EU wants Google to extend "right to be forgotten" to global users


The level of arrogance exhibited by the EU is difficult to fathom. How on earth do they think they have the right to force their stupid censorship on the entire world?


You didn’t think exceptionalism was born in the U.S.A., did you?


Google was, like, totally going to do this, EU… but Google forgot.


Ah, the Right to be forgotten case. A ruling so immediately and comprehensively abused to the fullest possible extent right out the gate, just as everyone predicted - which makes one wonder, at what point did the EU parliament think that exactly that wouldn’t happen?

I mean, so far we have convicted criminals demanding that the internet forget they were criminals, con artists demanding it be forgotten that they’ve conned people, corporations and particularly investment banks demanding the world forget their misdeeds.

In fact, I think the only person who hasn’t been able to get Google to forget about nasty details of their history they wish to be forgotten is the bloke who pushed for it in the first place, since almost every article about the Right to be Forgotten includes his name, and precisely the information he wanted expunged from the internet in the first place.


Visit www.BannedOnGoogle,com to see how people plan to fight back against EU regulations.

There are so many real, meaningful privacy issues so why did they feel the need to invent a new, stupid one and address it by force of law? One might almost think that their objective was something other than the protection of privacy…

The EU has tackled a lot of privacy issues, and their privacy protection is much greater than in the US.

Quite frankly, I don’t know if BB’s views on privacy are very coherent. We read lots about TOR and how to maintain your privacy on the internet, yet finding a privacy right to be forgotten is excoriated. Why are some rights of privacy more sacrosanct than others, and what is the basis of these privacy rights we choose to recognize?

Edit: It’s interesting that a later post from today actually recognizes this problem, and I wish BB would engage with what they think privacy means (and why) instead of skipping this important foundational step.

But EU data protection regulators say that because Europeans can simply load the US version of Google and see the censored results that Google has not done enough. It’s conceivable that they could demand that Google block “forgotten” results from searches originating on a European IP address, but that would also be trivial to circumvent. Ultimately, the only way to accomplish the European goal is to block the results worldwide.

So what if something is trivial to circumvent? E-book DRM is trivial to circumvent: does that mean you think it’s OK, or that it has no effect on the market? The reality is that even if it is trivial to circumvent, not many people are going to fire up a VPN or use TOR so that they can see un-forgotten search results. And it’s not like we don’t have precedent for selective filtration of search results in Europe: France ordered the filtration of Nazi-memorabilia auctions from reaching French browsers, and this was accomplished mainly through IP filtering. This, although trivially easy to defeat, doesn’t seem to have resulted in a slide down the slippery slope to worldwide internet censorship.


Because being forgotten is not really a privacy issue. Because that which was once public cannot suddenly become private. Because it is generally in the interest of society for newsworthy actions to be remembered. Because censorship. Because privacy benefits the innocent but forgetfulness benefits the guilty (particularly the convicted or exposed). Because it distracts people from important issues.


Even China settled for just having censored ( and not There’s no way the Eurocrats aren’t going to use this to censor all kinds of stuff as soon as they’ve got the infrastructure and precedents in place, which is, transparently, what they’re trying to do right now, and, like Cory says, after that it’s fair game for anyone.


Sure it can: public information can effectively become private by the process known as forgetting.

Is someone’s bad dining experience “newsworthy”? In the pre-internet age a scathing review—even one widely published in a newpaper—would be quickly forgotten by most, whereas today that review lives on indefinitely on the internet. Was there some scheme of censorship going on in the era where the review could only be found by going through microfiche in a library? Was their censorship of TV news stories that were never captured on tape but simply broadcast into the ether? Is there censorship if Google simply declines to index a site, even if the site still exists? Was there censorship when the old-school search engines known as phone books allowed unlisted phone numbers? Was it censorship if the unlisted people were newsworthy?

Didn’t the Yahoo! auctions suit put the precedents in place?

1 Like

Obscure is not effectively private, sometimes it can be a pain in the ass to get public records but they are still public. Hiding search results doesn’t really make them private either, it is just a waste of effort and brings to mind the Ministry of Truth’s memory holes (except those were effective).
The newsworthyness of dining experiences is an issue that you need to take up with the newspaper editor, but having prior reviews available is in the interest of the restaurant-going public.

Is going through microfiche in a library still an option? I haven’t seen a viewer sitting out since I was a kid. Would going through the microfiche and cutting out bad reviews be censorship? How would that be fundamentally different than the question at hand?
Edit: ↓↓ I love you Jardine :slight_smile:

1 Like

In the walls of the cubicle there were three orifices. To the right of the speakwrite, a small pneumatic tube for written messages, to the left, a larger one for newspapers; and in the side wall, within easy reach of Winston’s arm, a large oblong slit protected by a wire grating. This last was for the disposal of waste paper. Similar slits existed in thousands or tens of thousands throughout the building, not only in every room but at short intervals in every corridor. For some reason they were nicknamed memory holes. When one knew that any document was due for destruction, or even when one saw a scrap of waste paper lying about, it was an automatic action to lift the flap of the nearest memory hole and drop it in, whereupon it would be whirled away on a current of warm air to the enormous furnaces which were hidden somewhere in the recesses of the building.


If it’s trivial to circumvent, then one of two things. Either the EU is toothless, and possibly liable for all sorts of damages - or else they have to find a way to censor the entire world. In reality, that’s impossible, but in the mean time we’re going to have all the awkwardness and bullying and general mayhem that always accompanies a government covering its ass.


EU Bureaucrats have made a mockery of privacy with their technical incompetence. Privacy and data security are too important to be mismanaged by wordsmiths who were too lazy to even check out what the words the EUJ used to define the “right to be forgotten” meant in the settled law of 28 EU member nations. This what the each of two groups in Congress do before they propose laws that affect 50 states.

1 Like

I don’t understand this logic. Who would the EU be liable to, and for what? Who are trivially-defeated electronic DRM makers liable to?

Effectively, it is. Did people search newspaper microfiche records before deciding where to eat in the 1980s, or were old reviews effectively forgotten and private?

I mean, the pain-in-the-ass nature of old-school ways of doing things is what led to the much of the reasoning over GPS surveillance in US v. Jones: there’s no doubt that it would be legal to stakeout a suspect and follow his car around 24/7, but this would be a major PITA in comparison to cheap and easy GPS surveillance. Now, Scalia’s majority decision in the GPS case turned on the physical trespass involved in attaching a GPS unit to a car, but this is a distinction that many are going to be uncomfortable with when it becomes practical to use cheap satellite or drone surveillance to automatically track vehicle/personal movements without committing trespass.

I agree with this, and this would seem to make de-indexing sites no more censorship than permitting unlisted phone numbers or failing to keep an index for newspaper microfiche contents.

And who is the newspaper editor to whom concerns should be addressed when it comes to the blog post that resulted in the “right to be forgotten” decision? Does every tweet, instagram, and vine automatically become newsworthy?

If the EU promises your peccadilloes are forgotten, but they aren’t forgotten, you might well have grounds for a suit. And the kind of people demanding forgettory are just the kind that sue.

I don’t understand the analogy to DRM. But that’s okay.

1 Like

DRM is easily defeated, yet it presumably promises something to someone.

This seems like saying that since the FDA “promises” safe foods and drugs, and the NHTSA and DOT “promise” safe vehicles, that these institutions should be sued when you get food poisoning or get hurt by a dangerous car… yet that’s not how things seem to work.

I always figured it would be the lawyers who eventually ruined the net.


And that’s why anonymity is needed. The best lawyers, like the best nuclear warheads, are fairly worthless when they do not have the coordinates where they could unleash their load of damage.

1 Like