back to article Google CAN be told to delete sensitive data from its search results, rules top EU court

Google and other search engines can be held responsible for the type of personal data that appears on results pages it serves up, the European Union's Court of Justice ruled in a landmark case this morning. Its decision (PDF) is a rare example of the CoJ disagreeing with an earlier advocate general opinion from June last year …

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  1. alain williams Silver badge

    Barmy

    They are going after the wrong people. If the content is deleted on whatever web site then, after a few weeks, Google will remove it from its index.

    I suppose the court can twist Google's arm, whereas whatever web site might be outside its juristiction.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Barmy

      If I want to find, say, a criminal with a spent conviction, I could trawl the streets asking neighbours, or use a list of ex cons someone compiled. If the criminals data was protected by the DPA, he could get it removed from the list by requesting or taking action aginst the list compiler, but he couldn't stop me asking everybody in the city until I found him. Take this online, his data is out there in the Internet, but needs me to wander around, Google creates the list.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Re: Barmy

        replace criminal with government and your closer to the problem here.

      2. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Barmy

        Asking people means each of them has the choice what to tell you, it's not the same as the information being freely accessible.

      3. TopOnePercent

        Re: Barmy

        I realise I'll be downvoted all the way to Sydney for this, but....

        We could always do something more radical and remove the notion of spent convictions. Make the full criminal record declarable for life - better still, publish it and make it publicly searchable. That way law abiding people have no reason to feel that this change makes the punishment of crimes even softer than it already is.

        Its ridiculous that victims of violent crime can be punished for publicly recalling the names of their assailants just 3 short years after conviction.

        1. Psyx

          Re: Barmy

          The point of a conviction and sentence is to punish the person responsible for the crime. That punishment ends when they leave prison and parole, and should not (with the exception of information provided for the safety of others) continue to haunt them for the rest of their life. Indeed, hampering the career and social life of an ex-con is not going to help him on the road to reintegrating him into society and living a decent life. Quite the reverse.

          1. TopOnePercent

            Re: Barmy (@Psyx)

            That punishment ends when they leave prison and parole, and should not (with the exception of information provided for the safety of others) continue to haunt them for the rest of their life. Indeed, hampering the career and social life of an ex-con is not going to help him on the road to reintegrating him into society and living a decent life.

            Having their names and faces published in print media, which remains in searchable archives for all time, has always been part of the punishment of crime, since print media first became available.

            Having their details pop up on the internet is just a more convenient means of procuring the same information.

            If they can't do the time they shouldn't do the crime. After all, its really the criminal that chose to hamper the rest of their life when they chose to commit a crime. Their victims certainly didn't choose to have their lives hampered, but that is what happens regardless.

            1. h4rm0ny

              Re: Barmy (@Psyx)

              >>"Having their details pop up on the internet is just a more convenient means of procuring the same information."

              For "just a more convenient means", read "makes something trivial which was all but impractical previously".

              Good laws are there to prevent harm. If the environment changes so that something starts to be a lot more harmful than it was previously, then sometimes laws should be adjusted.

              1. TopOnePercent

                Re: Barmy (@Psyx)

                Good laws are there to prevent harm. If the environment changes so that something starts to be a lot more harmful than it was previously, then sometimes laws should be adjusted.

                Actually believing that would logically mean that anyone with permanent damage inflicted by a criminal should expect them to receive longer jail terms than ever before - we are, after all, living longer so the impact of the time served on the offender is lower than previously, while the time with unhealed wounds grows longer for the victims.

            2. YetAnotherLocksmith

              Re: Barmy (@Psyx)

              Er. Except they *have* done the time.

              Or are you really saying all crimes should be punishable by life shaming?

              But of course, you've *never* been done for something suspect by a dodgy copper, driven too fast, & you practise archery on your common land every week, right?

              1. TopOnePercent

                Re: Barmy (@Psyx)

                Or are you really saying all crimes should be punishable by life shaming?

                If they're ashamed of what they've done then they sholdn't have done it.

                But of course, you've *never* been done for something suspect by a dodgy copper, driven too fast, & you practise archery on your common land every week, right?

                Driving too fast isn't a criminal offence, its a civil offence. Both are violations of the law, but the severity of each is markedly different. Though, to answer honestly, yes I have driven over the speed limit, no I haven't been caught for it, and yes, were I to be caught I'd have no issue declaring such for life, mostly because I'm not ashamed of my actions.

                1. Steven Jones

                  Re: Barmy (@Psyx)

                  Driving too fast is most certainly a criminal offence. A criminal offense is (usually) when the state prosecutes somebody (or an organisation) for breaking the law. Exceptionally, there can be private prosecutions, when a private individual (or some types of organisation) takes on the role of the state as prosecutor. The penalties include such things as fines, community service, being bound over or custodial sentences.

                  In contrast, civil law is between private individuals or organisations to resolve issues such as contract law, nuisance, libel and so on. The penalty for losing such cases is often a financial award to the plaintiff or various sorts of court orders. If there's a fine involved, it is not a civil offence.

                  What you are probably confusing is whether an offence gets you a criminal record or not. Driving too fast doesn't (in general). However, it most certainly is not a civil offence.

                  The US does distinguish between (minor) misdemeanours and (major) felonies in criminal law (but neither are anything to do with civil law).

            3. Psyx

              Re: Barmy (@Psyx)

              "Having their names and faces published in print media, which remains in searchable archives for all time, has always been part of the punishment of crime, since print media first became available.

              Having their details pop up on the internet is just a more convenient means of procuring the same information."

              So, we've always done it this way, so we should carry on doing it.

              Even better; Now it should be even easier to do so?

              "If they can't do the time they shouldn't do the crime."

              /Facepalm. They've already done the time. You are defining their 'time' as 'the rest of their lives'. I don't believe the penalty for a fuck-up should be a few months in jail and then a social stigma and being barely employable for the rest of your life. Please explain how making someone barely employable and a social stigma for the rest of their lives keeps them clear of crime and makes them a useful member of society.

              "After all, its really the criminal that chose to hamper the rest of their life when they chose to commit a crime."

              Do you honestly think "I'm willing to fuck up my entire life for this!" and carefully think through the repercussions every time you break a minor law? Of course not. Plenty of people commit crimes when drunk, under peer pressure and in extreme emotional states where they are in no position to rationally consider their future prospects. And you want to give them a shit life hereafter because of it.

              "Their victims certainly didn't choose to have their lives hampered, but that is what happens regardless."

              In the cases of minor crime the victim is not hampered for life. You are talking about screwing up someone's chances of a decent job for potentially fifty years because of shop-lifting, a drunken swing, or whatever. If you effectively make every crime a life-sentence-of-shit-jobs, then where is the motivation to obey the laws after one's career and social life are already in tatters?

              I'm not debating the formal sentence and how it should be more/less/spent in hard labour/whatever, but simply the 'sentence' of having your entire life boned for crimes that potentially pale into insignificance in comparison. If you are/were a parent, how fair would you believe it to be if nobody ever wanted to hire your child again based on them doing something stupid in teenage years?

              1. TopOnePercent

                Re: Barmy (@Psyx)

                I don't believe the penalty for a fuck-up should be a few months in jail and then a social stigma and being barely employable for the rest of your life.

                Well, I don't believe the penalty for someone beating someone unconcious in the course of a wannabe gang robbery, while breaking several of their bones, should be a suspended sentence and no criminal record after 12 months, which is currently the case. No, really, go and check on the penalty handed out for Section 20 GBH - 3 year start, 1/3rd off for pleading guilty, another 1/3rd off for a first serious offence, and the remaining 1/3rd will be suspended. That, is not justice. It is not rehabilitating anyone. Its just a joke.

                You are talking about screwing up someone's chances of a decent job for potentially fifty years

                No, I'm not doing anything. The criminal is screwing up their own life. No tears.

                In the cases of minor crime the victim is not hampered for life.

                And what about serious crime? Say, where 50 years after an assault the victim remains in pain, or crippled, or otherwise physically or mentally damaged? Still think that a slap on the wrist and a one year holiday on benefits before all trace of your offence is erased is sufficient?

                If you effectively make every crime a life-sentence-of-shit-jobs, then where is the motivation to obey the laws after one's career and social life are already in tatters?

                Perhaps if the rehabilitation you speak of was actually effective then more employers would disregard minor offences? That they don't speaks volumes about how rehabilitated most offenders actually are.

                1. NumptyScrub

                  Re: Barmy (@Psyx)

                  quote: "Well, I don't believe the penalty for someone beating someone unconcious in the course of a wannabe gang robbery, while breaking several of their bones, should be a suspended sentence and no criminal record after 12 months, which is currently the case. No, really, go and check on the penalty handed out for Section 20 GBH - 3 year start, 1/3rd off for pleading guilty, another 1/3rd off for a first serious offence, and the remaining 1/3rd will be suspended. That, is not justice. It is not rehabilitating anyone. Its just a joke."

                  I would suggest either starting or joining a lobby group whose aim is to get the sentencing for violent crime increased then. Just be aware that not everyone in the country may agree with you, and that government officials may want some rather large backhanders prior to actually doing anything regarding getting the statutes changed. Apparently that's how politics works these days.

                2. Psyx

                  Re: Barmy (@Psyx)

                  "Well, I don't believe the penalty for someone beating someone unconcious in the course of a wannabe gang robbery, while breaking several of their bones, should be a suspended sentence and no criminal record after 12 months, which is currently the case."

                  Nor do I. But we were discussing eggs, not elephants. As I stated rather clearly: What sentences the Court formally hands down are a very different matter. That is not the subject of discussion and you are confusing the two.

                  Let's put it another way: Say your cited violent criminal receives a sentence of 300 lashes, permanent maiming on an eye-for-eye basis and five years hard labour, plus punitive damages of a million quid. He does that. Then he is released. And now he STILL has the sentence of no career. Still fair?

                  "Still think that a slap on the wrist and a one year holiday on benefits before all trace of your offence is erased is sufficient?"

                  Can you please point me to where I said that was an acceptable sentence? Stop making crap up and putting it in other people's mouths to justify your opinion. Don't for a minute be so ignorant as to assume that I think sentencing should be an easy ride. If you don't have a line of reasonable debate, don't try to make up a laughable line of reasoning for other people and claim that it belongs to them.

                  "The criminal is screwing up their own life. No tears."

                  As I said before: I suspect that you would feel differently if it was your own kin - or even yourself - who had made the error. Instead of blankly picturing 'a criminal scumbag' who you have no natural empathy towards, consider the person to be someone you know and love with a potentially great career in front of them (y'know: curing cancer, finding dark matter behind the sofa, or otherwise making major positive change), who got drunk on a Saturday night and punched Nigel Farrage. It's not so fun to then image their life in tatters, long after they served their sentence and were punished by society.

                  You've yet to let me know how marginalising and making near unemployable a criminal helps them be rehabilitated and steers them clear of a life of crime.

                  Making minor criminals and thieves feel that they are part of society again and that they have still got hope goes a long way towards not giving them a reason to do it again. Take away most of what someone has and they will try to earn it back. Take away everything and they have nothing to lose and nothing but contempt for what you have.

                  "Perhaps if the rehabilitation you speak of was actually effective then more employers would disregard minor offences? That they don't speaks volumes about how rehabilitated most offenders actually are."

                  That sentence speaks volumes of your attitude. The rehabilitation that I speak of barely exists, because we marginalise and often prevent the career actualisation of ex-criminals. Maybe if they could get a job anywhere other than Lidl and felt that society held them in regard they wouldn't feel they had little to lose by committing further offences.

                  1. TopOnePercent

                    Re: Barmy (@Psyx)

                    Let's put it another way: Say your cited violent criminal receives a sentence of 300 lashes, permanent maiming on an eye-for-eye basis and five years hard labour, plus punitive damages of a million quid. He does that. Then he is released. And now he STILL has the sentence of no career. Still fair?

                    Yes, of course its fair. The crime cannot be undone so there is no pressing reason to undo the record of it. The point of a record is, well, that its a record.

                    As I said before: I suspect that you would feel differently if it was your own kin - or even yourself - who had made the error.

                    Yes, and I suspect you'd feel very differently were it you or your daughter that were the victim.

                    You've yet to let me know how marginalising and making near unemployable a criminal helps them be rehabilitated and steers them clear of a life of crime.

                    You're mistakenly assuming that I care about the criminals rehabilitation and employment prospects. Rest assured, I don't.

                    Worst case - they can't find anyone willing to employ them. That will serve as a very strong warning to the next generation of criminals, a deterrant even.

                    If you take a sense of justice away from the victims of crime, they will have no faith in the criminal justice system, and will simply seek justice elsewhere. That justice may well fall within the bounds of the law, but realistically it will often degenerate into simple revenge.

                    Lasting consequences for the criminal are part of the punishment for the crime. It has always been such (pre 2012 anyway). I've employed people with criminal records before (non-violent and not involving dishonesty) and they've been great as employees, however, declaring their record was as much a part of their rehab as it was their tariff.

                    The rehabilitation that I speak of barely exists, because we marginalise and often prevent the career actualisation of ex-criminals.

                    I view this as a good thing. My whole career goes away upon my first conviction. Guess what? No convictions. Its amazing how effective punishment, and serious consequences are for prevention of crime.

                    Let's say we change the law and abolish declaration of criminal records upon completion of sentence. I'd now be free to go assault someone, plead guilty, and walk out of court. Sure, I'd lose my job, but would then be free to apply for another elsewhere without declaration of my crime. My only punishment would be a line in a file that says if I get caught doing something else within a year I go to jail, and I'd have lost the job I held upon conviction. That's great for me - fantastic even - but my victim would be very unlikely to consider that justice. It may well take them years to heal and they may well never regain full use of whatever I broke.

                    1. dogged
                      Stop

                      @TopOnePercent

                      You're either the best troll I've seen in weeks or you're a fucking psycho and you should be locked up.

                      EDIT - or you haven't got pubes yet. The young are sadly inclined to extremes. Some go for soppy veganism, you've gone for fascism.

                      1. TopOnePercent
                        FAIL

                        Re: @dogging

                        You're either the best troll I've seen in weeks or you're a fucking psycho and you should be locked up.

                        *Yawn* playing the man not the ball. The last refuge of a guardian reading bleeding heart as their emotive nonsensical edifice crumbles before their eyes.

                        We don't lock people up anymore, it wasn't "right on" enough.

                        EDIT - or you haven't got pubes yet. The young are sadly inclined to extremes. Some go for soppy veganism, you've gone for fascism.

                        And you appear to have gone for rampant idealism, also a trait of the young. When you're a little older and you've experienced a little more of life, your views will change.

                        1. Psyx

                          Re: @dogging

                          "And you appear to have gone for rampant idealism, also a trait of the young. When you're a little older and you've experienced a little more of life, your views will change."

                          I really hope he doesn't grow old to be the kind of person who believes that a criminal's sentence should be endless, like you.

                          1. TopOnePercent

                            Re: @psyx

                            I really hope he doesn't grow old to be the kind of person who believes that a criminal's sentence should be endless, like you.

                            The sentence isn't endless, but the record of it should be. You've been where you've been and you've done what you've done. Living with it is part of the consequences of your actions.

                      2. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

                        Re: @TopOnePercent

                        Lots of posts have been trimmed out of this thread and one of you has earned a trip to the pre-moderation naughty step for a week.

                        Unfounded personal attacks have no place on El Reg forums.

                        Also, as a hint: if you're in the middle of a flame war and are losing, don't resort to the "report post" link - especially if you're guilty of the exact same level of personal abuse.

                        1. TopOnePercent

                          Re: @TopOnePercent

                          Gaz,

                          One of my posts was pulled in addition to the others, but the post quoting it has remained. I reported that now hoping there was a means to comment that it might be best to remove that also if the content was found objectionable?

                          I'm happy for it to remain as its certainly not abuse, but "report abuse" seems to only "contact the mods" option available.

                          1. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

                            Re: Re: @TopOnePercent

                            Wasn't actually your report I had in mind... Either way I've pulled the one (I think) you were referring to.

                            1. dogged

                              Re: @TopOnePercent

                              I think it's a little beyond the pale to inform a fellow commentard that his position in favour of rehabilitation over punishment is due to attempting to hide a criminal past.

                              I have no record, for the record.

                              Further a trip to the naughty step for identifying such libel as libel is poor moderation at best and laziness or partisan at worst. I note that broad insults are "dogging" are absolutely fine, though.

                              Good for you, Gaz. Good for you. What a champ you are.

                              1. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

                                Re: Re: @TopOnePercent

                                I also deleted the dogging comment at the same time as yours, not that that seems to have stopped you from hurling accusations of libel and partisan moderation around.

                                Just for that, have an extra week on the naughty step.

                                For clarity, your original trip to pre-moderation was because even by Reg forums standards you seem to be super abusive. The C-word is never acceptable here. Neither is suggesting other commentards should be "[stripped] naked, greased and left with a horny gay Hitler" for downvoting you, as amusing as the image is.

                                Take the hint.

                    2. Psyx

                      Re: Barmy (@Psyx)

                      "Yes, of course its fair."

                      No, it's not. You have a basic misunderstanding of the concept of justice and fair punishment. And criminal behaviour. Hell... human behaviour, because you seem under the impression that one stupid, minor mistake should ruin someone's life and that any rational human would thus never make that mistake and deserves the full consequences to haunt them forever should they err.

                      If the penalty for every crime is 'shit life', then all crimes are the same and there is no criminal differentiation between them. If I'm mugging someone, I might as well murder them, because then I'm less likely to be caught and sentences to 'shit life' for mugging. It doesn't work, as evidenced by America having a proportionally greater number of people in jail than Stalin ever did.

                      "Yes, and I suspect you'd feel very differently were it you or your daughter that were the victim."

                      Having been on the receiving end of crime (because I don't live in an ivory tower), I'd rather see the perpetrator punished severely enough that he won't be tempted to do so again, and then brought back into society in a position where he feels there are options other than offending again *coupled with* not wanting to face the X years of punishment that he suffered. You do your time as society judges it and then you get a pretty fresh start, with the clear exception of cases of impact to public safety.

                      "If you take a sense of justice away from the victims of crime, they will have no faith in the criminal justice system, and will simply seek justice elsewhere. That justice may well fall within the bounds of the law, but realistically it will often degenerate into simple revenge."

                      Citation required on the victims 'often' resorting to revenge. As a percentage would be good.

                      "Let's say we change the law and abolish declaration of criminal records upon completion of sentence..."

                      Nice jump to criminal records for minor offences being available on Google for anyone to look at to making a confidential statement to an employer regarding a serious offence. Tar them with the same brush and I'm sure we won't notice that they're completely different things. Nobody suggested doing away with criminal records. Reductio ad absurdum.

                      "You're mistakenly assuming that I care about the criminals rehabilitation and employment prospects. Rest assured, I don't."

                      Then it's a good thing that you have zero influence in it, because the world would be a less pleasant place if you did.

                      1. TopOnePercent

                        Re: Barmy (@Psyx)

                        Nobody suggested doing away with criminal records

                        Due to the 2012 act, the internet is the only place criminal records exist once a laughably small amount of time has passed. That applies equally to serious offences as it does to trivial ones. The ruling in its current form would remove access to that information.

                        Its censorship, plain and simple.

                        Some damage can't be repaired, and until victims wounds can be erased as though they didn't happen, there's no pressing need to remove the record of the criminals inflicting them.

                        The way the law now stands, if you divorce your wife the record of that will be public forever. But if you beat her unconscious, you get a clean start in a couple of years. If you beat her to death you'll have to wait 7 years to erase your past.

                      2. Squander Two

                        Re: Barmy (@Psyx)

                        > you seem under the impression that one stupid, minor mistake should ruin someone's life

                        Where did this bizarre idea come from that most crimes are just little mistakes? They're not. Criminals tend to do things deliberately. Go spend a day in a court's public gallery. You won't see a parade of convictions of people who made slight errors -- except, of course, the error of getting caught.

                        Can you give us an example of one of these extremely prevalent crimes that is actually just a stupid minor mistake as opposed to a deliberate criminal act? You keep mentioning it as if it's plainly obvious that that's what most crimes really are. I don't think it is that obvious, and I don't think that's a reasonable response to someone who is clearly and explicitly talking about GBH.

                        1. TopOnePercent

                          Re: Barmy (@SquanderTwo)

                          Where did this bizarre idea come from that most crimes are just little mistakes? They're not. Criminals tend to do things deliberately.

                          I suspect that many or at least some of those proposing the idea may have "spent" convictions themselves or friends or relatives that do. I would expect these may be for one off incidents and may also be at the minor end of the spectrum. Most people vote along self interest lines...

                          Can you give us an example of one of these extremely prevalent crimes that is actually just a stupid minor mistake as opposed to a deliberate criminal act? You keep mentioning it as if it's plainly obvious that that's what most crimes really are. I don't think it is that obvious, and I don't think that's a reasonable response to someone who is clearly and explicitly talking about GBH.

                          I was sort of hoping that someone would pick up on that point sooner or later.

                          In my experience of violent crime its rarely a one off (my experience is sadly more extensive than I'd like). None of the victims of violent crime I know have both healed properly, and been able to put their assault behind them & consider justice done. I haven't, largely due to a profound sense of injustice stemming from the behaviour of the criminal justice system.

                          I'm not a violent man, but I won't be anyones victim again because the law won't be there to punish the offenders.

                          The only punishment any of mine ever got was having to declare their records for a few years, and the internet never forgetting their convictions, making them trip failsafes at larger companies who routinely run background checks on prospective employees. The law change in question effectively ends their punishment, and that's not enough given the level of injury I live with every day.

                          1. NumptyScrub

                            Re: Barmy (@SquanderTwo)

                            quote: "I suspect that many or at least some of those proposing the idea may have "spent" convictions themselves or friends or relatives that do. I would expect these may be for one off incidents and may also be at the minor end of the spectrum. Most people vote along self interest lines..."

                            Whereas you have been, and know people who have been, victims of a crime, who from the sound of it wished the perpetrator had been given capital punishment even though we no longer do that here (it is barbaric). As you say, most people vote along self-interest lines.

                            quote: "Can you give us an example of one of these extremely prevalent crimes that is actually just a stupid minor mistake as opposed to a deliberate criminal act? You keep mentioning it as if it's plainly obvious that that's what most crimes really are. I don't think it is that obvious, and I don't think that's a reasonable response to someone who is clearly and explicitly talking about GBH.

                            I was sort of hoping that someone would pick up on that point sooner or later."

                            I have been the victim of violent crime, just like I have been the victim of burglary, and the victim of bad driving; as a result my motorcycle was written off and I sustained ABH including a broken wrist and massive blunt force trauma over most of my body.

                            Had I not survived the accident, the other motorist would have been guilty of vehicular manslaughter, for pulling out of a side road without properly checking for traffic. Is pulling out of a side road a deliberate criminal act? Of course not, but it is possible for it to result in the death of another human being; in my case it resulted in severe bruising across my entire body as well as broken bones, similar to the result of a severe beating from several street thugs acting in concert.

                            I cannot and will not stand for that idiot driver being hounded until eternity for a misjudgement, even though I received extensive injuries because of it. Hopefully he is no longer an idiot driver; I have learnt many of my lessons the hard way, and those lessons are the ones that tend to stick. That it the essence of rehabilitiation; that someone who acted "wrongly" for whatever reason has the chance to see why it was wrong, and correct that behaviour for the future.

                            How about another example of non-deliberate but still criminal behaviour: Trolling people on the internet is now a criminal offence with a custodial sentence.

                            Is airing an unpopular view that some might consider offensive a deliberate criminal act? Rocky ground, I know, given the previous content of this debate ^^;

                            1. Anonymous Coward
                              Anonymous Coward

                              Re: Barmy (@SquanderTwo)

                              So perhaps, given your opposing standpoints and examples, there is a middle ground where those guilty of violent assault do not have their convictions deleted whereas those who may have caused vehicular manslaughter through an error of judgement do - it clearly doesn't have to be blanket all or nothing even if that is what is being proposed here. In fact this could be handled perhaps by the trial judge deciding whether or not the case is applicable for deletion or not at sentencing given they will have presided over the trial and heard all the facts as well as having had access to criminal history that the court may not necessarily hear. There are clearly those serious serial offenders that warrant the extra punishment (serial implying they really couldn't give a shit about rehab) and those for which it would be an unwarranted burden.

                3. Irony Deficient Silver badge

                  Re: habilitation

                  TopOnePercent,

                  Perhaps if the rehabilitation you speak of was actually effective then more employers would disregard minor offences? That they don’t speaks volumes about how rehabilitated most offenders actually are.

                  perhaps most of our prison-industrial complexes aren’t doing rehabilitation properly? One could learn from places that have policies which reduce recidivism, e.g. Bastøy in the Oslofjord.

            4. Anonymous Coward
              FAIL

              Re: Barmy (@Psyx)

              If they can't do the time they shouldn't do the crime...

              Just remember, Ghandi, King and Mandella were all convicted criminals.

              1. Psyx
                Joke

                Re: Barmy (@Psyx)

                "Just remember, Ghandi, King and Mandella were all convicted criminals."

                Yeah, and look at the trouble they caused!

              2. TopOnePercent

                Re: Barmy @LostAllFaith)

                Just remember, Ghandi, King and Mandella were all convicted criminals.

                And yet despite their records not being expunged, hidden, or sealed, they overcame the adversity of their crimes to achieve something with their lives.

            5. Down not across Silver badge

              Re: Barmy (@Psyx)

              If they can't do the time they shouldn't do the crime. After all, its really the criminal that chose to hamper the rest of their life when they chose to commit a crime. Their victims certainly didn't choose to have their lives hampered, but that is what happens regardless.

              What? Like filling their bin bit too full so the lid doesn't close. Yeah I bet the victims are really hampered.

            6. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Barmy (@Psyx)

              "Having their details pop up on the internet is just a more convenient means of procuring the same information."

              There is a difference, albeit perhaps a somewhat subtle one.

              The issue is the *processing* of data. The ECJ have ruled that, by indexing these web pages, Google are processing sensitive personal data.

              A newspaper archive may *contain* sensitive personal data, but it is very unlikely that a court could be persuaded that any *processing* of that data is taking place. Of course, once YOU access the archive and the sensitive personal data it contains, YOU might be deemed to be processing it (depending on the action that you take) and could fall foul of the law.

        2. JimmyPage
          Thumb Down

          @TopOnePercent

          First of, in the UK, under the CRB (yes I know it's been replaced) legislation, a lot of offences are effectively lifelong anyway. So we're already in a world where the concept of spent convictions is hazy.

          The real problem is what is the purpose of the criminal justice system ? If it's just to punish, and protect. Fine. However, I subscribe to the rather quaint notion that it's also to rehabilitate. That is to turn an offender into an upright citizen. If you foster a system where a conviction for (say) graffiti effectively marks you as a criminal for the rest of your life, and you are unable to ever get a job, then where do you think society will go ? If 50% of the population has a criminal record for something, sometime, then you devalue the concept of a criminal record. Much as the concept of speeding has been devalued. So many people have at least 3 points on their licenses, most insurers ignore it. It's meaningless. It's the same thing with the 3,000+ criminal acts the last Labour regime bought in.

          It's axiomatic, of course that these pettifogging convictions will be no bar to the rich and powerful.

          The idea of "spent" convictions is that they allow a person a chance to go straight. 10 years, no trouble, they are considered rehabilitated.

          1. TopOnePercent

            Re: @JimmyPage

            First of, in the UK, under the CRB (yes I know it's been replaced) legislation, a lot of offences are effectively lifelong anyway.

            Only, they're not. The vast majority of offences, indeed pretty well anything that isn't sex or firearms related is already not declarable 3 years after conviction. Only if you're sentenced to more than 3 years in jail does the extended declaration apply - and it would have to be an exceptionally serious crime to actually attract a > 3 year sentence.

            The real problem is what is the purpose of the criminal justice system ? If it's just to punish, and protect. Fine. However, I subscribe to the rather quaint notion that it's also to rehabilitate.

            The primary purpose of the CJS is punishment. It has to be so, as it can only work provided the victims are generally satisfied that the offender is punished such that they don't need to "send the boys round" to top up any light sentencing. Rehabilitation does not require absolution, nor does it require the sealing of criminal records.

            The idea of "spent" convictions is that they allow a person a chance to go straight. 10 years, no trouble, they are considered rehabilitated.

            10 years I have less of a problem with, but the fact is that its only 3 years for the vast majority of crimes.

            When we reach a stage, and I personally believe we're not as far from it I'd like, that victims of crime feel that the legal system has not punished their offender sufficiently, they will take it upon themselves to do so, by both legal means and otherwise.

            Victims of violent crime often have lifelong physical & psychological damage that they have no opportunity to escape or ameliorate. I see no reason for their assailants to be swanning about scott free after little to no jail time, without even so much as the minor inconvenience of decent law abiding people not often wanting to employ violent criminals.

            1. dogged

              Re: @JimmyPage

              > The primary purpose of the CJS is punishment.

              I am glad I do not live in your little world.

              Here in reality, the purpose of the CJS is to prevent and discourage crime by removing offenders from the population and rehabilitating them so that they do not offend again.

              This is not a vengeance-based society, much as the Daily Hatemail and most politician scum would like it to be.

              1. TopOnePercent

                Re: @dogged

                the purpose of the CJS is to prevent and discourage crime by removing offenders from the population and rehabilitating them so that they do not offend again.

                For a while, I actually though you were joking, then I realised you're serious. The CJS doesn't rehabilitate anyone - spend a day in court and you'll be very very lucky to find a single case where the defendant has no previous convictions.

                This is not a vengeance-based society

                Thankfully for all of us, you're right. For now. However, I seriously doubt it will remain such with the embarrasingly light punishments handed out by courts week in week out. The temptation to handle matters yourself in future is very tempting for victims of crime that have watched their offender walk out of court laughing.

            2. NumptyScrub
              Trollface

              Re: @JimmyPage

              quote: "It has to be so, as it can only work provided the victims are generally satisfied that the offender is punished such that they don't need to "send the boys round" to top up any light sentencing.

              ...

              When we reach a stage, and I personally believe we're not as far from it I'd like, that victims of crime feel that the legal system has not punished their offender sufficiently, they will take it upon themselves to do so, by both legal means and otherwise."

              "Sending the boys round" does of course make them criminals as well. Not just "the boys" who are committing an act of criminal violence, but the person (original victim?) who commissions the act of criminal violence is also guilty.

              I believe the usual term employed is "vicious cycle", in this case more literally than figuratively.

              Whilst "most people" may feel that violence against a person who has wronged them is fine, that just makes "most people" potential criminals. Whose criminal convictions would remain unspent, under these proposals, and who would get told (once they lose their job and suddenly find they are ostracised from society) that if they couldn't do the time, they shouldn't have done the crime.

              That's how it is supposed to work, right? :)

              1. TopOnePercent

                Re: @NumptyScrub

                Whilst "most people" may feel that violence against a person who has wronged them is fine, that just makes "most people" potential criminals. Whose criminal convictions would remain unspent, under these proposals, and who would get told (once they lose their job and suddenly find they are ostracised from society) that if they couldn't do the time, they shouldn't have done the crime.

                That's how it is supposed to work, right? :)

                Yes.

                Were the offences declared publicly for life, then the need to send the boys round would be reduced and the "vicious cycle" you mentioned would stop before it started.

                Most/many countries have a system of life long declaration of offences, and the much vaunted "rehabilitation of offenders" seems to work no better for us than it does them.

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @JimmyPage

              I was assaulted 30 years ago, nearly got blinded. I did manage to bang the assailants head off the corner of a wall- he stopped and played no further part in the attack.

              He got 240 hours community service.

              But every day I vividly relive the fight. I wish I had not stopped my counter attack and that i really wish i fucked him up so bad that he would have to shit through a tube for the rest of his life If I'm in the same situation again I kmow what i will do.

        3. big_D Silver badge

          Re: Barmy

          @TopOnePercent

          And the credit agency that accidentally exposes your credit history and Google snaffles it up and puts it in a results list?

      4. h3

        Re: Barmy

        I don't think you understand the principle of "spent". The point is supposed to be once it is spent its over with. Otherwise all that would happen is more crime. (And more cost to keep people in prison) and the career criminals would just change their names. (They probably do anyway).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Barmy

      What's most interesting is that the ruling violates US Law.

      1. Steven Jones

        Re: Barmy

        It would only violate US law if the filtering extended to those accessing Google from US territory, which, almost certainly, it will not. Indeed if Google were to do such a thing, they'd be in trouble.

        Of course that makes it simple to bypass the filtering - just use a proxy service based in the US. I rather suspect any European journalist will use this technique if filtering becomes at all common.

      2. big_D Silver badge

        Re: Barmy

        @AC

        And? The US doesn't seem to have any qualms about issuing rulings that violate laws in other countries either...

      3. Psyx

        Re: Barmy

        What's most interesting is that the ruling violates US Law.

        Some countries have different laws than America.

        For example, over here in primitive-ville, if I was to tie a convicted murderer to a chair and put volts into his face until he died, I'd be imprisoned rather than employed by the State.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Barmy

        "What's most interesting is that the ruling violates US Law."

        Howso? One presumes that you are referring to the prohibition against laws abridging the freedom of speech as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution? Which institution to whom the US Constitution applies do you consider has passed such a law?

    3. toadwarrior

      Re: Barmy

      That's not completely true. It has to apply to google as much as anyone else.

      Google takes a copy of my data for their cache and to be honest they hold onto it for too long. They certainly don't come around the next day and see a page is removed then just update their cache.

    4. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Barmy

      Yes, but... Google are also in breach of the rules. If the link includes PII, then they have to get written consent before they can publish it in their results.

    5. DropBear
      FAIL

      Re: Barmy

      Oh, I get it now - so if I cheat the living daylights out of my wife, she finds out, but ultimately decides to not file for divorce after all, I have the right to demand that she better behave towards me in a manner indistinguishable from previous routine in all possible aspects, or else she'll be hearing from my attorney...? Is that it...?

    6. Michael Habel

      Re: Barmy

      They are going after the wrong people. If the content is deleted on whatever web site then, after a few weeks, Google will remove it from its index.

      I suppose the court can twist Google's arm, whereas whatever web site might be outside its juristiction.

      What about Google's Way-back Machine (a.k.a Google Cache?)

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Barmy

      What is barmy is that the record industry have long litigated themselves the right to get search results pointing at download links removed from google, but individuals whose privacy might be being invaded have until this ruling had no such right.

  2. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Reorganize?

    It seems to me that there's a simple workaround for this since in specifying that the method used by Google is subject to EU legislation, they are opening the door to data indexing via other means.

    Not that I give a damn - search engines used to be pretty good even a couple of years ago but these days they swamped by their own success to the point that many searches turn up completely crap results.

  3. phil dude
    Linux

    censorship...

    It seems like censorship from where I am sitting...! I mean, it is not as if Google finds "everything" anyway... I feel as if Google is already highly massaged. You know the feeling, you know something exists and it is still hard to find....?

    If it is on a webserver, there is a non-zero probability it will end up in a search engine....

    P.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But surely

    If Google can find it at all the data must already be effectively in the public domain. Googles engine is not hacking into people's databases after all.

    People have a right not to have their data made publicly accessible, but attempting to un-publish data seems arbitrary and is likley to be impossible to comply with.

    If my data is available on multiple site's how would Google know they are all "me" and not just someone with the same name.

    I agree with the logic of the decision - on paper impeccable - but it seems based on a completely incorrect set of fundamental facts of reality.

    Google is is easy to pick on because it's big but it is not the only source of search on the web.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But surely

      Just because information is available to the public doesn't mean that it's lawful for YOU to publish it.

      Copyrighted works, for example, are available to the public. However, it would certainly be an unlawful violation of the author's rights to publish a copy of his material without his permission.

      Defamation is another example: an untrue fact harming a person's reputation may already be "in the public domain". However, it is generally unlawful to disseminate that fact: authors, publishers, retailers, and "men down the pub" are all covered by the same law. One *could* demand that the publisher cease printing the defamation and rely on the fact that retailers would soon thereafter run out of stock, but nevertheless the retailer's actions in distributing the defamation would continue to be unlawful. One is entitled to injunct the retailer (or anyone else distributing the defamation) just as much as one is entitled to injunct the publisher.

      In this case (which wasn't about defamation), the ECJ was simply considering whether Google search should be subject to the same laws governing the processing of data as everyone else. Nobody was suggesting that data would become "unpublished" if Google suddenly ceased such processing: that is patently absurd. The question was merely whether the indexing performed by Google search amounts to data processing within the meaning of the Data Protection Directive.

      I, for one, am very glad that it does.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: But surely

        But your view suggests that the data should not have been made available to google in the first place to use your copyright example. It is indeed possible to prevent data from being indexed.

        Google will de-index data that is no longer available, or specified links on demand already.

        At the end of the day, Google just indexes what is made available to it and pushes people back to its source.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: But surely

          It doesn't really matter how a person comes across sensitive personal information: the law says that when they do, they mustn't process it without a valid reason.

          For example, suppose you find the medical records of some HIV patients in a bin outside your local hospital. Or for sale on eBay. Or published in a local newspaper. Howsoever YOU receive that information, YOU MUST NOT process it (without a valid reason). That law exists to protect the people about whom the records relate and of that I am extremely glad.

          In this case, someone published a person's sensitive criminal records and Google received a copy of that publication. Should they somehow be entitled to process such sensitive information merely because they elect to build their systems in such a fashion that they are unable to distinguish it from insensitive information? Noone else would be allowed to do such a thing. Why should exceptions be made for them? Given their drive to compile more and more detailed information about every person on the planet, I really would rather hope that they should not.

          1. FutureShock999
            Holmes

            Re: But surely

            Methinks you are terribly ill-informed as to how web indexing works, if you think Google "elect to build their systems in such a fashion that they are unable to distinguish (sensitive information) rom insensitive information".

            Do you think that sensitive information has flags, indicators, or meta-data that scream "DO NOT INDEX ME - I AM SENSITIVE!!!"?

            Don't be a twat, of course it doesn't, and more to the point the same data structures and even context may be sensitive in one case, and non-sensitive in another. THIS IS OBVIOUS to anyone that knows web indexing 101. It would require artificial intelligence of a VERY high order (think HAL 9000 without the psychosis) to be able to discriminate sensitive versus non-sensitive information on the web, in any reliable manner.

            Prissy little idiot you are, and hiding behind AC...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              @FutureShock999

              If you've quite finished with the childish little four letter insults (and all the YELLING just to make sure that they're heard), perhaps you'd be good enough to run along and let the grown-ups continue their conversation in peace?

              For anyone else who's interested in the (only non-personal) point that Ms FutureShock999 raised: the law cares not one jot as to how difficult compliance is. So far as the law is concerned, Google could have chosen to manually index the Internet. Or it could have engaged all those thousands of fantastic PhD minds that have so capably mastered natural language processing in order to determine the most appropriate advertisements to serve me to also understand when information might not be suitable for automated indexing. Or it could have chosen not to employ this business model at all and be a traditional ad agency instead of one based on Internet search. But no, it did indeed make strategic and design decisions as to how their software would process data: and since that is an activity regulated by law, they must comply.

              Oh, and it's terribly amusing to be accused of "hiding behind AC" by someone who's hiding behind "FutureShock999". Then again, perhaps she'll now pipe back up and insist that's her real name?

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: But surely

      And, God forbid, a credit agency accidentally published your name, address and credit history on its site?

      And Google give that link back in its search results?

      That's fine then, because it must be in the public domain if it is on the Internet! :-S

      Yes, there is some information which is public, but a lot isn't.

      If the credit agency finds the mistake and removes it, is is still in Googles cache for a while. That is why such a right is important!

      1. FutureShock999

        Re: But surely

        Really? Do you know how long it will take to get an order to remove it? A LOT longer, most probably, than Google's natural re-indexing takes.

        This is not about hiding innocent mistakes of data releases...re-indexing takes care of that far faster in most cases. This ruling is for politicians, con men, et al to hide their pasts from the rest of us.

  5. JimmyPage
    WTF?

    The elephant in the room ...

    is what *is* a search engine ? OK, Google is most peoples Search Engine Of Choice (SEOC ?). However DuckDuckGo ? Bing ? Yahoo! ?

    Or, alternatively, how about a site which isn't a "search engine", but simply a static list of links ? Presumably Google (et al) would be prevented from returning that in a list of results, but another simple static web page pointing to it would be OK ?

    You know, when people used to ban books, I don't think they just ripped the index out, and left the content there....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The elephant in the room ...

      Manually compiling a list of links for publication on a static web page (or in a book) absolutely certainly amounts to data processing.

      Indeed, it does so more readily than in Google's case: since you are manually processing the data, none of the questions raised by Google re its algorithms' inability to differentiate between personal and non-personal data would apply.

      So yes, if the medical records of some HIV patients became public and I processed those records when compiling my book "People Living with HIV" (worse still, including in the book information on where those records can be found), you can rest assured that the Data Protection Directive will intervene. Just as it has intervened against Google processing a person's criminal records in this case.

      What on Earth is your point?

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: The elephant in the room ...

      Precident...

      Now the ruling is in that "Google" must do this, it applies to everybody. This isn't an anti-Google witch hunt, this is a pro Data Protection / Data Privacy ruling that affects every entity with a presence in the EU.

  6. Jim 59

    Worried about their expenses

    a rare example of the CoJ disagreeing with an earlier advocate general opinion from June last year...

    Yeah. As the UK referendum on Europe draws closer, expect to see a few more popular decisions from the EU.

  7. Captain Hogwash
    Stop

    @TopOnePercent

    "The quality of mercy is not strained..."

    1. TopOnePercent
      WTF?

      Re: @Captain Hogwash

      "I shall not submit to injustice from anyone." - Ghandi

      1. M Gale

        Re: @Captain Hogwash

        "You wouldn't know injustice if it hit you in the face with a truncheon."

        --Me.

        I guess we should give people a lifetime of shit for littering offences or having the wrong type of plant matter in their pocket?

      2. Captain Hogwash
        Facepalm

        Re: "I shall not submit to injustice from anyone."

        You missed the point. Perhaps you've heard of The Mote and the Beam?

  8. Teiwaz

    Missed the point

    The actual case here, involves somebody tired of seeing a reference to a bankruptcy sale 16 years ago mentioned in his local paper, now available online and linked to by google (if I understand it).

    Old paper issues used (and may still well be) archived on microfiche, but you had to go to the library to dig this information up. Now it's retrieval is far more instant.

    This is probably a case of a person 'googling' themselves and finding something they didn't like from their past.

    Who could not sympathise with that. Especially when job-hunting? It's too easy these days to pull off that kind of an easy search and find something, and it does not need to be a conviction to knock you out of the running (nor true, people tend to believe what they read, more than even what they hear).

    There's so much crap, lies and outright bullshit on the internet as it is. We already have laws for the lies (slander), we may as well make sure what is true is true and relevant.

    With so much in our semi-automated corporate biased society now impersonal and faceless, and with faceless shadowy figures hoovering up our data for their own agendas I'd think we should welcome any outcome which empowers the individual for the sake of the individual, not because theiy might be part of (or once part of) a statistical group, be it debt, criminal or political activist.

  9. Indolent Wretch

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    This discussion seems to be hugely focusing on the criminal record argument and I'm not sure why. What about the other questions?

    Who's paying for all this and who decides who's competent to make the decisions?

    How many people do the EU courts expect Google and others to employ to handle the possibly vast stream of take down requests? Are the national/supra national powers that be prepared to write the cheques to pay for the people in the official offices to handle the appeals when Google and others say no?

    Who do we trust to decide whether or not something is in the public interest? The ruling clearly states:

    "this balance may however depend, in specific cases, on the nature of the information in question and its sensitivity for the data subject’s private life and on the interest of the public in having that information, an interest which may vary, in particular, according to the role played by the data subject in public life."

    Is Google going to decide this? And by Google I mean a shortish checklist and some people employed by a private company?

    This is censorship (no point arguing about that), censorship is normally handled by officials appointed by elected bodies, this is important as it means a changing public results in changing standards. I don't want John P. Google making those decisions.

    When David Laws MP, current Schools & Cabinet minister, decides that with an election coming up maybe the public hasn't go any more right to know that he fiddled his expenses by paying a huge amount of money to his secret lover as rent for a room he would have been living in anyway (~£1000/month for 8 years) and sends a list of links he thinks shouldn't be easily available to the general public, what level of competence do we feel the decision maker should have?

    How low a pay grade for the person who removes the Wiki article from Googles results?

    I mean obviously Google/others would be unlikely to publish a list of take down requests, successful or unsuccessful, as doing so sort of defeats the object of the process in the first place ("this information will self destruct in 5 seconds"). So how do we know that person A has managed to censor their past against the public interest. How do we know that person B tried to and failed.

    The Tories/Cameron only recently appointed a person to an important public body dealing with important investment decisions, we then find out they have a history of bankruptcy, bad decision making, etc. Who decides who censors that.

    This is a classic case, everyone here and in the courts knows who should be making these decisions. A appointed body, appointed by an elected body. With a set of rules, more than sufficient staffing, pan-eu powers, bag loads of legal advice, a carefully worked out list of actions and processes and utter transparency.

    Problem: that's expensive and hard work and to be honest other than banging on about it from time to time to make themselves look caring these people don't really give a shit.

    Solution: make an unelected private company the bad guy and get them to arbitrarily clean up the mess.

    1. Squander Two

      Re: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

      You have a good point. But all this decision really says is that Google do (contrary to their claims) process data, and are therefore answerable to regulators such as the ICO, which are still appointed by elected bodies, same as they were last week.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

      You miss the point.

      The legislature (i.e. democratically elected people who supposedly represent the views of the people) have created laws and it's not the role of the courts to question their will by deciding that the cost of compliance is so great that it should not apply: their role is merely to apply the law as it exists. If that results in unintended consequences, then the legislature must change the law.

      Meanwhile, if Google do not wish to bear the cost of compliance, they could always withdraw from the European market. Or lobby to have the law changed. I think I know which they prefer to do.

  10. Rombizio

    Great!

    If only Justin Bieber could make the request to remove anything related to his name from the searches....That would be fantastic.

  11. Nuno trancoso

    Disapointing

    And another step on the slippery slope of (selective) censorship.

    What next? Right to force newspapers to "erase" past events that you no longer consider "relevant"? Just one step removed from 1984 where the Gov would actually rewrite history...

    Because that's what this is about in the end isn't it? If some info, somewhere, was libel, you already have the ways to get it removed though maybe not the money to pursue said endeavor.

    The spanish guy example is a great case in point. It was a fact. No libel. The PoS just didn't find it "relevant" (read: it's inconvenient) anymore.

    In the headlines tomorrow : Google erases all links to publicly available court decisions since all the people found guilty feel it's no longer relevant.

    Or we might just stop being sheep, declare the EU ruling bodies as a) morons b) unfit for (any) purpose c) a waste of oxygen and be done with the sod load of them.

    1. Squander Two

      Re: Disapointing

      In the UK bancruptcy has an expiry date, after which you are supposed to be able to stop worrying about it and do things like apply for loans or jobs without it being brought up -- even though it is still a historical fact. I assume Spanish law is much the same. Surely what this case was about was Google effectively bypassing that aspect of the law. And it's not just a matter of trawling through publicly available results: autocomplete means that you type "John Q Smith" into Google and it immediately suggests "John Q Smith bankruptcy", maybe a decade after the bancruptcy is supposed to be over and done with. As a result, people who who wouldn't necessarily find such a record -- perhaps they have a policy of not bothering to look for stuff more than six years old -- have it thrust in front of their face by Google.

      > In the headlines tomorrow : Google erases all links to publicly available court decisions since all the people found guilty feel it's no longer relevant.

      If Google provide someone's name and details of their conviction after that conviction is considered spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, then yes, they're breaking the law. Just as anyone else who did so would be.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I certainly hope their search results are not based on freedom of expression

    After all, a search result is there because it is a *fact* that the link points to a particular article.

  13. FutureShock999
    Mushroom

    I cannot believe the poor arguments that are being made in this thread. Honestly cannot believe them.

    Firstly, recognise that in MOST of us cannot afford to hire lawyers to get a request to have this stuff taken down. Nor do we have that much stuff about us to be worth hiding. Most of the time we can address that at the actual source of the material a lot more cost effectively, and Google WILL delete the index in short order (I KNOW this, as my ex-wife has a conviction or two, and Google _used_ to have links to the electronic court records...which disappeared).

    NO - this law is for the top few percenters to allow themselves to abuse the law (and many of the rest of us) and have us all conveniently forget about their transgressions. Next time a person runs for local MP - how WILL you find out what they really have been doing prior to entering politics? How many convictions they might have had, and for what? Did they fiddle their expenses in their previous positions? Or before dealing with a company, how WILL you legitimately look into their background and history before placing a large order - and know for sure all the dodgy stuff and customer complaints wasn't just taken down by order?

    This is REPUTATION MANAGEMENT FOR THE RICH AND CORPORATIONS. Get that...it won't protect the rest of us in any meaningful way, but WILL enable THEM to ensure that we remain ill-informed of their past misdeeds and transgressions. And this is all being done under the name of "data privacy", which is frankly a hoax, because that is best addressed at the source.

    This is a low, low day in the history of a free and uncensored web...and my heart bleeds a bit for humanity.

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