Article Quoting Norwegian Mass Murderer Anders Breivik's Manifesto Gets Caught In Right-To-Be-Forgotten Memory Hole

from the obscuring-history dept

As we've been covering the big push in Europe to use the "right to be forgotten" concept to delete parts of history, each time media outlets have articles removed, it's only acting as an opportunity to bring those articles some renewed attention.

And, indeed, the Telegraph in the UK has now released a big list of articles that will lose some Google juice in Europe thanks to right-to-be-forgotten requests. The one getting the most attention is actually just an excerpt from the manifesto of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik.

To understand what's happening, you have to remember that the entire article doesn't disappear from the Google index, it's just that it won't show up if you search on a specific name. And since the RTBF is not supposed to apply to public personalities, chances are it's not Breivik who is the issue here. In fact, the quoted part of the manifesto includes Breivik talking about his godmother, a political refugee from Chile, and a few other foreign friends he had as a kid, as part of his proof that he's "not a racist." Most of his childhood friends only have their first names listed, but the godmother is named in full -- and you might understand why she's not exactly happy to be connected to a sociopathic mass murderer whenever someone Googles her name.

But... is that really a legitimate reason to remove the search result? It still seems immensely troubling that the end result of this is to remove accurate responses to research queries. Yes, it may be embarrassing, depressing and even emotionally stressful to see such Google results -- but it's also accurate. Shouldn't we be more focused on dealing with the issues of why it's so problematic to have your name associated in this manner instead of trying to pretend it never happened at all?

Filed Under: anders breivik, europe, free speech, history, manifesto, right to be forgotten


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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 19 Nov 2014 @ 5:55am

    Let's stop calling it "Right to be forgotten" and start calling it "Right to pretend some facts didn't happen" which is much more accurate?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2014 @ 7:51am

    I don't understand what Amelia Jimenez's problem is.

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

  • identicon
    Michael, 19 Nov 2014 @ 9:06am

    Shockingly, we have uncovered more problems with censoring the library by taking things out of the card catalog.

    Nice job Europe.

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

  • identicon
    Whoever, 19 Nov 2014 @ 10:17am

    Interviewees Remorse?

    I cannot understand why one of the articles has been removed:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/5721573/Property-market-renting-is-all-the-rage.html
    The subjects of the article must have agreed to be interviewed, have their photographs taken, etc.. Why should they be able to have this removed from search results? The article is only 5 years old, the family must have been aware that they would be putting themselves permanently in Google search results.

    There doesn't seem to be anything in the comments that would warrant removal, so I am assuming it is the main article, and one or more of "Paul and Fiona Godwin-Brown and their two boys Tom and Charlie" who requested removal.

    It might also have been "Duncan Clerkin", who was also quoted. Or perhaps "Yolande Barnes, head of research at Savills" (all names gratuitously included to provide more links to them).

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

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 19 Nov 2014 @ 11:23am

    How long before someone makes...

    An Auxiliary search engine that restores all the search associations being specifically targeted by this law specifically at Google?

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

    • icon
      sacredjunk (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 2:13am

      Re: How long before someone makes...

      I guess this rule applies only to the Eurpoean google sites, not the google.com or google.in (for example) sites.

      So it should be possible to get the google.com results, get the google europe results, then subtract the two, especially the top ten hits.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2014 @ 12:02pm

    just remove her last name and be done with it .

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 1:28am

    To answer your question "But... is that really a legitimate reason to remove the search result?": Yes, this is a legitimate reason.

    And before you now cry out loud "Censorship! Free Speech! ...!" please take the time and tell me what the added value of her name is. Ok, the name is in the quoted part of the manifesto. And for exactly what reason? Why is the name important? I'm sure there are plenty of reasons I just cannot image (stupid European), right? Sorry but I think this is perhaps the fault of the removed article (even if it's free speech - this doesn't make things magically right). And this example looks just like another bad pick.

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


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