Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

EU Court of Justice Paves Way For "Right To Be Forgotten" Online

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the youthful-indiscretions dept.

Privacy 199

Mark.JUK (1222360) writes "The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has today ruled that Google, Bing and others, acting as internet search engine operators, are responsible for the processing that they carry out of personal data which appears on web pages published by third parties. As a result any searches made on the basis of a person's name that returns links/descriptions for web pages containing information on the person in question can, upon request by the related individual, be removed. The decision supports calls for a so-called 'right to be forgotten' by Internet privacy advocates, which ironically the European Commission are already working to implement via new legislation. Google failed to argue that such a decision would be unfair because the information was already legally in the public domain."

cancel ×

199 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

We'll always have magnetic tape (3, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 4 months ago | (#46988401)

Paris may forget you cheri, but marketers never will.

WWSCOUTUSDO (1)

alphatel (1450715) | about 4 months ago | (#46988403)

Safe to say that corporations now have the same inalienable rights to removing incriminating evidence?

Re:WWSCOUTUSDO (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46988457)

This is the EU, companies aren't granted human rights over here and this is based on the right to privacy

Re:WWSCOUTUSDO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46988523)

Fine, however we here in the US will retain the data anyway.

And many in the EU will also as socialism will never overrule reality, no matter how much money you spend.

Re:WWSCOUTUSDO (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46988567)

Lucky I'm not in a socialist country then, pity captialists suffer from a similar thing.
Also I believe if google defames him in other countries they would still be liable but IANAL

Re:WWSCOUTUSDO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46988587)

>here in the us

>cannot speak english

Re:WWSCOUTUSDO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46989225)

Fine, however we here in the US will retain the data anyway.

Well, considering the US can enforce their idiocy with companies that have a US-presence, even if said idiocy technically affects data stored outside of the US (etc), I'd say that the EU can enforce *their* idiocy the same way for companies that have a significant EU-presence.

I.e., the reply "nuh-uh, we're storing all that personal data that we're required to delete by EU-law outside of the EU" may not fly in EU courts.

Re:WWSCOUTUSDO (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 4 months ago | (#46989273)

It's not about spending money. It's about not giving money.

You'd be surprised just how powerful latter is as a tool against capitalists in comparison to the former.

Re:WWSCOUTUSDO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46989795)

Fine, however we here in the US will retain the data anyway.

And you think that the EU isn't already legislating to outlaw this data off-shoring trend?

Censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46988407)

Because some censorship is good, and some is bad? I say just refuse to return any results on the guy, and say it's because of the court order.

Re:Censorship (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | about 4 months ago | (#46988463)

I agree - if they're instigating "right to be forgotten", they should be forgotten. Not selectively forgetting certain unfavourable pieces of information.

Re:Censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46988521)

Its based on the right to privacy, not a seperate right to be forgotten.
I actually read the BBC story on it rather than the article linked to.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-27388289

Re:Censorship (2)

plover (150551) | about 4 months ago | (#46988653)

But why is this Google's problem? It's not their data.

This kind of shit is impossible. You're going to get all kinds of censorship as a result: clams bitching about xenu, etc.

Google should repay the EU in kind by blocking all search results pertaining to a complainant: every document mentioning the person should be removed from all indices returned to EU locations. When they discover just how stupid their ruling was, too bad.

Re:Censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46988715)

For the same reason as a paper repeating libel is regarded as defamation. I actually agree with this decision and if google removes all references to me I wouldn't mind in the least (they have very little anyway); However if it does it to someone as a punishment for winning a court case any individual involved should be up before the court for contempt in my view.
Also the EU has the highest GDP of a trading bloc so I suspect google wants to be able to do buisness there.

Re:Censorship (3, Funny)

StripedCow (776465) | about 4 months ago | (#46988797)

I actually agree with this decision and if google removes all references to me I wouldn't mind in the least (they have very little anyway);

Are you serious? When I do a google search for "Anonymous Coward", it returns quite some hits.

Re:Censorship (4, Insightful)

fafaforza (248976) | about 4 months ago | (#46988871)

Does Lexis-Nexis get sued because they index libelous articles?

Re:Censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46988921)

Never heard of them but in the UK I'd imagine that yes they'd be liable unless the list is actually understood to be a list of 'bad' information for the study of such of similar. Actually getting anything from them if they don't have any buisness interests in a country might be harder however

Re:Censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46988471)

Defametory material has a long history of being considered OK for banning, hence libel & slander.

Re:Censorship (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about 4 months ago | (#46988537)

What about information that is simply embarrassing, like the engagement announcement with my psycho ex-wife that is now in the Top 5 hits for my name on Google?

Re:Censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46988635)

If it is actually causing you harm then yes you should be able to remove it unless there is an actual real public interest issue. How do you tell? Thats the tricky bit and is yet another reason why a good, honest system of courts is so important.

Re:Censorship (4, Informative)

GoddersUK (1262110) | about 4 months ago | (#46988597)

This isn't about defamatory material. This is about matters of historical/public record. This case was brought by someone who wanted records of bankruptcy proceedings against him removed. That's not libel nor slander. It's a public record. Similarly a German court blocked a guy who was trying to get records of a previous court judgement or prosecution (I don't recall which) against him removed from a newspaper website. http://www.theguardian.com/com... [theguardian.com]

Re:Censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46988789)

There is a huge difference between unfounded defamation and the truth, no matter how distressing the truth may be. The truth is not to be supressed. One must wonder about the integrity of a court that would even contemplate supressing the truth.

Re:Censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46989017)

I don't view truth as an absolute defence against defamation, afterall the camera can 'lie' even without photoshop. Another example is out of context quotes that change the meaning shouldn't be permited as they misrepresent.
An example of truth that is surpressed every day by the courts is the name of minors who are victims of sexual crimes and I don't think that should change.
To the GP this is defamation because google's results have little current relevance in a public interest way but are harming him, also they process data to return results.

Re:Censorship (1)

Xest (935314) | about 4 months ago | (#46988891)

This isn't a new issue anyway though, if you go bankrupt it's in the public record for all eternity, and the public record is clearly the public record.

But credit reference agencies farm this data and use it in their credit references, because they're not simple public record they can only store them for a certain number of years. So whilst they stay in the clear public record, they can only be used for processing purposes for a certain period of time.

It's already pretty well established what public record is - public court archives, newspapers and so forth. Google takes data and makes it searchable - that's not public record, as soon as you take data from public record and make it searchable then it's not public record any more. That's why Google lost this case, and quite rightly so. Companies like credit reference agencies have had to live to these standards for a long long time already, companies on the internet shouldn't get some exception.

Re:Censorship (2)

Br00se (211727) | about 4 months ago | (#46989239)

Google takes data and makes it searchable - that's not public record, as soon as you take data from public record and make it searchable then it's not public record any more. That's why Google lost this case, and quite rightly so.

You don't "take" data from the public record, you "share" data from the public record. It doesn't stop being part of the public record just because it gets republished.

Re:Censorship (1)

Xest (935314) | about 4 months ago | (#46989365)

You're being pedantic about a bit of slang and Slashdot isn't a graded English language MOOC. It's not uncommon to treat copy and take as interchangeable as take in this context is just read as shorthand for "take a copy of".

Re:Censorship (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 4 months ago | (#46989487)

That's bullshit. Google is not a credit company. This is clearly censorship for use by powerful people, just like the whole idea of libel/slander. The only issue is how the info is used. That is the only thing that should be controlled. I certainly hope there will be a way to circumvent such nonsense. Distributed search engines perhaps, hell distributed everything is what we desperately need, especially internet provision. Otherwise it will only become just another broadcast medium for the authorities to spread their propaganda. It has already started with the copyright wars as their first vector of attack.

Re:Censorship (2, Interesting)

Xest (935314) | about 4 months ago | (#46989699)

How is it censorship for use by powerful people? The law doesn't even protect powerful people - the law as it stands weighs the right to privacy against the public interest and politicians are at an inherent disadvantage because the public interest weighs more heavily against them than it does your average Joe on the street.

You'll have a hard time arguing that it's in the public interest that Joe's drug snorting photos from 20 years ago when he was young and stupid should stay up for all to see, but in contrast it's very much in the public interest to keep photos of a politician snorting drugs when they're meant to be enacting policy on drugs and narcotics policing for example.

I'll be clear here - this is explicit in the law, this isn't just my interpretation or speculation, the law is written specifically so this is the case, therefore you're wrong to say it's only for powerful people, on the contrary, it's designed explicitly for the little guy, so that mistakes they made some time ago don't have to ruin their life, whilst making it impossible for dodgy politicians to also take advantage of it. This isn't your typical badly written and easily abused law, it's actually pretty decent. It's one of those rare exceptions.

"The only issue is how the info is used"

That's actually what the law does - it doesn't allow removal of say, newspaper articles. It does however allow the removal of links to such articles. The articles themselves are public record, the links to such articles are just Google making use of public record to make money pointing to the articles.

I'm anti-censorship, but I'm also pro-privacy. This is one of those cases where they've actually got the balance right.

Definitely good, but there are two sides (2)

scsirob (246572) | about 4 months ago | (#46988425)

I can't help wonder what happens is a person who wants to be forgotten is referred to by someone else. Removing search results regarding some particular person may mean unintentional removal of content that someone else created and want visible.

Re:Definitely good, but there are two sides (5, Informative)

Xest (935314) | about 4 months ago | (#46988605)

There's been a lot of FUD and confusion about this particular law on Slashdot, some people seem to think you can just somehow use your bat signal to say "I want to be forgotten on everything online ever!" but it's more simplistic than that.

What it does, is gives you the right to go to a company, that is storing information on you, and ask that they remove it. Nothing more, nothing less. That means if Google has indexed search results and their index includes information on you they simply have to remove that from their index - they do not have to go to the sites they indexed and asked them to remove the information too or any such thing, it's up to you to contact each specific company and the company must oblige.

This isn't really as big a deal as often made out, there was an argument you already had this right to an extent in many jurisdictions such as under the data protection act in the UK, which states that companies may not be passed information on you without your consent, so unless you gave it to them in the first place or consented to someone else giving it to them then they shouldn't be holding it regardless.

This law just formalises that and makes it clear that that remains true even in the age of user generated content, it simply makes it clear that companies can't shirk their data protection rules by saying "but a user gave us that content!" or "but a machine gathered that information!".

I don't believe this creates the hardship that it's claimed it creates, if companies were adhering to the likes of the UK's data protection act in the first place (which stems back to 1998) then they should've had procedures in place for over a decade and a half now to delete personal details that they had no legal right to hold.

If there are concerns about other content being deleted at the same time then that's not a problem with the law, but entirely a problem with how companies choose to go about eliminating data that should no longer be held.

If I have entered no agreement with a company, if a company is not acting as a data processor for a data controller I do have an agreement, and if I have not myself passed personal data to a company, then they never had a legal right (apart from under a handful of very specific exceptions) to hold it in the first place. The only extension this adds is that it makes it clear that you can also retroactively have information removed even if they did have the right to hold it in the past - even this existed in the likes of the DPA though, that companies shouldn't hold it for longer than necessary for the agreed purpose or when a data subject has ceased their relationship with the firm. The problem with that part it was never explicit as to exactly how long a company could hold data on you after that point so it was down to a fairly arbitrary decision by a court.

Honestly, I don't see the problem, if a company doesn't have control of the data it owns to be able to delete data it shouldn't hold on request then it's not fit to be holding any kind of data in the first place.

Re:Definitely good, but there are two sides (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46988717)

What about the wayback machine?

And as for search engines, they will need to add code to continuously remove the search data from all future searches with a unknown lifetime as to when they can purge the block

Re:Definitely good, but there are two sides (1)

Xest (935314) | about 4 months ago | (#46988927)

The wayback machine could reasonably argue the public interest exception.

Search engines don't have to do anything fanciful other than adhere to take down requests when they receive them.

Re:Definitely good, but there are two sides (1)

ljw1004 (764174) | about 4 months ago | (#46989041)

Except the wayback machine ALREADY responds to requests to delete pages (via robots.txt), and when it gets one it deletes the entire history of that page as well.

Re: Definitely good, but there are two sides (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46988729)

It is non-obvious whether a search engine index contains "information about a person". It may know that a page contains the words " John ", "Doe" and "bankruptcy". Which words do you want to remove from the index?
If you can get anything but your name removed, I think it would be overreaching.
Most likely it needs to be a post processing step for that particular page which discard the match if the user was including John /and/ Doe in the query. That's an extra overhead, making searches slower or more expensive for everybody.

Re: Definitely good, but there are two sides (1)

Xest (935314) | about 4 months ago | (#46988969)

It can just be a manual process, that's how it works in most companies that already adhere to data protection laws.

God only knows it's not as if Google doesn't have the resources to staff an operation like this or invest in research into trying to automate it if it doesn't want to staff it.

It's entirely upto Google how it wants to go about it but ultimately it's got the resources and the talent.

Re: Definitely good, but there are two sides (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46988997)

Under the DPA a name alone isn't "personally identifiable information". Technically, a search engine wouldn't have to remove references to 'john smith' from their search index under the DPA.

What they would need to remove was that name when in combination with an address, phone number, ssn, and so on. This shouldn't affect the performance of the search engine itself, but might slow down the webcrawlers that build the search engines index, as those crawlers would now have to selectively remove entries that do identify a specific 'john smith' from the index - not necessarily completely, just in a way that prevents the search engine from returning results if you chucked someone's name and postcode (zipcode) into the search box for example. The page might still come up if you searched for other terms (not related to 'john smith') that were on it.

Re:Definitely good, but there are two sides (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46988777)

What it does, is gives you the right to go to a company, that is storing information on you, and ask that they remove it. Nothing more, nothing less. That means if Google has indexed search results and their index includes information on you they simply have to remove that from their index

Except, when Google re-crawls the interwebs, they find the data again.

When someone else puts up a page detailing what you did, that will get crawled.

This will completely fail when you discover that while you might have the legal right to tell internet companies to forget you, you don't have the legal right to compel me to forget you, or to honestly report facts.

There will literally end up being thousands (if not millions) of exceptions they have to track and maintain. Every time they find new content, they'll have to check it against a huge black list, figure out if this refers to John Smith #1 (who has tried to exercise his right to be forgotten) and John Smith #2 (who hasn't).

This is internet filtering on a large scale, will be about as effective as most of the nanny filters they have out there (which are in general incompetently managed, incomplete, and full of errors).

Depending on what you are trying to be forgotten for, there may be a public interest in the data. If you are a convicted child molester, WTF gives you the right to hide this fact?

This will become an unworkable mess, will fail utterly, and will mostly be abused by people who expect companies to go around deleting every reference to their drunk-driving arrest because it makes them look bad. And, I'm sorry, but if the information is factual, on what basis can you suppress facts?

Technology simply doesn't work this way, and the courts are seldom qualified to understand what it can and can't do.

I understand why the court thinks it is a good idea. But I also understand there's simply no bloody way this will ever actually work.

Re:Definitely good, but there are two sides (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46988861)

No. From what I can see, if you want it removed again you'll have to ask again. No-one will have to keep lists of exceptions.

What it does mean is that if you've had someone else remove an article, you can also make sure Google isn't still caching it. That's all.

Re:Definitely good, but there are two sides (1)

Xest (935314) | about 4 months ago | (#46988945)

Google already do much of this with DMCA notices, child porn sites and so forth anyway so it's not exactly a new problem contrary to your claims that it can't work. Obviously it can, because it does. Google can already prevent re-indexing.

But regardless it's a manual process, Google just have to remove it when you request, that's all, nothing more, nothing less. I suspect if they keep reindexing it in the exact same way after it's been removed then sure they may face a contempt of court charge then, but fundamentally it really doesn't put any greater burden on them than they already suffer through existing issues.

Re:Definitely good, but there are two sides (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46988959)

How is one guaranteed that their information is really deleted, and not just that the DELETED flat is set to Y.

Re:Definitely good, but there are two sides (1)

Xest (935314) | about 4 months ago | (#46988993)

I don't think they are, but it achieves the goal for all intents and purposes.

Though the fact that it would be a breach of the law if they didn't actually delete is probably enough of a deterrent in most cases. One leak or whistleblower and they're on the hook for damages.

Re:Definitely good, but there are two sides (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46989379)

UM. How is "That means if Google has indexed search results and their index includes information on you they simply have to remove that from their index" not a huge deal? So, I can go comment on a news article and then demand google no longer list that article? Because it has my name on it?

You're either stupid or uncreative.

Re:Definitely good, but there are two sides (1)

Xest (935314) | about 4 months ago | (#46989495)

Your name by itself isn't classed as personally sensitive information.

Besides, if you post it then you're implicitly giving permission for them to hold that information so it's obviously not then held by them without your permission is it? So even if you extend your idea of posting some of your personal details along with your name in a comments section then that's still your own fault.

Really, it doesn't require much thought. You're either stupid or... no nevermind, you're just stupid.

Re:Definitely good, but there are two sides (4, Informative)

Raenex (947668) | about 4 months ago | (#46989473)

What it does, is gives you the right to go to a company, that is storing information on you, and ask that they remove it. Nothing more, nothing less. That means if Google has indexed search results and their index includes information on you they simply have to remove that from their index - they do not have to go to the sites they indexed and asked them to remove the information too or any such thing, it's up to you to contact each specific company and the company must oblige.

Oh, is that all? So the data is still there, except the most popular search engine on the planet can't list it. Wow, that's a relief. Here I thought there was censorship of public information going on, but clearly there isn't. (For the impaired, yes, this is sarcasm.)

From the article:

The case itself occurred after a Spanish man (Mario Costeja Gonzalez) complained that the detail of an auction notice for his former home, which was repossessed after he failed to pay his taxes, appeared in Google's search results.

The notice itself was made public on the third-party website (twice via a newspaper called La Vanguardia) and Mr Gonzalez wanted the source material edited and the Google result removed because the proceedings concerning him had been fully resolved for a number of years, thus he felt as though the reference to them was now "entirely irrelevant".

Mercifully the Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD) rejected the complaint against La Vanguardia, which correctly ruled that the information in question had been lawfully published by it. But the AEPD then ruled that Google should still delete the related references to the page, which Google perhaps understandably viewed as unfair because the information was already in the public domain, and so began the court battle until today's ECJ verdict.

Re:Definitely good, but there are two sides (1)

Xest (935314) | about 4 months ago | (#46989589)

I'm not entirely sure what you're being sarcastic about or what point you were actually trying to make with your quote?

Newspapers have long been deemed to be public record, and so of course it shouldn't be censored. Public record can comfortably sit behind the public interest defence. But Google is a business that makes money providing services based on public record, that does not in itself make it public record, and so it becomes difficult for it to make a case for public interest - it's tried to make this case and failed, hence the ruling.

See my comments elsewhere - this is the same thing that credit reference agencies have had to deal with for years, long before this law existed (because they're one of the few industries that had data protection exemptions giving them access to people's data without having to get permission first). If you have a bankruptcy filing against you then that sits in public record until the end of time, but credit reference agencies can't use this information past a certain period because whilst there is a clear public interest defence in maintaining public record, there is no such public interest defence in allowing corporations to profit off now out of date irrelevant mistakes from long ago.

Re:Definitely good, but there are two sides (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 4 months ago | (#46989679)

I think part of the problem is that some of us still remember the two German Killers who tried to get Wikipedia to remove the entries listing them and the crimes they committed as part of a "right to be forgotten." http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/13/us/13wiki.html?_r=0 [nytimes.com]

Thankfully, it looks like Wikipedia is still listing the names [wikipedia.org] . If this "right to be forgotten" is upheld, how long until it is used to erase past misdeeds from online sources? What is the limit to the power to erase bad things about you online? If I harass someone and that person makes a post about it, can I sue them to erase the post over my "right to be forgotten"? Does this extend to companies? Can a corporation sue to remove all mentions of an industrial accident because they settled in the courts over it and thus are demanding that it "be forgotten"?

Re:Definitely good, but there are two sides (1)

Xest (935314) | about 4 months ago | (#46989817)

They've done a decent job of writing the law so it essentially comes down to a question of weighing public interest against the right to privacy. In difficult cases this would have to be decided in court, but most of the time it's going to be clear cut. There's clearly no public interest in keeping some pictures of a drunken teenager doing something stupid up so that she can be bullied into suicide, but there is clear public interest in recording and reporting on the crimes of serial killers.

A lot of people are claiming this will be used for censorship, it will be used for the great and powerful, but that's really not the case - that sort of person is actually at a distinct disadvantage because once you're famous, then all your misdoings become public interest.

Corporations also have no protection whatsoever, because it's entirely aimed at personal data and that similar covers people slagging each other off on forums - if someone says something about you then it's not personal data (unless it explicitly is of course - i.e. unless you post their address or something).

I'm not directing this at you specifically, but the amount of misunderstanding about this law and case on Slashdot is astounding. Yet it's actually one of the more sanely written technology laws we've had in a long long time - it's far better than the EU's cookie law for example. I think it actually does a great job of fairly balancing privacy against freedom of information.

The problem is a lot of people are assuming none of this has been thought through but it's false. It's easy to ask "what if this", "what if that" but if you actually read the proposals and ruling you'll probably be pleasantly surprised to see that all your concerns have been pretty decently covered. The proposed laws went through a pretty hefty consultation and all of this was addressed when that happens. What we have now is legal direction and remaining proposals that take all this into account and reasonably deal with it.

Re:Definitely good, but there are two sides (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46988809)

Who owns data, and what does that ownership mean?

In the EU, personal data is owned by the person referenced.

The court is now ruling that if you own something, you have the right to destroy it or otherwise prevent its use. This is the core issue of Intellectual Property Rights as well and why things like bittorrent are evil in the practical sense.

To your point, inclusions of other persons (voluntarily released) information is a red herring as the problem is not with that data, but with the involuntary inclusion of some third person's data.

Bad cases make bad law (1, Insightful)

davecb (6526) | about 4 months ago | (#46988451)

Courts are based on both sides arguing their case: Google needs to gain standing and appeal.

Re:Bad cases make bad law (1)

dcw3 (649211) | about 4 months ago | (#46988485)

Appeal to who? According to this, the court making this decision is the highest in Europe:
http://www.usatoday.com/story/... [usatoday.com]

Re:Bad cases make bad law (1)

davecb (6526) | about 4 months ago | (#46988591)

The court, of course: they purportedly complained that Google hadn't made their case. That's why I mentioned "standing". Supreme courts of different jurisdictions have differing rules about rehearings, but almost all require an application to be considered, just because they are supreme.

Re:Bad cases make bad law (1)

davecb (6526) | about 4 months ago | (#46988681)

Followup: looking at the ruling, there's a contradiction between "processing" and "search", where Google has failed to argue that their result ranking is either fair or dictated by necessary. This may take an additional case, to distinguish when one can legitimately ask to be removed and when one can't. I'm guessing Google will argue that they would have had to to engage in at least malfeasance to qualify for removal of results (;-))

pure political bullshit (2, Insightful)

Connie_Lingus (317691) | about 4 months ago | (#46988453)

so by the wave of legislator's arms, all information about us online is simply going to disappear?

i call shenanigans.

i mean really...do these people surf the same web as i do?

Re:pure political bullshit (4, Informative)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | about 4 months ago | (#46988505)

You could try reading TFS, if not TFA.

They specifically point out that even if Site X has a legitimate reason to have that personal information online, it does not automatically mean that Service Y (in this case, Google), has a legitimate reason to process that data in the ways they do.

Site X will still be available. It might not be easy to find it, of course, but cue the "the internet routes around censorship" mantra.

Re:pure political bullshit (4, Interesting)

Connie_Lingus (317691) | about 4 months ago | (#46988593)

so legislators are going to start deciding what public information search companies are able to aggregate?

uhhh....no thanks...ill opt out of that reality.

Re:pure political bullshit (1)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | about 4 months ago | (#46988753)

Yes - and while it's terribly cliché, I need only point to child pornography materials to show that this is already happening, and generally opted into (by both the general populace, and by businesses themselves, voluntarily).

Re:pure political bullshit (1)

Connie_Lingus (317691) | about 4 months ago | (#46988791)

please tell me you are not equating child pornography to publicly available information....please???

Re:pure political bullshit (1)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | about 4 months ago | (#46988821)

Okay, bomb making materials, then. (various governments)

Or Nazi propaganda materials. (Germany)

Or anything that tends to tick people of a certain religion off (various governments)

Or anything that offends a certain king (various governments).

I'm sure we can find something along the scale of publicly available material (and yes, child pornography is also publicly available, even if not 'a matter of official public record') where we can both contemplate whether that material not being easily found through services is a good thing, or a bad thing.

Re:pure political bullshit (2)

Connie_Lingus (317691) | about 4 months ago | (#46988929)

its all just government censorship....don't you see that??

the promise of the internet has always been information wants to free.

man, slashdot is changing nowadays...i can't believe that i am even debating this point on this particular forum...wow.

Re:pure political bullshit (4, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | about 4 months ago | (#46989105)

Slashdot has always supported the idea that information wants to be free, but it's also supported the idea that privacy matters.

It's also true that not all information should be free, most people don't want their password, debit card pin, or private conversations to be "free".

I mean, what is your argument, that everything the NSA and GCHQ did is fine, and of course they should be able to follow your every conversation, because of course, information wants to be free? I mean why shouldn't GCHQ and the NSA hold all your information, information wants to be free, it wants them to know everything about us!

Should Slashdot remove Anonymous Coward and make everyone post with their real names, because we should all get to know who exactly they are, because information wants to be free? Maybe you should have to publicly post your address and telephone number and e-mail and workplace details and salary too. Are you willing to put your money where you mouth is and make a start?

Yes information wants to be free, except when we're talking about privacy, and privacy concerns should trump that.

Re:pure political bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46989119)

Because it seems misinformation also wants to be free....

Re:pure political bullshit (1)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | about 4 months ago | (#46989227)

its all just government censorship....don't you see that??

Of course I see that - the debate would be about whether that is always undesirable.

the promise of the internet has always been information wants to free.

To which I would suggest that yes, you always find it undesirable.

Unfortunately, that's not the reality we live in. Though there's always darknets.

Re:pure political bullshit (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 months ago | (#46988931)

I need only point to child pornography materials to show that this is already happening

And we need only point out that it's being incompetently ran, has tons of false positives (and therefore false negatives), and frequently leads to stupid scenarios like sex education [cnet.com] and other legitimate stuff being blocked while the stuff it's supposed to block still gets through.

These kinds of filters simply don't work at a technical level without blocking legitimate stuff.

Hell, at a company I used to work for their internet filter (Blue Coat or Blue Goat or something like that) routinely blocked things like yoga studios as varying degrees of totally stupid things. Because the people who run these things have terrible source data, don't check anything, and don't give a damn when they're wrong.

You would have to demonstrate that these things actually work 100% of the time to convince anybody that just because someone passes a law that the technology actually delivers as promised. Because, the reality is, the track records of these things is pretty lousy.

It gives the illusion of doing something, but it certainly isn't effective.

Re:pure political bullshit (1)

Xest (935314) | about 4 months ago | (#46989037)

I think when he referred to CP he wasn't talking about filter, but the fact that sites like Google already remove links to such sites from their indexes as soon as it's been pointed out to them.

And that does work 100% of the time. Because it's not hard to check an index is what someone is claiming it is and hit 'remove' on it once that confirmation has occured.

This is not the same thing as filtering, which I agree is a broken non-workable idea.

Re:pure political bullshit (1)

Sique (173459) | about 4 months ago | (#46989015)

It gets a little deeper into European privacy law. It is actually forbidden to compile personal information into a searchable database without the explicit permission of the person the data is about. Exceptions to this rule have to be specified by law. So yes, the information is in the public, and you are allowed to spread them, but you are not allowed to collect them into a database. If Google presents the information in a list of search results, this counts as including the information into a database, and that's not ok.

Re:pure political bullshit (0)

stenvar (2789879) | about 4 months ago | (#46989147)

They specifically point out that even if Site X has a legitimate reason to have that personal information online, it does not automatically mean that Service Y (in this case, Google), has a legitimate reason to process that data in the ways they do.

After the speech police, you get the thought police in Europe: you need to justify to police and judges even why you think about something; restricting what you are allowed to say isn't enough.

Site X will still be available. It might not be easy to find it, of course, but cue the "the internet routes around censorship" mantra.

The way this works is that there are jurisdictions who don't have such stupid laws and people put up servers there to ignore those laws. But the fact that people can escape a dystopia doesn't make the dystopia itself good.

Re:pure political bullshit (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 4 months ago | (#46988507)

By the same merit, some people want a similar sweep of the legislators arm to stop tracking on the internet, and as many of those people post here I'm pretty sure they surf the same web as we do.

INternet 2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46988569)

Will fix all this! :)

Re:pure political bullshit (2)

Xest (935314) | about 4 months ago | (#46988725)

"so by the wave of legislator's arms, all information about us online is simply going to disappear?"

No, but upon receipt of a formal request it's not unreasonable to expect that companies have control of the data they display on the internet and can hence delete it from their services. Because this is what it's actually about, not some fanciful idea of being able to declare in some unspecified place that all information about you on the internet should vanish, an idea that seems to have been magicked up in the minds of some Slashdotters but bears no resemblance to what this law actually says and does.

Honestly, if companies can make a profit off of harvesting and displaying personal details, often against the will of the person in question, then it's really not too much to ask that when the subject asks for it to be removed that they do so. If someone breaks into your house and steals your personal photos, financial records, and whatever else and posts it all online and Google harvests it up with it's automated systems and makes a bit of money from ad impressions for people that stumble across it I don't think it's really a lot to ask that you also have the right to tell them to delete it the fuck off their servers when you find it too.

There's only a spurious argument that they had any legal basis to harvest this data in the first place given that doing so is a breach of most nation's data protection laws, so it's even less to ask that they implement procedures to make themselves compliant with long established existing data protection law.

Which is really all this does. So no, these people don't use the same web you do. They use the web where they actually read TFA, understand the issues, know what's practical, fair, and possible, and know what they're on about.

Re:pure political bullshit (-1)

Connie_Lingus (317691) | about 4 months ago | (#46988831)

so then...what's next?

politicians are basically owned by multi-national corporations/big donors...of course they will demand that any information detrimental to their businesses to be off limits too, correct?

legislative control of what public information can and cannot be aggregated is simply censorship and a horrible idea my good man.

Re:pure political bullshit (3, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | about 4 months ago | (#46988911)

No, not correct. It's about personal data. This is already something that's well defined and well understood.

Your argument amounts to the idea that nothing should ever be private, which is an even more stupid idea.

Re:pure political bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46988793)

i mean really...do these people surf the same web as i do?

Yes, that is why they keep it to what is technically possible.

Thus, if, following a search made on the basis of a person’s name, the list of results displays a link to a web page which contains information on the person in question, that data subject may approach the operator directly and, where the operator does not grant his request, bring the matter before the competent authorities in order to obtain, under certain conditions, the removal of that link from the list of results.”

As you can see there is no requirement that Google has to remove any of Bings search results to the mentioned page prevent direct linking or anything like that. The suggestion is only that they may no longer use my name to to find me.
When you enter a specific keyword Google makes a lookup to find pages related to that keyword. With this law in place you can request that they remove the connection between you name and pages related to you. After that Google will only return pages related to other people with that name. The page can still be found through Google with any of the other keywords that would return the page.

cool (3, Funny)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#46988499)

Donald Sterling's going to love this.

Reason of this decission (2)

adokink (1094097) | about 4 months ago | (#46988509)

The origin of this trial is, among others, the story of a person that had debts, paid them finally, but google displayed results of the period he had still not paid them (forums, webpages, blacklists...). This guy even changed his name, because employers would not hire him after they had made a small search on google. He decided to confront the big google in court, and after many years, he has won. This is the main reason, the "right to be forgotten".

Re:Reason of this decission (0)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 4 months ago | (#46988615)

Maybe I'm just a weirdo, but I think the better path would have been to take up a case with the employers that won't hire him because he was once in debt. Seems like they are the real assholes.

Protected class (2)

tepples (727027) | about 4 months ago | (#46988787)

In practice, that would require legislation in each jurisdiction to recognize former debtors as a protected class [wikipedia.org] under equal employment opportunity law.

Re:Protected class (1)

fafaforza (248976) | about 4 months ago | (#46988903)

Hold on there, that would be getting to the root of the problem. That makes way too much sense.

Re:Protected class (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 4 months ago | (#46989133)

I don't see that as a problem, at least not in regards to employment, especially if the protection only extends to debts that are no longer part of one's credit report, which are not considered relevant to someone loaning you money, let alone paying you to perform a job. The legitimate relevance of a credit check towards employment shouldn't really extend past not being in crippling debt that will interfere with performing your job outside of a few careers for which money management is a legitimate skill.

Re:Protected class (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 months ago | (#46989409)

I don't know firsthand because I've never needed to go bankrupt, but if I remember correctly, a bankruptcy remains on an individual's credit report for seven years.

This last was for the disposal of waste paper... (1)

GoddersUK (1262110) | about 4 months ago | (#46988513)

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.

And Teh Google Asks, But we already paid you off (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46988535)

As it turns there are others at the trough. Pay 'em, Teh G, pay 'em NOW!

unacceptable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46988543)

We forgive, but we never forget.

Mario Costeja González (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46988561)

The article mentions Mario Costeja González, but doesn't mention a whole lot. Something about an auction and "repossessed" due to "taxes".

Being interested in government foreclosures against it's own citizens, and hoping we can better our laws (I'm an American in the U.S. actually), I'd like to read up on this. So, I'll search: Mario Costeja González repossessed taxes

No luck, too much about this story comes up. I'm actually mildly interested in the tax story. Does the EU not want us to learn about the situation? What about freedom of speech, or is that simply something the EU doesn't cherish?

Re:Mario Costeja González (3, Informative)

locofungus (179280) | about 4 months ago | (#46988703)

The EU does cherish freedom of speech. But it also cherishes the privacy of the individual.

The US - based on comments on this site - appears to have decided that freedom of speech trumps everything else. You can lie, cheat, shout fire in a crowded theatre, call in fake bomb scares, basically anything at all because it's all "freedom of speech."

The EU takes a much more nuanced view. Sometimes there's an overwhelming reason why freedom of speech should trump privacy. Sometimes privacy should trump freedom of speech, and sometimes it's a grey area that has to be litigated through the courts.

In this particular case, the court hasn't ruled that the information has to disappear - all they've ruled is that google (and presumably other search engines) need to give people the right to remove search results about themselves.

Most things are "allowed to be forgotten" in most circumstances. So, for example, most employers aren't allowed to ask "have you ever been made bankrupt?" although I think they can ask "are you an undischarged bankrupt". Google is allowing employers to sidestep the protective regulations that were built into bankruptcy law before the internet existed. The EU is now merely trying to reinstate them.

Re: Mario Costeja González (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46988877)

The EU cherishes one thing only: money. And specifically, the Almighty Euro to which everything must be sacrificed. Toil hard, Europeans, for the Heilige Euro! Your blood, sweet and tears under oligarchy-imposed austerity is for the ultimate victory the Europeischesweltanschauung over the inferior untermensch! HEIL EURO FOR THE GLORY OF GERMANIC EUROPE!

Re: Mario Costeja González (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46989039)

The EU cherishes one thing only: money. And specifically, the Almighty Euro to which everything must be sacrificed. Toil hard, Europeans, for the Heilige Euro! Your blood, sweet and tears under oligarchy-imposed austerity is for the ultimate victory the Europeischesweltanschauung over the inferior untermensch! HEIL EURO FOR THE GLORY OF GERMANIC EUROPE!

Everybody cherishes money... nothing to see here except an inept troll... they are a dime a dozen .... now please move on...

Corporations are people too.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46988607)

Sounds like a slippery slope to people and corporations being able to selectively remove negative (sorry, irrelevant) information about them.

Re:Corporations are people too.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46988803)

corporations have more rights than people.

Multuple cases of abuse by single people (2)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 4 months ago | (#46988731)

There are cases where a disgruntled X does nasty things - from posting nude photos of women to falsely claiming a man was arrested for molesting a child.

Not to mention numerous cases of old, bad information, such as bankruptcy, actual arrest records, etc.

Worst of all there are several companies who exist solely to blackmail individuals into paying to remove negative information. All totally legal in some jurisdictions.

This is a good law we need it.

P.S. Someone mentioned companies and/or other large organizations using it. They already get the same thing done by paying large amounts of money to lawyers to sue people for 'copyright' infringement over videos of them committing crimes.

Re:Multuple cases of abuse by single people (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 4 months ago | (#46989061)

There are already ways to deal with bad information, or people blackmaling over otherwise legal info.

Re:Multuple cases of abuse by single people (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 4 months ago | (#46989575)

They generally do NOT work if the person behind it is not an idiot. In particular, if your ex is a foreigner and returns to their home country there is absolutely nothing you can do to stop them. They routinely ignore court orders, for example. To fix this problem we need to able to go after google and select abusers. It won't completely solve the problem, but it will make it liveable.

Re:Multuple cases of abuse by single people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46989077)

There are cases where a disgruntled X does nasty things - from posting nude photos of women to falsely claiming a man was arrested for molesting a child.

Not to mention numerous cases of old, bad information, such as bankruptcy, actual arrest records, etc.

Worst of all there are several companies who exist solely to blackmail individuals into paying to remove negative information. All totally legal in some jurisdictions.

This is a good law we need it.

P.S. Someone mentioned companies and/or other large organizations using it. They already get the same thing done by paying large amounts of money to lawyers to sue people for 'copyright' infringement over videos of them committing crimes.

Well, if there is anybody who REALLY needs this law it's Sarah Palin.

Re:Multuple cases of abuse by single people (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 4 months ago | (#46989889)

Companies can't use the right to be forgotten. It only applies to individuals, and in the EU companies are not people.

Enforcement. (1)

fafaforza (248976) | about 4 months ago | (#46988913)

Wonder how this will be enforced when a page might consider a first and last name only, and there are many people with the same combination. Now Google will have to be the arbiter of whether a request is legitimate, and not being made by someone unconnected, but simply having the same name.

Re:Enforcement. (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 4 months ago | (#46988989)

When I read about this decision in the news, I immediately went to the Google and checked my full name (first, middle, last).

It's an unusual name.

And yet, there was someone else on the web with the same first, middle, last name as mine. Born in the same year as me, in fact....

Otherside of Right to be Forgotten (2)

HockeyPuck (141947) | about 4 months ago | (#46988961)

is the Right to be Tracked.

If I want to call up $company and tell them "delete everything you know about me from your index." This implies that without asking them, I've granted them the ability to track me.

This also puts quite a burden on me to call them up and say, "Hey, I just joined BowlingLeague.com as user StrikesAPlenty, please delete me from your index.

Also, how do you prove that a given user really is you? Your name probably isn't that unique. Which "Bob Smith" are you?

It's not about *forgetting*... (1)

mspring (126862) | about 4 months ago | (#46989111)

...it's about remembering to not serve out this piece of information.

It's My Property and I Want It Now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46989653)

Anything attached to you as a person should forever belong to you, regardless of where or when you make any such information available, publicly or privately. You also should not legally be able to sign-away your information in any permanent way. You should, at any time and for any reason, reserve the right to remove any information pertaining to you regardless of where it is stored anywhere in the world. I don't want to hear people whine, "It's too difficult," or, "It'll be too expensive." All I want to hear is, "What do we need to do to get it done." No if's, and's or but's.

Right to revise history (1)

Mike Buddha (10734) | about 4 months ago | (#46989753)

Hurray for Europe and it's newly inaugurated right to revise history! I'm sure the Hitlers, Mussolinis, and Francos are going to take great advantage of this ruling now that those situations have been resolved. No more embarrassment!

Just another type of take down request (1)

Steve1952 (651150) | about 4 months ago | (#46989811)

It seems to me as if Google and other search companies can simply treat this right of privacy as simply being another type of take down request. An alternative way of looking at this is that an individual has a sort of "copyright" privilege over certain aspects of their private history.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>