

     

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      Adrian Lopez, Jun 26th, 2014 @ 3:39pm

      Re: Be Consistent

      "You don't get to see the content of what was taken down, but you see who demanded the take-down."


      That's more or less what Google wanted to to do, but "EU regulators told Google in recent weeks that such a move would undermine the spirit of the decision by making it clear some individuals had wanted information about them suppressed, one regulator said."

       

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        Roger Strong (profile), Jun 26th, 2014 @ 3:50pm

        Re: Re: Be Consistent

        Nuts.

        A ban on publishing still leaves the data open government requests.

        Say, the CIA wanting to know what European politicians and CEOs want forgotten. Or what the French government demanding the same for America. Purely for research purposes, of course.

        Or a government wanting a list of what politicians in their own country find embarrassing enough to demand a take-down. I suspect they'll treat the data for opposition parties a little different from their own.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2014 @ 3:39pm

      Re: Be Consistent

      nope, google already thought of this and EU courts said no.
      That such a notice would say there might be bad things with this person.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2014 @ 3:36pm

    I would suggest renaming the article. Google isn't disappearing anything they are removing their link to the content. If anything the article title should be "Google Starts Disappearing Part Of Their Search Results In Europe"

     

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    hoare (profile), Jun 26th, 2014 @ 4:23pm

    Did you see where Mario Costeja González from Spain had to sell property because of social security debts? I just heard about it.

     

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    jupiterkansas (profile), Jun 26th, 2014 @ 4:45pm

    Too bad there's only one search engine in Europe.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2014 @ 5:28pm

    § 230 and The Speech Act

    US based online service without assets in Europe can just ignore the CJEU ruling and the stupid right to be forgotten.

    First, such a removal order can't be enforced here because it violates the First Amendment, and therefore such a cause of action is void.
    Second, an online service enjoys immunity from liability for speech published by its users.

    And third, The Speech Act forbids the enforcement of foreign judgments against First Amendment protected speech.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2014 @ 3:53am

      Re:

      EU Section 032:

      Third parties are to be held liable for indexing "privacy violations" committed by wholly immune first-party publishers.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2014 @ 10:16pm

    On a silver platter.

    I imagine that several government agencies are clapping their greasy little hands in glee... "Would you look at that: a handy list of embarrassing material that we can potentially use against those people later later. Quick! grab it"

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2014 @ 11:31pm

    It's not often that you get the trifecta of hilariously petty, practically ineffectual, and morally offensive all in one decision.

    At least we know how to fix problems like economic crises, starvation, war, homelessness, etc; delete references to them from the Google. Just don't tell the racists and the fundamentalists!

     

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    Wayne White (profile), Jun 27th, 2014 @ 3:13am

    Wayne

    For any search result that would have included links that have been "disappeared", Google should return no results, along with a canned explanation. Let's see how long that would fly.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Jun 27th, 2014 @ 5:30am

    Are you still using Google? I've moved on already. That's the best they'll achieve with this idiocy. People who want to find uncensored results will simply go elsewhere.

    I'm anxiously awaiting for the decentralized solution that may come from this.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2014 @ 7:51am

    [S]ome are grumbling that Google is only removing those results on its EU pages, and that if someone sneaks over to one of Google's non-EU search engines, it can still find the (again, truthful) information.


    So the reasoning from that recent ruling in Canada kicks in and maximum censorship roars across the globe. Note that geoblocking is also not a solution since it's possible to use a foreign proxy and still gain access to the content. The only solution is for google to block it for absolutely everyone across the globe. National laws-- and in some cases even local laws-- now become global laws and the highest common denominator of censorship reigns.

     

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    Anonymous, Jun 27th, 2014 @ 7:56am

    I would submit that the op does not know what constitutes public data in Europe

    It's actually pretty simple. Private European citizens owns their own data. When it comes to ordinary day to day people nobody - absolutely nobody - especially not private companies, has any rights to that data. Except where specific exceptions are made by law.

    The above statement is an expression of how the law works. Whether the OP or anybody else thinks the American interpretation is relevant or not has no legal standing in Europe, and European companies, and Google has several European companies.

    If Google or any other company wants to avoid this, they are free to close their businesses in Europe. Including their tax-shelter operations in Ireland.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2014 @ 8:19am

      Re: I would submit that the op does not know what constitutes public data in Europe

      It's actually pretty simple. Private European citizens owns their own data. When it comes to ordinary day to day people nobody - absolutely nobody - especially not private companies, has any rights to that data. Except where specific exceptions are made by law.

      So what do newspapers report on?

       

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      John Fenderson (profile), Jun 27th, 2014 @ 8:25am

      Re: I would submit that the op does not know what constitutes public data in Europe

      " When it comes to ordinary day to day people nobody - absolutely nobody - especially not private companies, has any rights to that data."

      However, this is irrelevant to what the law actually requires: the data is not being removed. Google is being forced to remove the pointer to the data -- the data is still there.

      If this were actually about data rights and privacy, then the law would have gone after the actual data. But it's not, therefore the data itself is not what is at issue.

      "they are free to close their businesses in Europe"

      We can but dream!

       

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    Anonymous, Jun 27th, 2014 @ 8:32am

    @Anonymous Coward
    So what do newspapers report on?


    News, just like in the US. They cannot report the names, photographs of ordinary people without their consent, there has to be a specific reason for doing that.

    For politicians, movie stars, top managers in industry, etc. the rules are different. By virtue of their jobs, they must expect some kind of publicity.

    In the US the 1st amendment grants you the right to oust a person as e.g. homosexual, if that is the case.

    In the EU the CHARTER OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION Article 8 grants protection of personal data, and Article 11 grants Freedom of expression and information

    Article 8 & 11 may at times conflict, consequently the court must try to balance these two.

    The US has no privacy protection, privacy is a result of common law. Consequently if freedom of speech conflicts with privacy, privacy always looses in the US.

     

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      John Fenderson (profile), Jun 27th, 2014 @ 9:18am

      Re:

      "News, just like in the US. They cannot report the names, photographs of ordinary people without their consent, there has to be a specific reason for doing that."

      That's not the law in the US.

      "The US has no privacy protection"

      This is not true. There is strong privacy protection for certain types of data. Where the US and EU differ is that in the US, privacy protection applies to specifically named types of information.

      Personally, I think the US privacy laws should be broadened and strengthened quite a lot. I would strongly object to expanding them as far as the laws in the EU have gone, though. Both sides of the pond err in being too polar, in my opinion.

       

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    Anonymous, Jun 27th, 2014 @ 8:39am

    @John Fenderson
    This. Going after Google to remove search results is stupid and dishonest. If there's something wrong with the content, then the content itself should be removed


    Not really, the information is correct, and Article 11 protects the newspapers right to make that information public.

    The problem arises from the indexing of these news-sites. Before the advent of internet searches, individuals faux-pas got forgotten over time. They simply dropped off the radar.

    With search engines like google, yahoo, etc. this is no longer the case. The ruling tries to re-establish this principle.

    The ruling only concerns private citizens. Persons who - through their profession - cannot expect full privacy are NOT protected by the ruling. However any search engine providing services in Europe are required to support takedown notices from private citizens.

     

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      John Fenderson (profile), Jun 27th, 2014 @ 9:21am

      Re:

      "With search engines like google, yahoo, etc. this is no longer the case. The ruling tries to re-establish this principle"

      That's what's so nonsensical about this whole thing. It is, in effect, punishing an unrelated third party (a search engine) for the existence of data that some people find objectionable.

      If this type of information is really such a large problem, it would make more sense to address the problem directly rather than burdening unrelated entities because nobody wants to do the hard work of honestly trying to resolve the situation.

       

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        Anonymous, Jun 27th, 2014 @ 9:38am

        Re: Re:

        "News, just like in the US. They cannot report the names, photographs of ordinary people without their consent, there has to be a specific reason for doing that."

        That's not the law in the US.

        Maybe I wasn't expressing myself clearly, I was referring to what the newspapers reported on.

        That's what's so nonsensical about this whole thing.

        In the context of "letting sleeping dogs lie" it actually makes sense. In so far that you can still find the information if you do a thorough search, just like you could in the days before the internet. All the ruling does, is help ensure that information - relateted to ordinary citizens - which must be considered outdated is more difficult to find. Google, and similar search engines, has rocked that boat. Consequently the court has tried to return matters to a more natural state.

        This is not true. There is strong privacy protection for certain types of data.


        I beg to differ, on two grounds, only one of which is relevant to this discussion:

        1 [the relevant one])
        The equivalent to the US bill of rights grants privacy in the EU, there is no part of the US constitution that protects privacy. Hence my example with the EUCJ having to balance article 8 and 11. Whereas in the US, privacy will always loose to the 1st amendment.

        2) [the irrelevant one])
        The US privacy laws are inadequate, in fact so inadequate that EU companies and government organizations are forbidden to ship personal data to the US, except under certain specific circumstances.

        E.g. In the US, there is no requirement for a court order, in order to gain acceess to any email which has been stored on a mail server for more than six months.

        In the US companies may freely trades and distribute any data you have given them. E.g. Facebook. In the EU this data remains my property. I can at anytime request the Facebook deletes my data, and Facebook is not allowed to sell my data to anybody.

         

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          John Fenderson (profile), Jun 27th, 2014 @ 10:21am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Maybe I wasn't expressing myself clearly, I was referring to what the newspapers reported on."

          That's what I thought you were referring to, so your clarification has confused me. What I'm saying is that in the US, newspapers certainly can "report the names, photographs of ordinary people without their consent" and without a specific reason for doing so.

          "In the context of "letting sleeping dogs lie" it actually makes sense."

          It makes a kind of sense in terms of trying to force a specific end result. It makes no sense in terms of trying to ensure justice. How does imposing burdens on an innocent third party as a result of the actions of someone else make sense in the view of justice?

          This looks to me like it's pretty much a totally arbitrary and lazy decision intended to find an easy solution to a problem that really deserves something a more thoughtful approach.

          "Whereas in the US, privacy will always loose to the 1st amendment."

          I think you are unaware of the laws that I'm talking about, as this is 100% untrue. The easiest example of the sorts of thing I mean is with medical records. They have strong privacy protections, and the first amendment does not trump them. Similar laws exist for other specific sorts of data. Certain types of financial records, for example -- or my favorite example for sheer hypocrisy, pettiness, and its now anachronistic nature: the records of your video rentals.

          Where the US and the EU differ is that in the EU, privacy protections apply to everything. In the US they apply only for specifically named sorts of things.

           

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            Anonymous, Jun 27th, 2014 @ 10:44am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            In Europe a newspaper cannot simply go out on the street, take pictures and record peoples names and make those publicly available. They need the consent of the people they photograph.

            E.g. Google street-map has faces and license plate information blurred.

            How does imposing burdens on an innocent third party

            Who is that innocent third party?

            Google? as I said in another post, the EUCJ is not responsible for ensuring that Google's business model works, it is responsible to ensure that my rights to privacy under article 8 are upheld.

            The US citizen? What rights does the average American have to my personal information?

            I'll leave it up the the US citizenry to decided if they think their rights to privacy is sufficiently safeguarded. Just as I believe that the American citizens should allow the Europeans to decide when they feel they have a achieved the right balance between privacy and freedom of speech.

            My primary objection was, and is, with the OP, who apparently believe that the American view on what constitutes public data should be the same in both the US and the EU.

            When - in fact - there are significant differences. Claiming democratic deficiencies is simply the pot calling the kettle black.

             

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              Adrian Lopez, Jun 27th, 2014 @ 11:05am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              The US citizen? What rights does the average American have to my personal information?

              If it's public information, the average American has a First Amendment right to read, repeat, and link to that information. It's not your information to suppress because it isn't yours.

               

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                Anonymous, Jun 27th, 2014 @ 11:42am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                the average American has a First Amendment right to read


                And there is the curx of the matter. The 1st amendment does not apply in the EU. We have an:
                Article 11
                Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions
                Article 7
                Respect for private and family life
                Everyone has the right to respect for his or her private and family life, home and communications.
                Article 8
                1. Everyone has the right to the protection of personal data concerning him or her.
                2. Such data must be processed fairly for specified purposes and on the basis of the consent of the
                person concerned or some other legitimate basis laid down by law. Everyone has the right of access to
                data which has been collected concerning him or her, and the right to have it rectified.
                3. Compliance with these rules shall be subject to control by an independent authority


                I hope we can agree that the equivalent to the bill of rights called CHARTER OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION should apply to EU citizens, and that the American bill of rights should apply to Americans.

                 

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              John Fenderson (profile), Jun 27th, 2014 @ 12:45pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "Who is that innocent third party?"

              Google (or any other search engine) in this case.

              "as I said in another post, the EUCJ is not responsible for ensuring that Google's business model works"

              And as I replied, that's not what the issue is.

              "My primary objection was, and is, with the OP, who apparently believe that the American view on what constitutes public data should be the same in both the US and the EU."

              I think you're reading too much into this -- I don't interpret anything anyone is saying that way at all. The EU can do what it likes, and nobody is disputing that.

              What is happening here is not some attempt to make the EU run their stuff differently, it's a healthy discussion of the very real issues around the whole thing. Unless you believe that nobody outside of the UK is allowed to have or discuss opinions on the issue, I'm not sure what your objection actually is.

              "Claiming democratic deficiencies is simply the pot calling the kettle black."

              Huh? I'm not sure what you mean by this.

               

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous, Jun 27th, 2014 @ 10:29am

        Re: Re:

        Let me try to explain it this way.

        Under article 11, the newspaper has a right to make information available which is a matter of public record, even if that information constitutes private information. (If it is on public record, then it isn't private)

        If somebody compiles information - and makes that information publicly available - on a private citizen, then that person has an obligation to make sure that the information is relevant and pertinent.

        In Europe there is a long standing tradition of forgetting past transgressions once they must be considered "water under the bridge". This could be a criminal record, or anything of that nature.

        E.g. if I'm convicted of a crime, I will be informed when that information will be stricken from my record. Once that period of time has expired, I am within my rights to expect that information to be stricken from my record.

        The ruling simply states that Google must adhere to that tradition when operating in the EU. When in Rome do as the Romans.

        In the specific case of the ruling, a man - many years ago - experienced a foreclosure on his home. He expected that this record would be stricken from public scrutiny after some period of time, as is the tradition in Europe.

        Google refused to accept that European culture and law was different to the American culture and law, and that said European traditions and law was pertinent to its operations within the EU.

         

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        •  
          identicon
          Adrian Lopez, Jun 27th, 2014 @ 10:43am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Under article 11, the newspaper has a right to make information available which is a matter of public record, even if that information constitutes private information. (If it is on public record, then it isn't private)"

          Can you spot the self-contradictory language in the above statement? If the information is on public record or was otherwise legally obtained, it isn't private information and therefore has nothing to do with your privacy.

          Everything else you've said is just trying to dance around the fact that public, factual information is being suppressed from Google's search results because the subject finds it embarrassing or inconvenient.

           

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            identicon
            Anonymous, Jun 27th, 2014 @ 11:13am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Can you spot the self-contradictory language


            For a linguist there might be a contradiction, for practical purposes there isn't.

            The newspaper provides news, which is protected under Article 11.

            Google, among others provide easy access to information related to named persons. When it does so, it is obligated to ensure that the information it provides is relevant, and does not unduly violate that persons privacy.

            The privacy of ordinary citizens are especially safeguarded. Google is - as a European company - required to ensure that these rights to privacy are upheld.

            There is only an apparent self-contradiction. If Google did not provide the ability to search for a specific named person, then I think - personal opinion - that the EUCJ would have ruled differently.

             

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            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2014 @ 11:17am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              You keep using the word "privacy". It doesn't mean what you think it means.

               

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              •  
                identicon
                Anonymous, Jun 27th, 2014 @ 11:25am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                I don't think I'll bite on this one. Getting into a lengthy debate on what privacy means, in the US vs. EU vs. Individual EU countries vs. various dictionaries is not worth it.

                We'll probably not even be able to agree on who should be the arbiter of such a dispute.

                 

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2014 @ 8:44am

    Google is manilupalting search results since day one anyway.

    Just try same google.de using same "controversial" keywords but different proxies (.com .by .es .de etc.)

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Jun 27th, 2014 @ 8:45am

    Re: Re: I would submit that the op does not know what constitutes public data in Europe

    @John Fenderson
    then the law would have gone after the actual data


    The Google takedown matter, is the result as a ruling, thus only indirectly a matter of law.

    The ruling - primarily - rests on the CHARTER OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION, which in EU is equivalent to the US bill of rights.

    Getting them changed is an involved process, not unlike the process for adding an amendment to the constitution in the US.

     

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    •  
      icon
      John Fenderson (profile), Jun 27th, 2014 @ 9:22am

      Re: Re: Re: I would submit that the op does not know what constitutes public data in Europe

      So how does that make it right to punish unrelated third parties?

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous, Jun 27th, 2014 @ 9:45am

        Re: Re: Re: Re: I would submit that the op does not know what constitutes public data in Europe

        So how does that make it right to punish unrelated third parties?


        They aren't punished. No fine had been levied. They have simply been informed what the law of the land says.

        Of course, if they insist on not following the law, then fines may be levied.

        It is not the EU's responsibility to make Google's business model work. Especially not when that business model depends on violating my rights to privacy.

         

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          John Fenderson (profile), Jun 27th, 2014 @ 10:29am

          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I would submit that the op does not know what constitutes public data in Europe

          It looks like being punished to me, but I'll grant you that I'm using the term in a slightly hyperbolic way. Person "A" puts something on a web page that someone finds objectionable. Instead of addressing that problem, the law says that the burden of doing something about it falls instead on unrelated person "B". That's punishing (in the colloquial, not legal sense) person "B".

          "It is not the EU's responsibility to make Google's business model work."

          I'm not sure how this is a relevant statement. Nobody is saying otherwise.

          "Especially not when that business model depends on violating my rights to privacy."

          This is a complete misrepresentation of the business model. There is no -- zero -- violation of privacy by the search engine. Sites that don't wish to be indexed can easily prevent it without even talking with Google.

          If there's a violation of privacy, it would be with the site that actually has the data, not the search engine. That's why this ruling has shot at the wrong target.

          Even characterizing the rest of Google's operation as depending on violating privacy is incorrect. When you use Google services, you are engaging in a transaction: you give Google data and Google gives you services in exchange. It's not a violation of privacy when you agree to share your data.

           

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          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous, Jun 27th, 2014 @ 11:05am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I would submit that the op does not know what constitutes public data in Europe

            "It is not the EU's responsibility to make Google's business model work."

            I'm not sure how this is a relevant statement. Nobody is saying otherwise.

            Google makes a living indexing web-sites, and providing adds along with the search results.

            When Google is no longer able to automatically index everything automatically, they incur an additional cost. Thus the harm to their business model.

            There is no -- zero -- violation of privacy

            Yes there is. That is exactly what the ruling states. Google provides the ability to do a "vanity search". As such it is required that it adheres to a EU citizens' right to privacy under article 8. You, as an American, may not think so, due to different legal and cultural traditions. Most Europeans think this is a violation of their privacy.

            If there's a violation of privacy, it would be with the site that actually has the data

            If Google did not provide the ability to do "vanity searches" you might be right. It would be interesting to see what the EUCJ would make of that.

            It's not a violation of privacy when you agree to share your data.

            Actually in Europe it very well might be. My personal data is my private property. I may at anytime - except where specified by law - request that a company deletes my data.

            In fact the EUCJ ruling goes further than that. It states that if you have an automated collection of public record data on me, then you are required to ensure that that data is at all times relevant and pertinent, regardless of the truth value. Truth is not, by itself, enough to determine relevancy of information about ordinary citizens. E.g. Sexual orientation, religious and political viewpoint and so on. And in the case of the ruling, how outdated that information is.

             

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            •  
              identicon
              Adrian Lopez, Jun 27th, 2014 @ 11:11am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I would submit that the op does not know what constitutes public data in Europe

              Most Europeans think this is a violation of their privacy.

              They are wrong. Public information cannot be private, by definition.

              If Google did not provide the ability to do "vanity searches" you might be right.

              There's no such thing as a "vanity search". You type words into Google and Google returns the most relevant results based on publicly available information. Whether there's any "vanity" involved addresses only the searcher's motivations, not Google's.

               

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              •  
                identicon
                Anonymous, Jun 27th, 2014 @ 11:20am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I would submit that the op does not know what constitutes public data in Europe

                They are wrong. Public information cannot be private, by definition.

                You are naturally - under article 11 - entitled to have and express that opinion. I have an equal right to disagree. And the EUCJ seems to have reached the same conclusion as I have. No matter how you try to twist the definition of when public data is no longer supposed to be public.

                There's no such thing as a "vanity search".

                Maybe you are more familiar with the term Egosurfing Whether that is an explicit or implicit effect of a search engines feature set, is - from a legal perspective - irrelevant.

                 

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            •  
              icon
              John Fenderson (profile), Jun 27th, 2014 @ 12:52pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I would submit that the op does not know what constitutes public data in Europe

              "When Google is no longer able to automatically index everything automatically, they incur an additional cost. Thus the harm to their business model."

              True, but that's irrelevant to the entire issue.

              "Yes there is. That is exactly what the ruling states."

              And that's the part of the ruling that I truly don't understand. Google does not hold or distribute this "privacy-invading" data, so how can they be invading privacy with it?

              "I may at anytime - except where specified by law - request that a company deletes my data."

              That's right. And Google allows you to do exactly this: you can delete any data about yourself that you share with them any time you like (even if you live in the US).

              "It states that if you have an automated collection of public record data on me, then you are required to ensure that that data is at all times relevant and pertinent, regardless of the truth value."

              That's all well and good, but orthogonal to the issue at hand. Search results are not a collection of public record data about you. They are pointers to other places where such data may be.

               

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2014 @ 10:03am

    is google censoring globally or not?

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2014 @ 12:47pm

    enjoyed reading these comments, fascinating stuff. I'm at once a bit jealous of the EU privacy laws- and horrified by the implications of same.

    If it only applies to EU servers- what effect can/does this actually have? Someone mentioned there being laws about how (under what circumstance) companies can transfer data in and out of the EU- How does this work?

     

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


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