from the the-paper-of-record dept
In this case, the NY Times was notified of five articles that were caught up in the right to be forgotten process. Three of the five involved semi-personal stuff, so the Times decided not to reveal what those stories were (even as it gently mocks Europe for not believing in free speech):
Of the five articles that Google informed The Times about, three are intensely personal — two wedding announcements from years ago and a brief paid death notice from 2001. Presumably, the people involved had privacy reasons for asking for the material to be hidden.I can understand the Times' decision not to reveal those articles, but it still does seem odd. You can understand why people might not want their wedding announcements findable, but they were accurate at the time, so it seems bizarre to have them no longer associated with your name.
The other two stories, however, again reveal the more questionable nature of this process:
Now, if the request was sent in by one of the Goolnik's, it seems especially questionable. The fact that they were involved in a legal dispute is relevant factual information, even if it was eventually settled.
One Times article that is being shielded from certain searches in Europe is a report from 2002 about a decision by a United States court to close three websites that the federal government accused of selling an estimated $1 million worth of unusable Web addresses. The complaint named three British companies, TLD Network, Quantum Management and TBS Industries, as well as two men who it said controlled the companies: Thomas Goolnik and Edward Harris Goolnik of London.
The case was later settled. Thomas Goolnik did not respond to messages left via social networking sites.
As for the other article...
In the last of The Times articles, a feature about a 1998 production of “Villa Villa” by the ensemble called De la Guarda, it was much harder to divine the objection. Not a review, the article explored how the antic, acrobatic show was managing “to get a generation raised on MTV interested in seeing live theater.”It's unclear from that article what someone is upset about. There are a few people named (though many are Americans who aren't supposed to be filing for such requests). And, even with the quotes it's difficult to see how any of them could upset someone. The only thing that caught my eye is that the story quotes a "27-year-old art student" named Feliz Skamser. Skamser's quote is innocuous "It was like a dream, only more intense," but the very same sentence awkwardly inserts a quote from The Guardian (not from Skamser) calling the show "theater as good as sex." If people read the sentence quickly, perhaps some might think that Skamser said that latter quote -- and perhaps she was annoyed that people were associating her with a quote about sex? Or maybe she just doesn't want people to know she went to the theater? A search on her name will turn up that story on the American Google, but not the UK Google.
Once again, though, we're left wondering how this setup makes any sense at all. If the information was accurate at the time, then why should it be removed?