back to article US diplomat: If EU allows 'right to be forgotten' ... it might spark TRADE WAR

US diplomat warns of "trade war" if "right to be forgotten" proposals in Europe are followed through. The introduction of planned changes to EU data protection laws could herald a trans-Atlantic "trade war", a US diplomat has warned. John Rodgers, economic Officer in the US Foreign Service, said that "things could really …

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              1. Mycams
                Joke

                Re: Laughs..

                Ask nicely and I think the lady in charge could organise a haircut for him!

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Quick, about face!

                > Gets massively downvoted.

                > Pretends he was trolling all along.

                1. 404

                  Re: Quick, about face!

                  Negative. I actually watch my votes up/down carefully, you can say pretty much anything if you know the proper way to portray it. This took me a while to learn and I took great pride in doubling and tripling my up to downvote ratio.

                  Today? Really didn't just give a fsck. New Fed regulations are kicking my butt and I'm having a seriously bad month that's barely started.... so instead of using twitter for my political bitching, I took it out on El Reg.

                  For that I apologize.

                  Shake?

                  1. Eddy Ito

                    Re: Quick, about face!

                    "I took great pride in doubling and tripling my up to downvote ratio"

                    Pardon me for saying but, unless you're intending to go into politics, you need another hobby. If you like, I've got some nice beverage recipes to get you started. You can start with a pale ale and work up to coffee porter.

                    1. Swarthy
                      Happy

                      Re: A new hobby(@Eddy Ito, Was: Quick, about face!)

                      Ooh! I need a new hobby, and the coffee porter sounds like an excellent option. I'm not a fan of pale ales, but I would be very interested in your recipes.

          1. WatAWorld

            Sounds laughable

            The USA would have lost WWII, which it entered 3 years late purely to defend itself after being attacked at Pearl Harbor.

          2. Fibbles

            Re: 404

            You seem to be confusing the 'ability to defend itself' with having a large standing military that has to kick off wars on a regular basis in order to give itself something to do. After years of fighting poorly equipped middle-eastern states the US may have convinced itself, or at least its populace, that it can roll over any country it likes. However, much like the Russians, the EU is simply too big and too well armed a target for the US to take on alone.

            1. Eddy Ito

              Re: 404

              You're forgetting the stubborn streak that won't allow us to stop until we've reached a convincing draw or at least close enough to walk away, declare victory and leave a bloody mess behind. Fortunately it won't be anything for the pols to worry about since the school boards across the country will only buy educational materials that parrot the official line that we were fighting for democracy and triumphed over the oppressed oppressors of the downtrodden.

              1. Rattus Rattus

                @Eddy Ito

                How did that method work out in Vietnam?

          3. Stuporhero

            Re: Laughs..

            We'll see in Argentina won't we.

      1. 404
        Trollface

        Re: Laughs..

        Truth sucks, eh? Muaaaahahahahahahaha.

        ;)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Laughs..

        "Operate" ... doing *what* exactly?

        I.M.O. it would be a perfect outcome if Europe had to abandon the Great American Quest of Bombing Rubble into Smaller Rubble in countries nobody cares about and who doesn't even appreciate the liberal application of gratis lessons in applied Freedom and Democracy!

        Without the US we could go back to the old, "keep it in the family"-ways, and maybe bomb Turkey a bit or run tanks across Belgium as tradition demands, that lot got it coming for decades already.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Laughs..

        There is an old saying:

        When the Germans fired, the English ducked.

        When the English fired, the Germans ducked.

        But when the Americans fired, everybody ducked....

        American soldiers are some of the worst trained and most gung ho on the planet. You won't be missed.

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bwah bwah bwah ....

    The US *hates* it when other countries all gang up against it.

  2. robin penny
    Facepalm

    More EU beauracracy. Business costs up once again

    This sounds like a typical EU diktat, that increases beauracracy, puts up business costs. and makes Europe less competetive. Just what Europe needs right now! Shouldn't they be working at reducing beauracracy...

    I'm in favour of data protection but given the existing laws covering this area it beggars belief that they don't have other priorities at the moment. Very often these diktats don't deter the bad boys, but penalise those who may already be doing their reasonable best.

    P.S. I don't own a business myself.

    1. MrXavia
      Meh

      Re: More EU beauracracy. Business costs up once again

      I can see issues with this, what about backups? if you make multiple daily tape backups, how do you erase one person from those?

      How can you keep proper business records if you delete details of who your customers were? I am sure the HMRC will love turning up and you saying 'sorry we are missing 20% of our records as they were requested to be deleted by our customers'

      1. P. Lee
        Thumb Up

        Re: More EU beauracracy. Business costs up once again

        Tapes are cycled. The data will drop out eventually.

        HMRC doesn't need customer's personal details. Lots of companies don't keep customer records and may even outsource revenue collection (to a debt collector).

        I don't think anyone is talking about data required for ongoing customer interaction. We are talking, "delete all my data from facebook," and "I was an ann summers customer last year, but now I'm married and I'd like you to delete me from your system," sort of thing.

        This is perfectly reasonable - if you can't afford to manage data on people, you shouldn't be collecting it.

        1. Dazed and Confused
          Paris Hilton

          Re: More EU beauracracy. Business costs up once again

          > We are talking, "delete all my data from facebook,"

          So how's this going to work then?

          The easy bit is deleting all the stuff you posted directly. But what about responses other people have made to your postings. Do you claim ownership of those, should deleting your profile also delete other peoples efforts?

          Now here I've quoted part of you posting. If you were to decide to have your postings deleted from El'Reg what would happen to my posting? Or any subsequent response built on that. Should it all be deleted? Who would get to decide what got deleted and what didn't? Could it be done programmatically or would a team of lawyers be needed to decide? Who's going to pay for the afore mentioned bottom feeders.

          The easy way for a site to handle the request would be for them to simple delete the whole topic.

          How long till people started to use this as a form of censorship?

          A company could find a thread on some discussion site rightly slagging off the pile of shite they call a product. So they get some shill to post something in the response. Wait for it to get flamed and then have the shill demand the right to be forgotten. Since their posting is now intimately entwined in the whole slag fest they'd find it easy to just delete everything. Pufff no more criticism of a their crap product.

          Is this what you are asking for.

          As to your point about "last year I was a customer of Anne Summers this year I don't want to be"

          Sure, you should be allowed to crossed off their mailing list. But say you bought some product from them of an intimate nature and then say someone were to find that some chemical used in curing the plastic is actually carcinogenic. If the shop had to delete all records of your ever having existed, then they'd be unable to inform you of a product recall. And how far would you want this to go. Say the shop where to be sold off. One of the things they would likely want to include in any prospectus would the number of customers they've had in the last year. They then publish this prospectus. You now ask to be forgotten, do they need to go and hunt down each copy of their bumph and subtract one from the total? If they don't then you've not been completely forgotten have you. You still exist within a total.

          1. Chet Mannly

            Re: More EU beauracracy. Business costs up once again

            "Now here I've quoted part of you posting. If you were to decide to have your postings deleted from El'Reg what would happen to my posting?"

            Nothing - the comment doesn't identify anybody. Comments get removed/deleted all the time here - seriously no idea what you are making such a fuss about.

            "But say you bought some product from them of an intimate nature and then say someone were to find that some chemical used in curing the plastic is actually carcinogenic. If the shop had to delete all records of your ever having existed, then they'd be unable to inform you of a product recall."

            I've never been proactively contacted by a manufacturer or retailer about a recall - they have in-store advertising or public notices telling people to contact the manufacturer - I then supply my details if I want to participate in the recall.

            Besides - all they have to do is delete your name and personal details - tax laws in each country would assumedly dictate that de-personalised records of every transaction are still kept for a certain number of years.

            "You still exist within a total."

            But your privacy is protected as you are not personally identifiable, that's the whole point.

            1. Dazed and Confused

              Re: More EU beauracracy. Business costs up once again

              You might never have been directly contacted by a manufacture about a product recall, but I have.

              Besides - all they have to do is delete your name and personal details - tax laws in each country would assumedly dictate that de-personalised records of every transaction are still kept for a certain number of years.

              Actually the tax records may well demand that the company keep personalised records of the customer. If you had medical reasons for buying intimate personal equipment you may well be entitled to buy it as medical equipment and as such be entitled to have it zero rated for VAT. The shop would then need to keep your details to cover themselves for not having charged you VAT on the purchase. Now I'm not sure whether Anne Summers is prepared to work in this way, but I've dealt with furniture shops where we've been able to get zero some things zero rated because there was a significant medical reason for needing to buy the goods. You have to supply personal details. The shop needs to be able to pass these on to the tax authorities.

      2. WatAWorld

        Re: More EU beauracracy. Business costs up once again

        On a backup tape with 20 files, how do you erase a file in the middle?

        You copy tape to tape leaving the middle file out.

        The technical question is, when someone asks to be forgotten how much time does a company have to comply? How often must that batch clean-up process be run?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More EU beauracracy. Business costs up once again

      > P.S. I don't own a business myself.

      Most people who can't spell 'competitive' don't.

      1. JEDIDIAH
        Linux

        Re: More EU beauracracy. Business costs up once again

        >> P.S. I don't own a business myself.

        >

        > Most people who can't spell 'competitive' don't.

        ...like you would know. What do you know of business or business owners. You're just a prole from the peanut gallery.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More EU beauracracy. Business costs up once again

      You are an idiot

      Nuff said.

      Go back to writing for the sun or the daily fail please.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More EU beauracracy. Business costs up once again

      You do realise that living in a civilised society has costs, which is why Somalia doesn't have taxes and we do? Frankly, I'd rather live in a country that is less "competitive" but is nicer to live in. (I already do this to a certain extent by living in the South-west of the UK, where incomes are lower than in the South-east, but we have a much higher quality of life.)

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Without delay"

    Please don't make a rule that would force the companies to erase all data immediately. If my email gets hacked, I want to be able to recover my account after the hacker deleted everything.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Solution

    All EU subjects should immediately be swabbed, with their DNA profiles and known details archived for the benefit of the ages. Then inject them with DNA-enhancing chemicals (US patent 90210) so that their descendants may become more proper human beings in accordance with our lord Jesus Christ.

    Either that or finally admit that Ethel Warburton of Collet Close, Leeds, doesn't matter as far as the history of the human race is concerned, and if future historians won't give a shit about her unless she's found under a car park in Leicester, 500 years after some kind of big shit went on.

    Whatever.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Solution

      "in accordance with our lord Jesus Christ."

      Are you taking drugs?

      Immediately your views are invalid.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Solution

        Whooosh!

      2. WatAWorld

        Re: Solution

        It was sarcasm aimed at the tenancy of domineering Americans to use arguments based on some self-styled preacher's feeling of what god wants.

    2. MrZoolook
      Big Brother

      Re: Solution

      "THE" Ethel Warburton? For real!?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This above all else

    Might explain Cameron's desperation to renegotiate Britain's position in Europe.

    Anon, and wearing my tin foil hat.

  6. Mephistro
    WTF?

    "We have a right to privacy in our Constitution, but this does not mean a fundamental right to data protection,"

    That has the same logic as

    "We have a right to live in our Constitution, but this does not mean a fundamental right to breathe"

    Fuck this 'diplomat'/thug, and whoever is holding his leash!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A Letter From The EU

    Dear USA,

    Fuck off and mind your own business.

  8. JaitcH
    FAIL

    We have a right to privacy in our Constitution, but ...

    Obamarama and the US Congress already think the hallowed Constitution is just a piece of a*sewipe as the governments, Republican and Democrat alike, happily ignore, or twist, the meaning of this piece of paper.

    'Due process of law' - yet they simply kill even their own citizens without trial; 'writ of habeas corpus', released from imprisonment after such arrest - go tell that to Guantanamo residents; 'secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures' - Patriot Act.

    Call their bluff, why should an entity with fewer people dictate to one with more people?

  9. tkioz
    FAIL

    America threatening "trade war" over a law a democratically elected body puts in place... yeah... that sounds like a country that is into "freedom"... bloody hypocrites.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Freedom for their own people

      Right to extort everyone else.

    2. WatAWorld
      Pint

      To an American a democratic government is a government that follows the will of "the people".

      "The people" being Americans.

      Tony Blair and his Labour government were an excellent example of a democratic government following the will of the people.

      1. Dazed and Confused

        @WatAWorld

        Tony Blair and his Labour government were an excellent example of a democratic government following the will of the people.

        Definition: will of the people

        What Tony will's the people to do

  10. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Neologism proposal

    Next time some diplomat says something really daft we should call it "doing a John Rodgers" until he wishes he had the right to be forgotten.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Neologism proposal

      I actually like that idea, but I would like to observe that there is already a term "rodgering", which seems a pretty apt description of what this chap wants to do with the rights of EU citizens.

      If they're so fond of that their politicians can do that at home.

      No, wait, they already are..

  11. KirstarK

    I wonder if anyone in America read scifi or fantasy. They would know that any country that behaves as they do is the bad guys and will eventually fall.

  12. deadlockvictim Silver badge

    Hmmm

    U.S. Person» "We have a right to privacy in our Constitution, but this does not mean a fundamental right to data protection," Rodgers said at a conference in Berlin, according to a report by German publication Heise Online.

    Is that the same as saying the people in The Land of The Free™ have the right in their constitution to bear arms, but this does not mean a fundamental right to own weaponry, or have I misunderstood the Second Amendment?

    I bet that the English are just waiting for the Americans to give up the guns so that they can invade again, amn't I right, Mr. Cameron?

  13. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Coat

    "A most intesting game Professor"

    The only winning move is not to play.

    You can guess what DVD's in my pocket.

  14. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Interesting dichotomy ...

    HM Snoopers want tracking data stored for years by commercial organisations (ISPs), financial transaction records must be stored for years by companies, personel records often necessarily have historic content ... where does the 'right to forget' stop? Seems like it may end up as a 'right to be taken of a mailing list' which will mean the act gets through and the USA will still be our chums

    1. WatAWorld

      Re: Interesting dichotomy ...

      Yes, the right to be forgotten is a fight of the people against the snoopers that work for our own governments.

      The biggest threat to us is not some company using browsing habits to sell us chewing gum.

      The biggest threat to us is our own intelligence and law enforcement community shutting down political opinion by using emails and browsing habits to black mail elected and amateur politicians and commenters.

      1. JEDIDIAH
        Linux

        Re: Interesting dichotomy ...

        > The biggest threat to us is not some company using browsing habits to sell us chewing gum.

        No. That is the real threat. Who do you think the government uses to get it's information from? Most likely, it gets both tech and the actual information from some outside data aggregator that collects all of this cruft and slices and dices it for easy sale and consumption (to corps or government).

  15. Bent Outta Shape
    Joke

    If only he tweeted it...

    Go on, tweet "things could really explode" and see how long it is before you're extradited to the UK and prosecuted for a credible, menacing threat!

  16. FunkyEric
    Mushroom

    I wish

    That my ex-wife would forget me.........

  17. Electric Panda
    Joke

    I look forward to Europe being "liberated" some time soon. They'll bring "democracy" with them too :)

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