Re: If there is ever a just case for this kind of decision...
First, this is not really a foreign company, but a Russian company. So "foreign investors" is a bit of a leap: partly foreign shareholders?
Secondly, Yukos was mostly bought by Chodorovsky for 310 million, even though it was probably worth far more. Putin is of course horrible, but, in a way, Chodorovski and the shareholders stole this money from the Russian people through corrupt officials, and they do not deserve the 50 billion either:
"[O]wnership of some of Russia's most valuable resources was auctioned off by oligarch-owned banks... Although they were supposedly acting on behalf of the state, the bank auctioneers rigged the process-and in almost every case ended up as the successful bidders. This was how Khodorkovsky got a 78 percent share of ownership in Yukos, worth about $5 billion, for a mere $310 million..." â€” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yukos_Oil#Privatization_.281995.29
Third, if this had been a Western company wronged by the Russian government, the more desirable situation would be for its country to stick up for it, not enabling a few very rich people to get an arbitrary amount of money from a country through an arbitrary tribunal. As in the WTO, it should be country v. country, if anything.
Lastly, in general, I think nationalisation and otherwise depriving foreign companies of assets or profits is not always so bad per se, especially if the company's interests legitimately conflict with those of the country. And companies are free not to invest in a country that might do this. So do we need any mechanism at all to fight this?
We have good public transportation in Holland. It just requires some money. Of course it is better in areas with a denser population, but you can still reach most remote locations in the country in a few hours by bus. Like healthcare, education, etc., it is considered a minimum requirement for the state to give to those who need it. Additionally, it is better for the environment if you get people to take the train rather than go by car. And it makes the cities less ugly if there are fewer parked cars everywhere.
Another (conspiracy) theory that has been offered is that the GCHQ-NSA had installed hardware backdoors in the systems of the Guardian and wanted to destroy the evidence. It sounds a bit far fetched...
Use the extension Greasemonkey in Firefox. Find the userscript Enable Context Menu (I think that's what it's called, I am now in my mobile) and install it. Et voila! You can disable it at will and per domain. It is best disabled on websites that have (useful) context menus of their own, like Google Maps.
I don't think it is about de-indexing the link altogether: I think it is only from the results if you search for the person's name (and nothing else), so it can still show up for a slightly different search term. Still, a horrible ruling, of course.
The only extenuating circumstance is that the removal applies *only* to search results when you type just the name of the person, "Stan O Neil". If you make it "Stan O Neil corrupt", then you should get uncensored results, or so I read. Still, a horrible ruling, and I say that as a European.
I think Google is interpreting the verdict in a much broader way than it was intended; I believe the court excluded facts that could be important for society, politics, etc. Google may be doing this on purpose, in order to show the world how bad the ruling was (and, as a European, I would support Google in this: the court's censorship is stupid).
I have heard two possible explanations, both fairly tinfoily:
1. Truecrypt has received a Security Letter from an American or other agency (we don't know where they are) to build in a backdoor. They are not allowed to announce having received the letter, but they can simply rip out the encryption part of their software and make a general announcement like this one.
2. Were hacked but regained control. But why weren't they more specific in their warning, then?
@Mike One thing to consider is that it's not so bad to be liable in Germany as compared to America. Any potential punishment or fine will be a lot more reasonable.
What is more, I would not expect a German court to ever actually punish you if there is content on your website that is libelous, unless you ignore the verdict. And the verdict will always be "now that the other party has provided real proof that this is libelous, you must remove the content within x days or pay a daily fine". So for you, as a website, it is always safe to not act on complaints unless the a judge tells you to. So there is a significant barrier for complainants.
Further, it is easier and less expensive to defend yourself in a German court: courts are more active than in the common-law system, so you probably won't have to do anything if the complainant has no real proof accepted by the court as such: then the judge will acquit you. I imagine in some other countries you may be convicted if you do nothing, even if the complainant can't really prove anything.
That's not entirely the same thing, but I like your way of thinking. Perhaps the government should not be involved in libel at all? People can simply defend themselves by posting their own arguments elsewhere on the Internet, and readers must decide for themselves.
One reason why governments might want to get involved, however, is that it is easier for you to set up a campaign of libel against someone if you are rich and powerful. You can pay people and companies to spread the word, make advertisements. So that might be where a government might want to level the playing field, as it were.
Re: It's not only Lobbyist we'd need to worry about
Exactly! That is what will happen if this mercantilist treaty is ratified: parliaments, courts, and constitutions will have to be ignored, or countries will be sued at one of those three-lawyer tribunals that enforce such treaties, and the countries will be made to pay billions because some foreign corporation doesn't like a certain law/verdict/constitution. It's almost treason by their trade representatives.