back to article What's your game, Google? Giant collared by UK civil lib minister on 'right to be forgotten'

Lib Dem civil liberties minister Simon Hughes told Westminster today the British public had got the misleadingly named "Right to be Forgotten" ruling badly wrong – and queried why a report from the BBC's Robert Peston was "top of the pile" when Google began deleting entries from its search results. Google has since restored …

  1. nsld


    I thought our elected representatives worked for us and not for Google?

    Its also frightening that someone with as much power as Simon Hughes does not understand the basics of the data protection act or the obligations of Google as a data controller.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Strangely

      > power as Simon Hughes

      He is a lib dem 2nd level minister for nothing in a tory coalition. My cat has more power

    2. Someone Else Silver badge

      @nsld -- Re: Strangely

      I thought our elected representatives worked for us and not for Google?

      You fuel! (Although I must say this is a common misconception held by the vast majoring of the vaster unwashed....)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google Translation

    Mr Hughes said "I'm about to be tossed out of government on my ear. I desperately need a cushy number maybe as a special advisor when I'm no longer in Westminster. Gis a job, google, if we give you the laws you want."

  3. TheColinous

    Well, yes, you can always count on this government to ask "How high?" when a rich multinational tells it to jump. Yes. I have some hope that the referral of the Irish High Court will savage Facebook's data mining business model, in view of the cases we have seen so far from ECJ in this. I don't doubt that if this government is allowed to sit after next year, or for that matter the next Labour government if it comes to that, will ride out to the defence of Facebook.

  4. John Lilburne

    "Google wants the law changed as quickly possible, and we will collaborate with them to achieve that. But we have to be careful - Google are an important company, but they're not the only company we have to look after,"

    And he wonders why people aren't voting for him and hos other idiot mates. He needs to have his head bashed on the table a few times.


    1. Captain DaFt

      "He needs to have his head bashed on the table a few times."

      All that'd accomplish is a dented table.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm confused

    The article title says "Minister slams Google", but isn't he saying exactly what they want to hear? Google doesn't want to remove stuff from its results, right?

  6. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Those are my principles

    and if you don't like them... well, I have others.

  7. Swarthy Silver badge

    A nomination for Quote of The Week

    "[D]iverting money is normal Government business." - One of the only clear and true things to come out of a politician.

    Yes, I know, taken out of context and all; but still a beautiful soundbite.

  8. a well wisher

    Google clearly want this ruling overturned - So it made sense to go for those who might influence /effect that possibility first !

  9. SnakeChisler

    right to change history

    Its a mess if Google don't take stuff down then there in contempt of court and liable to fines. What's taken down isn't google's problem if some crusty old judge thinks you can just wash away a couple of pages he's obviously as clueless as we all know him to be. Its like the DMCA stuff in the states if someone points the finger the easiest thing to do is yank it

    1. Jyve

      Re: right to change history

      Aye, that's it exactly. It's all right for this no-body MP to offer HIS legal opinion, but can Google use that when they're sued for not removing information? I suspect not.

      If he really believes in what he says, he should get the law clarified/changed to give Goog legal protection from the inevitable sueing that'd occur when they denied someone big.

      1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

        Re: Re: right to change history

        "this no-body MP"

        As a point of order, he's the Minister of State for Justice and Civil Liberties; deputy leader of the Lib Dems; Lib Dem president; and been an MP since 1983.


        1. Dr Scrum Master

          Re: right to change history

          another "here today, gone tomorrow" politician?

          (Grabbing my coat as I leave the studio.)

        2. mccp

          Re: right to change history

          @diodesign: you should have realised that reporting facts in a comment would only attract downvotes here.

    2. strum

      Re: right to change history

      >Its a mess if Google don't take stuff down then there in contempt of court and liable to fines.

      What poppycock. You have demonstrated Hughes' point - that a great many people have grossly misunderstood the ruling.

      If Google refuse to take down listings for stuff (not the stuff itself), the complainant can go to the ICO. If they say no, only then can the complainant go to court, and hope to overrule Google & the ICO (which is vanishingly unlikely).

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google makes Eurocrats look like the clueless plebs they are.

    Elderly clueless Eurocrat plebs get upset and frustrated that they don't understand this internet thing that their grandchildren keep harping on about...

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: Google makes Eurocrats look like the clueless plebs they are.

      These are the same "Eurocrat Plebs" that fought off attempts to force through software patents -- twice, and the reason our patent system doesn't recognize them in the same fucked beyond redemption way the USA does. I'd rather they wrote our laws than massive American corporations!

    2. rizb

      Re: Google makes Eurocrats look like the clueless plebs they are.

      Yeah, damn those elderly Eurocrat plebs and their ludicrous concerns about privacy and data retention.

      The only way is for Google to know everything, power everything, every desktop, every search, every smartphone. The only way. All competition is to be hated by the Faithful (now known as "the faithfle"), criticized at every opportunity, spat on and despised. Except Sony because you love Sony.

      Right Barry?

  11. Brent Longborough

    Google's an INDEX, FFS

    Can anyone tell me what use is an index when it's full of holes?

    1. HarshKarma

      Re: Google's an INDEX, FFS

      An index is only useful when it indexes what is important. If you look at the back of any reference book, you do not see entries for every possible word, only those that matter. Google obviously thinks the same otherwise it wouldn't be delisting all kinds of dross from it's organic search index.

      The ruling includes references to "in the public interest" & this should be the litmus test for what would be considered important enough to not be excluded.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Hughes urged Google to remind the public they had no "right" to get data removed just because they asked, and wanted Google to remind people of this. "

    Pretty much sums up what I don't like about this world. Guess people don't have the power after all.

  13. opaque

    The reason Peston and other newspaper journalists are 'at the top of the pile' are they are the ones with the widest reach and have written about many people!

    I'm not going to get something from Google saying we are removing things from your Blog as not that many people outside my group look at it! Peston et al should see it as a sign of their influence and nothing else.

    Noone wants Google to take things down, and yes this is an overegging of the situation but it shows how stupid it is when a private business has to judge such things. It should be up to a proper legal system to remove things if they indeed have to be.

    1. strum

      >Noone wants Google to take things down, and yes this is an overegging of the situation but it shows how stupid it is when a private business has to judge such things. It should be up to a proper legal system to remove things if they indeed have to be.

      The problem with that is that 'a proper legal system' must then define, in advance, what is allowable and what is not. That isn't feasible. It will either contain too many loopholes to be useful, or it will be so tight as to be restrictive.

      A private business may well be the best agent to make a preliminary judgement, on an individual case, with the back-stop of a statutory body (ICO) to catch any failures. Finally, if both stages have failed, a court may intervene.

      It isn't pretty, but, then, life can be a mess sometimes.

  14. Daggerchild Silver badge

    Other sticks to hit them with.

    Now Google are the Data Controller of the content of other people's websites, what *other* duties does a data controller have that they are liable for?

    There has to be more than one...

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So now Google wants a favour?

    This would be the same Google that doesn't pay a penny in corporation tax in this country, cos they route all their advertising sales via Ireland? If he had a backbone, he'd tell Google to go fuck itself when it started lobbying for new laws. But then, he's a Lib Dem, so not much chance of suddenly growing one...

  16. Someone Else Silver badge
    Big Brother

    "We think the 'Right To Be Forgotten' is wrong," said Hughes any official from every tyrannical government (specifically including the U.S.) since the beginning of time.

    There...fixed it for ya....

  17. phil dude

    what's missing?

    You know this whole issue has started me thinking what is *missing* from google. What is the material you *cannot* find. I am not talking about stuff that is just ranked very low (you can check them out using various tools that show the last 1000 entries - kind of interesting!!).

    As a scientist, there is a great deal missing from just the small piece of the sky I know about. Many thing have not been scanned/indexed. And advertising often will pull irrelevant terms to the top.

    So as well meaning as the EU is , and as devious as Google is, there are deeper questions to be asked than people hiding their dirty laundry.

    Anybody else think of data sets that are not found by google?


    1. ratfox

      Re: what's missing?

      If data is not on Google, you can hope another search engine will find it. If nobody can find it, then the data might as well not exist…

  18. Dr Scrum Master

    No New Law

    Auntie Beeb has not just been describing this as a new right, but over on the World Service it was being described as a new law on Weekend.

  19. This post has been deleted by its author

  20. Nigel Sedgwick

    Hidden Reason

    I am really struggling with the ECJ ruling (or at least the reports on it), along similar lines to commentor Brent Longborough above.

    The returning of a search result is banned, but the original 'document' still remains.

    This is like a library holding a copy of, for example, "Mein Kampf" on its shelves (in plain view for anyone who cares to look, and subsequently read) but not having the book in its card index (or modern database equivalent).

    In the particular case of the article by Robert Peston, it is not his article that someone has requested to remove from such public view, but a comment they themselves posted under his original article. If we allow this sort of thing, anyone could post a comment that is reasonably obviously undesirable and then seek for Google, and/or other search engine providers, to remove the reference to the article (and all its comments) from search engine results. This allows 'privacy' requests, potentially of unspecified things for hidden reasons, which would obviously be rejected if requested as an edit to or removal of the original 'document'.

    Best regards

  21. Brandon 2

    "[Google] is effectively republishing the same information over and over again."

    This is a fundamental misrepresentation of what Google is. If you don't want people finding your dirty laundry, don't soil yourself. It's pretty simple.

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