back to article Google's 'Right to be forgotten' roadshow is just a 'distraction' – EU digital rights group

European digital rights group EDRi will boycott the last day of Google’s right to be forgotten roadshow on Tuesday because it believes the search giant has “misrepresented the whole issue”. As an example, the group pointed to the search giant's Transparency Report, in which it refers to "URL removal requests" rather than the …

  1. big_D Silver badge

    Making sense

    McNamee is spot on. Google complain that it is a huge burden to process the 150,000 takedown requests under the right to be forgotten, but where money is involved, they can deal with millions of takedowns that infringe copyright every day...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Making sense

      Copyrighted content is easy to recognize automatically. Irrelevant and out-of-date content is much more in the eye of the beholder, and the problem cannot be solved by throwing computers at it.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @big_D I would imagine most of the copyright take downs are handled automatically where as these right to be forgotten requests are (currently) handled manually.

    I think this whole right to be forgotten mess has to be looked at through the perspective of the future not the past which is what our law makers seem to be doing. The data genie is well and truly out of the bottle and there is no way we are going to get it back in. We can de-list date on Google but what happens when SonOfGoogle the magic decentralized million node search engine comes along? Will we issue a million take down requests?

    Short of making it illegal to host this perfectly valid and correct material the data will still be out there and you can bet your bottom dollar someone will figure a way to index it within the law.

    I think the only vaguely workable solution is education, teach people to look at the information with a critical eye and make a judgement on whether it's still valid today. Good luck with that though, eduction seems to be particularly poor at teaching people how to think for themselves.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Yeah and copyright holders (especially smaller ones, like podcasts) always complain that their content is being unjustly taken down on YouTube or that they are putting adverts in and around their content for the "copyright owners", which are fly-by-night bumbandits, usually in South America (based on the reports I've heard)... So that works well.

      And that is the problem, the material may have been correct when published (and is public record, so can't be changed or removed), but it is no longer relevant. E.g. arrested for a crime, found not guilty, so being arrested shouldn't be the first result when looking for my name...

      And the other thing is, it is only removing the links when using a specific name in the search string. All other searches, not using that name, would still return the links.

  3. ratfox

    For once, Europe should be happy that Google exists

    It is precisely the so-called "gatekeeper" position of Google, as regulators often complain, which makes it possible for the "right to be forgotten" to be enforced. If the web search business was vibrant with competition with dozens of search engines, it would likely be near impossible to convince every single one of them that your embarrassing results should be forgotten.

    1. phil dude
      Thumb Up

      Re: For once, Europe should be happy that Google exists

      It is strange in this day and age that a blank box for words on a computer screen is essentially the cause of freedom and the established power base's worst fear.

      Every day, I pause to think how amazing the internet is to exist.

      Every day there are all the attempts to break it, using force, taxes or simple ignorance.


  4. Vociferous

    No, it is not in Google's interest to have more regulation -- but it is in the EU's.

    The EU is clearly intent on making sure that the local security services are the only ones freely watching EU citizens every step they take, every move they make.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ... that order to function legally in the EU, Google has provide the same functionality as Section 230 of our DMCA substituting "right to be forgotten" for copyright. There is damn little chance of automating your away through this as an example one need only look at Wikipedia and related sites to see the edit wars there. Personally I'd advise Google to set-up a separate corporation just for the EU with only profits/losses be reflected in the Google holding company. Otherwise their only route is to muddle through with a waiting game.

  6. OmgTheyLetMePostInTheUK

    Don't do shit that gets you in a database... and ...

    If you don't do things that get your name into the news or into a database, then you won't have to worry about having your name show up in a google search. Its that simple.

    If on the other hand, you do do these things, then we have the right to know about your mis-doings. Its that simple.

    The EU and their idiot courts will implode into a cesspool of regulation very soon since they have clueless bumbling idiots running their courts and legislatures. Enough of that, and it will simply make itself go away, never to be forgotten for its insanity.

    1. Invidious Aardvark

      Re: Don't do shit that gets you in a database... and ...

      So, in a case of mistaken identity, you get arrested for something that you didn't do (let's say kidnapping children, because we all love to think of the children). You're innocent but children went missing so your name is everywhere because the media loves a good story. You're released without charge but, deary me, your name is now associated with kidnapping children whenever we search for you. Sure there'll be links to you being released without charge, but they're waaay down that search listing because that's not really very interesting compared to you being a child abductor so ranking algorithms will do their thing on the original story. Result 1 in every search: OmgTheyLetMePostInTheUK arrested for child abduction.

      But that's ok, because we have a right to know about your "mis-doings". I mean, if you didn't do things that got your name into the news or into a database, then you wouldn't have had to worry about having your name show up in a google search. It's that simple.

      I should point out that I'm against making google or any search engine filter out results - I think that's better tackled by the websites hosting the content - but your contention that because someone was caught up in something automatically means that they did it and it should be linked to them forever is somewhat facile.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    censorship is censorship...

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