"People will google your name, and very old things can come up." (emphasis added)
But they won't. That's the whole point. The Spanish guy who wanted to hide the 16-year-old foreclosure could have pushed it out of the #1 spot in 3 minutes. All he had to do was create a Google+ page! It would have taken maybe an hour or two to create enough relevant content to push the old irrelevant content down to page 2. And then we're in the same situation as the real world: the records are still there if you go looking for them, but it's not relevant any more, so it's not the first thing that comes up.
Should people have the right [...] to ask Google to hide content in their name searches, when such content is inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant or excessive for the purposes of the data Google collects?
No, because if those conditions are true, they don't need to. That was my point. Maybe I didn't make it clear enough.
If content is inaccurate or inadequate, then it should be fixed. If you don't have access to the source, you can still publish more content explaining the problem. And note that if the information really is inaccurate and is harmful, you probably already have legal options via defamation laws.
If content is irrelevant, then Google wouldn't show it. The top result for your name is the thing that Google believes is the most relevant content related to your name. So far, no one has argued that Google is intentionally messing this up.
If the only public information about a person is X, then that can't possibly be "irrelevant". It's literally the only fact available. On the other hand, if there is public information about X, Y, and Z, then it's reasonable to argue that X is irrelevant. But then there's no reason to hide X: you just need to show Y and Z as the most relevant information.
I honestly have no idea what the "excessive" clause means, so I won't tackle that.
The solution to speech you don't like is more speech, not censorship. If you can successfully defeat negative speech by opposing it with your own, then you deserve to do so. But if the only way you can overcome negative speech is by disappearing it, then you admit its legitimacy.
But we have the right that Google doesn't associate us permanently with that bad event as the first thing that come up when anybody searches our name.
Well that's easy, because Google doesn't do that, and they never did. So I guess we're all happy now?
Let me explain. Google doesn't permanently associate anyone with anything. When you search for something on Google, it returns the results that it thinks are most relevant. It uses several factors to decide "relevance", including how well the result matches the query, the language of the result page, the general quality of the result (i.e. page-rank), and the age of the result.
Yes, that's right. Google prioritizes new pages over old ones. Not by very much; general relevance still matters. If you search for "apple", it will prefer the 8-year-old page about apples over the tweet from yesterday about oranges. But assuming the pages are otherwise equivalent, it will prefer the 2-month-old page about apples over the 8-year-old one.
Which brings me back to my original point. Results change. New pages appear, old ones become less important. The top hit for any celebrity is not the same as it was a year ago. It might not be the same as it was last week. The only difference between you and that celebrity is that there are fewer potential results for you, and thus your results change more slowly. But they do change. And there's no reason to get the courts involved.
Problem: When searching for my name on Google, the first result is something bad.
Solution: Create content that is more relevant, and kick that embarrassing result down to page 2 where no one will ever see it.
The attitude you claim here is admirable. However, you seem to be rather more antagonistic towards Mike than this position would require. I admit that I don't follow the comments that closely, but the responses of others suggest that you frequently post aggressive rebuttals, and almost never agree with him.
A few possibilities: a) You actually do hate Mike, and wrote this argument as a self-serving justification. b) You genuinely believe you're being impartial, but are bad at it. c) You actually are being impartial, and Mike is a dishonest shill.
Personally, I'm inclined to believe (d), "all of the above". I think it's quite likely that both you and Mike are more biased than you each claim to be, or even realize. This isn't a zero-sum game, after all. You could both be wrong (factually or morally). Then again, so could I.
We are talking about the idea that municipal bureaucrats, cut from the same crooked timber of humanity as Comcast executives, would do a significantly better job than Comcast executives.
I believe that's called "begging the question".
Who says municipal bureaucrats are drawn from the same pool of humanity as Comcast execs? Well, you do, clearly, but I don't know why you think that. Are all people evil bastards? If so, we're kind of screwed regardless. If not, then clearly a possible solution is "find the guys who aren't assholes and put them in charge". You may argue that we can't plausibly do that, but you need to put at least a little effort into it.
But even more than that:
Who says that it's a person's inherent nature that determines how well they perform, rather than the incentives given to them? Comcast execs are driven to maximize profit; the more profit, the bigger their bonuses. Of course they don't care about quality of service when it doesn't affect the bottom line. That's not because they're inherently evil (although they might be), it's just a natural consequence of how we as a society have decided to compensate them.
Bureaucrats don't earn a bonus by screwing over citizens. They get a bonus (or a promotion) by doing a good job. That means making citizens happy, or at least minimizing the complaints. And while it's true that some government workers are there because they actually want to serve their community, you don't need to accept that for this argument to work. As long as the bureaucrats are at worst neutral with respect to screwing the customer (citizen), they're a lot better than a monopoly executive.
"They'll either object to and bar it from being admissible as 'unrelated to the case at hand', or just ignore it some other way."
Yeah, no. Having an alibi is extremely relevant to the case. The only way he goes to jail for this is by somehow pleading out - otherwise, the defense gets to have a field day asking all sorts of funny questions to the police officers guarding him.
It's entirely possible that Mr. Wheeler is a rather decent person, who previously didn't know many of the things that we TechDirt readers take for granted and is now learning how the industry works from the perspective of its customers.
"In short, Disconnect.me is working to block evil activities."
According to them, sure. But when it comes to the Google Play store, the question of "who decides what's evil?" has a clear answer: Google. It's their store, they decide. You might not like their actions here (and I don't blame you), but it shouldn't be surprising.
Sadly the First Amendment doesn't apply here - this is a matter between private citizens (and companies). The government isn't involved. Even though "copyright" is being invoked, YouTube's policies are different from federal law, and this is technically not a legal issue. (Yet.)
That said, SLAPP might still apply. I might also look at laws involving fraud: Bornstein used false information to take down the video. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to get anywhere because West would have to show actual harm - he can't exactly sue for damages if he hasn't lost any money.
Honestly, his best bet is to trick Bornstein into uploading his video somewhere, and then sue him for copyright infringement. You don't need to suffer any damage for that!
I wonder what would happen if some Verizon tech "accidentally" installed and connected another 4 ports. If they don't have the hardware already on site, they certainly have it back in a warehouse somewhere.
Sure, he'd probably get fired, but imagine the PR dance Verizon would have to do to explain how all the congestion magically disappeared.
If any private company tried these arguments, they'd be thrown out of court so fast the doors would fall off. Only the feds can point to another court ruling, say "golly gee it's too hard to do both of these at once", and get away with it.
If every single reporter could figure it out, and pretty much every other person could
I don't think that's how it works. Reporters should put more effort into investigating a site than your average reader, otherwise they might end up publishing an article about Google's new products (which are actually parodies). That all these reporters figured it out in no way proves that a reasonable person - who is otherwise uninformed on the topic - would instantly be able to determine it was a parody.
Redacted Blog is crap and you're bad for reposting it
Not because of anything they wrote. I wouldn't know; I haven't bothered to read any of it. They might be tireless freedom fighters for all that is right and good, for all I know.
But nothing - nothing - excuses them from publishing a graph whose y-axis doesn't start at 0.
Humans are visual creatures. Anyone looking at that graph gets the idea that exemptions have more than doubled from 2011 to 2012. Of course the actual numbers show only a 40% increase - still bad, but not quite as frothing-at-the-mouth-rage-inducing as implied.
On the one hand, yes. But there's no algorithmic way to establish fair use. (As far as I know - if you have a way to do so, please tell me.) And in many cases, the uploaders don't actually care about the incidental audio. So arguing fair use to keep it in just isn't worth the trouble.
If I understand this correctly, YouTube is providing a simple tool to remove minor portions of audio. Uploaders can use this tool when they decide it's easier than fighting over the 2 seconds of some pop song in the background.
And ultimately, this will lead to the removal of ContentID audio from all kinds of videos. Where before musicians had free advertising, and had people expressing their cultural tastes, now there will just be quiet. The few who are smart enough to not monetize or takedown will be the real winners.