from the thomas-goolnik-thomas-goolnik-thomas-goolnik dept
Dear inevitable Google GDPR “right to erasure” specialist: Please skip three paragraphs down to learn why you should not remove this story or tag from search results, and that doing so would violate the limits placed on the right to erasure in the GDPR. Dear Thomas Goolnik: stop trying to hide information on how you have abused the GDPR to hide information about you, because each time we’re going to write about you again.
Thomas Goolnik really doesn’t want you to find his name when you do a search on him — and Google seems happy to help him out, thanks to the GDPR. Perhaps it’s because of something that happened to Thomas Goolnik almost exactly 20 years ago (perhaps he’s feeling nostaligiac). As you may recall, Goolnik faced some legal troubles 20 years ago, but this is not about the fact that he faced legal issues 20 years ago, it’s about the fact that since then, Thomas Goolnik has regularly abused the “right to be forgotten” to make sure no one knows about Thomas Goolnik’s abuse of the right to be forgotten process.
Even if you can make an argument (and it would be a difficult argument to make) that Thomas Goolnik’s legal problems of twenty years ago should be “forgotten” today, Thomas Goolnik is not just trying to hide what happened 20 years ago, he’s also trying to hide how he has repeatedly used the GDPR’s right to be forgotten to get Google to hide search results about him… abusing the GDPR’s right to be forgotten. In fact, our last few posts about Thomas Goolnik don’t even mention the legal troubles he had two decades ago, but rather focused solely on his repeated attempts (surprisingly successful!) to get Google to hide our posts on him in the EU.
So, again, we’ll first address this to whatever poor soul from Google has to keep reviewing Thomas Goolnik’s takedown complaints: these are not valid removal requests. Under the GDPR’s “right to erasure” (Article 17) standards, the right only applies to the erasure of personal data where “the personal data are no longer necessary in relation to the purposes for which they were collected or otherwise processed” and the right to erasure does not apply to data that is “in the public interest.” The information here (about Thomas Goolnik’s repeated abuse of the right to erasure for the sake of censoring public information) is still necessary for detailing how Thomas Goolnik abuses this right, and it is in the public interest for people to recognize how the GDPR’s right to erasure is widely abused to censor and hide information — for example, information about how a guy named Thomas Goolnik abuses the GDPR to hide information.
But, if we’ve gone this far, we might as well go over all this again:
- Twenty years ago Thomas Goolnik got in a spot of legal trouble, which was covered by a variety of news sources, including the NY Times.
- In 2014, after the EU Court of Justice approved a version of the right to be forgotten, Thomas Goolnik used that to try to get Google to forget that NY Times article.
- In August 2015, Thomas Goolnik used the same (pre-GDPR) right to be forgotten to get Google to forget our article about Thomas Goolnik getting Google to forget the NY Times article.
- A month later, in September of 2015, Thomas Goolnik got Google to forget our article about him getting our first article forgotten.
- Three years went by, and the GDPR passed, etching the “right to erasure” (i.e., the right to be forgotten) into official EU regulation, and so Thomas Goolnik went back to the well, using the official right under the GDPR to, once again, have Google forget our stories about Thomas Goolnik.
- A year later, in early 2019 he again abused the GDPR to convince Google to forget our new story about Thomas Goolnik abusing the GDPR.
- And just a month later he again abused the GDPR to get that latest story removed.
And that had been all we heard of Thomas Goolnik in the last three years. But, then, this week, we received another notification from Google that due to a GDPR “data protection law removal” request, Google would “no longer show one or more pages from your site in Google Search results.” That page is the one for our slightly snarky tag: thomas goolnik thomas goolnik thomas goolnik thomas goolnik thomas .
Now, I can see no reason that the tag page qualifies for a “right to erasure” request. It reveals nothing personal about Thomas Goolnik, other than that he has a propensity to abuse the GDPR’s right to erasure to try to hide news he apparently doesn’t like about himself. But the one story that shows up under that tag doesn’t even mention the legal mess he was in in 2002, and only talks about his current abuse of the GDPR.
But, at this point, it’s pretty clear that Thomas Goolnik is unlikely to ever stop abusing the GDPR to hide stories about Thomas Goolnik — which is exactly what we warned would happen should the right to be forgotten become encoded into EU law. So it seems pretty damn newsworthy that the GDPR’s right to erasure is being abused right now and not something that Google should be erasing, no matter how many times Thomas Goolnik seeks to hide it.
Filed Under: eu, gdpr, right to be forgotten, right to erasure, rtbf, thomas goolnik, thomas goolnik thomas goolnik thomas goolnik, thomas goolnik thomas goolnik thomas goolnik thomas goolnik thomas, thomas goolnik thomas goolnik thomas goolnik thomas goolnik thomas gool, thomas goolnik thomas goolnik thomas goolnik thomas goolnik thomas goolnik