back to article Is EU right to expand 'right to be forgotten' to Google.com?

The European Union is arguing that the so-called "right to be forgotten" (you know, sure, I was a paedophile mass murderer but it was only the once and I've been to confession now so nobody should know about it) in Google and other search engine results should be extended to the Google.com domain, as well as those aimed more …

  1. petur

    Age weight

    Maybe Google can attach age weights to stuff their crawlers come up with. So older info becomes less relevant and drops to page 84765478

    And not only the personal information stuff... also tech searches could do with age relevance, getting sick of Google turning up 10 year old links when searching tech related stuff

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Age weight

      Google already does ...

      It's axiomatic that there will be more data today to sift through than yesterday.

    2. Indolent Wretch

      Re: Age weight

      You can restrict results to recent ones.

      If I want to look up how to do X in Y using Z or a similar tech question I'd rather not like Google to stop showing the best results just because they're old.

      1. petur

        Re: Age weight

        I'm talking about ranking...

        And I'm aware of the options to set time and verbatim and what not, but they're nicely hidden behind 'Search Tools' AND they are mutually exclusive (limit on time OR search verbatim OR ...)

  2. DavCrav

    "The European Union is arguing that the so-called "right to be forgotten" (you know, sure, I was a paedophile mass murderer but it was only the once and I've been to confession now so nobody should know about it)"

    Of course, if you used actual examples rather than straw-man mass murdering paedophiles, who wouldn't qualify, then it looks less unreasonable. Let's try it again with a version that would pass the test:

    "The European Union is arguing that the so-called "right to be forgotten" (you know, sure, I once got my head stuck in railings and the press had a field day, but it was fifteen years ago and it shouldn't be the first thing that appears when everyone Googles me)"

    Looks a lot fluffier a law now. The secret (bias?) is in the presentation.

    1. fandom
      1. DragonLord

        Unless it's been in the news recently. Don't forget that this only applies to searches for your name, not for searches for the name of an organisation, an event, place + date, etc. So if something that's no longer relevant happened to John Smith of plastow in 1976, you should be able to find it if it would come up with a search of plastow 1976 but not if you search John Smith 1976

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Search Jazz

      Looking at the EU web site for this (painful):-

      "The judgment expressly states that the right only affects the results obtained from

      searches made on the basis of a person’s name and does not require deletion of the

      link from the indexes of the search engine altogether. That is, the original

      information will always be accessible using other search terms, or by direct

      access to the source."

      So in your example a search for "That idiot that got his head stuck in the railings when he was 15" will return articles with your name, but searches on "DavCrav's brilliant nobel prize winning research" won't because it's got your name in it. Inadvertently making you look more like a tit and less like a genius.

      Then we can have fun with partial names, will Josephine Stalin's quest for ignorance bar all searches for Joe Stalin? Or is "Stalin" considered a sufficiently generic term? What about LiLo? If she decides to be forgotten will we have to search for "inflatable beach toys" instead? Will she still be in the results?

      We are left with a kind of "Search Jazz" where you search around the subject but not directly for it.

      1. Pseu Donyme

        Re: Search Jazz

        The way this is supposed to work is not filtering search terms, but omitting certain pages from the results: Josephine might ask Google to remove one or more URLs that show up when searching with her name without affecting what shows up for Joe (unless, I suppose, material about both happens to be on the same page(s)).

    3. LucreLout

      I once got my head stuck in railings and the press had a field day, but it was fifteen years ago and it shouldn't be the first thing that appears when everyone Googles me

      Why? What other noteworthy thing have you done that better deserves to come first?

      Did you not get your head stuck? Is it not part of your history? Are you sure that rewriting or otherwise censoring history is a good idea, merely because you find it convenient just now?

      Things happen; Learn from them and move on. You've no right to demand the rest of us forget something simply because you would prefer that we did.

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    4. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      I sincerely cannot tell whether you lot offering hypothetical examples are in favor of the law, or opposed to it.

      (Personally, I think it's a load of rubbish. But perhaps that's because I've done archival work, and think being remembered, faults and all, is a rather more important right.)

    5. GrumpyMiddleAgedGuy

      Why shouldn't it be he first thing that appears when you are Googled. If it's not a lie. If it happened.

      The idea that information should be restricted because someone doesn't want you to know about it is simply foreign in a democracy. As is the idea that being offended is another way to control others or restrict their rights. Grow up.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    VPN time

    what with this, and various other nibbles at what the internet is, I finally took the plunge last week, and signed up for a VPN service.

    It will be quite illuminating to switch countries and see what I have been missing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: VPN time

      On my last visit to the UK, I spent a few minutes installing one of the FOSS PHP proxy packages on a US-hosted site I own. Presto - no more geographic restrictions. This really took less than ten minutes, from searching Sourceforge to getting the thing configured and running.

  4. JimmyPage
    Stop

    Private search engines?

    OK, OK, OK, so this ruling applies to public (free ?) search engines.

    Suppose I set up a subscription-only search engine ? Would that be subject to these "rules".

    What if my subscription search engine only works on material stored on my own site ?

    I am thinking of various news/legal/technical (medical) archives, which charge to professionals. Presumably that subscription would be intended to cover the real truth, not Google-lite truth ?

    1. Pseu Donyme

      Re: Private search engines?

      I would think a private search engine - with or without its own private database - is a 'data contoller' in the sense of the data protection directive just as a public one is and hence the same rules apply, maybe even more stringent ones as a private search engine cannot claim public interest as a justification (to the same extent as a public one might, anyway).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Private search engines?

      "real truth, not EU-lite truth?"

      There, fixed it for you.

  5. Gordon 10 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    And stories like that are why I oppose the reform of the Lords

    To take something so idiosyncratically British and replace it with an institution full of more politicians or other self serving hacks just seems dead wrong. Checks and Balances with a hint of whimsy are good in my book.

    1. Shrimpling

      Re: And stories like that are why I oppose the reform of the Lords

      A position in Government based on who your parents are seems dead wrong to me... I would rather vote for somebody I can replace with a similar idiot in 5 years time.

      1. SundogUK Silver badge

        Re: And stories like that are why I oppose the reform of the Lords

        A seat in the House of Lords is not a position in Government.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: And stories like that are why I oppose the reform of the Lords

          >A seat in the House of Lords is not a position in Government.

          You're just nitpicking. The lords are most definitely part of the system of government, but we know what you mean.

          1. SleepyJohn

            Re: And stories like that are why I oppose the reform of the Lords

            The Lords oversee the Government. They are not part of it, they protect the people from it. Their great strength lies in the fact that they do not have to lie and cheat in order to get re-elected. They can speak their minds, hopefully for the benefit of the people, and throw ill-thought-out legislation back at the Government with the instruction to "think again".

            That's how it is supposed to work, anyway. Their role should be that of an old patriach, telling his son "Don't be stupid. Have you considered xyz in that decision?" And contrary to hysterical lefty complaints, the Lords cannot directly affect legislation by the elected representatives of the people. All they can do is delay it in the hopes that the Commons can be made to see sense.

            The purpose of the House of Lords is to protect the people from the government.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: And stories like that are why I oppose the reform of the Lords

              > the Lords cannot directly affect legislation

              In practice a delay can block legislation. There's only so much that parliament can get through.

              Also, in practice, they get consulted to ensure a smooth passage for legislation.

              Personally I believe in democracy as the best system of government and un-elected positions are contrary to that ideal.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: And stories like that are why I oppose the reform of the Lords

        Seems to me, a decent famioly background with a history of public service and eccentricity is a better set of criteria than how much you paid to a political party or sponsored the Commonwealth Games or promised retirement jobs.

        Our version of democracy has resulted in failed financiers getting richer, real pay cuts, food banks and the widest wealth gap in Europe if not the world, while the beneficiaries of increased privatisation and public-private partnerships break promises, contracts etc. with impunity and run "academies" in a way that would have got them closed down had they still been a state responsibility.

        The old House of Lords produced some of the most progressive law (homosexual law reform, various enviromental laws and far more) with some of the most educated and experienced (non-policital) debaters from all walks of life, from ancient, hereditray peers to ex-coalminers; from great, religious thinkers to top scientists. The current, revised lot, soon to be further revised, seem a pale and useless collection of worthless politicos, party donors and hangers on.

      3. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit

        Re: And stories like that are why I oppose the reform of the Lords @ Shrimpling

        I wouldn't. We already have one house full of self serving, power seeking lying bastards. What use is another house full? Until Blair screwed it over the Lords was as close as you could hope for to the Douglas Adams principle.

      4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: And stories like that are why I oppose the reform of the Lords

        It's worth remembering that the Lords can be bypassed. The worst they can do is force the commons to re-examine proposed legislation with recommendations from the Lords. The Lords can also take the long view since they don't have to worry about populist crap to oil the squeaky wheel in time for the next election.

        I'm not sure what the best solution for the upper house is, but elected professional short term politicians is not it. The Commons proves that. Maybe not even life peers selected by a sitting government. The best I can suggest is "blind" form letter CVs submitted by anyone interested and then compulsarilry voted on secretly by all sitting MPs with a 15 year term on offer.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: And stories like that are why I oppose the reform of the Lords

          > The worst they can do is force the commons to re-examine proposed legislation...

          The worst they can do is force the commons to vote three times on any piece of legislation, if they did that for everything that would reduce parliamentary action to a third and some things simply wouldn't get done.

          Legislation blocked by the lords is often abandoned because of the time lost to other legislation.

          You have a shockingly low opinion of your own judgement that you would prefer a government chosen by someone other than yourself.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: And stories like that are why I oppose the reform of the Lords

            You have a shockingly low opinion of your own judgement that you would prefer a government chosen by someone other than yourself.

            Obviously I'd prefer a government chosen by myself - it would consist of me and my hand-picked lieutenants, of course - but no such government is available in any nation-state. And where and when similar governments do exist, they seem to generally do a terrible job (because it's not me who's in charge, of course).

            You seem to have a shockingly odd idea about what "democracy" entails. For one thing, you appear to be a little hazy about the concept of the majority; for another, you seem to be conflating democratically-appointed republican governments with democracies. And, to paraphrase one famous strongman, I find your abundance of faith in the idea disturbing: it's not nearly as easy as you pretend to remove popularly-elected representatives from office.

            I, for one, am damned glad that, say, the SCOTUS justices aren't popularly elected, much as I loathe some of their ideologies.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: And stories like that are why I oppose the reform of the Lords

        The problem is you don't get to vote someone in. Not really. You get a choice to vote for or against the party selected voting fodder of party A or party B. Due to the failings of the system everyone knows before the vote in almost all cases whether party A's safe pair of hands or party B's safe pair of hands will win. I would also like to see reform but certainly not more of the laughable sham democracy we have in the other house.

      6. GrumpyMiddleAgedGuy

        Re: And stories like that are why I oppose the reform of the Lords

        Your objections are based on ideology. The fact is the House of Lords works. If it's not broken, don't break it.

        Sadly it is now being populated with political cronies. Not a step forward. And frankly those who support "reform" are the "useful idiots" (as Stalin would say) who provide cover for professional politicians to do so.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    British libel laws serve two fundamental purposes

    1. Generate income for the state (hence Britain is the go-to place for the extremely wealthy who have an axe to grind).

    2. Maintain social order (unless you're extremely wealthy, making the libel laws work for you, is pretty hard).

  7. Schnoerkelman
    Big Brother

    The first thing that appears when everyone Googles me...

    "The European Union is arguing that the so-called "right to be forgotten" (you know, sure, I once got my head stuck in railings and the press had a field day, but it was fifteen years ago and it shouldn't be the first thing that appears when everyone Googles me)".

    Yes, but that's not quite he same as "It shouldn't be possible to find out in any way where I've had my head". One can argue (perhaps) that the first intent is reasonable, but purging the result set world wide is quite another thing.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Burn all books

    remove newspaper archives, History books are all threats.. this is going way beyond any level of personal privacy as far as I am concerned.

    This is also going way beyond the technical capability to enforce and outside the legal boundaries that can reasonably be enforced.

    I am surprised that there is no mandate to fix all IP addresses and register them to individual subscribers to ISP's based on where this could end up...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dopplegangers...

    There just happens to be another Zanzibar Rastapopulous who is a mass murdering paedophile rapist professional footballer, if he decides to be forgotten how will google know it is that one who is to be forgotten and not I who naturally craves youtube cat vid fame as all innocent people do?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dopplegangers...

      €1 says that under the next lot of rules, that will be google's job too. It will probably have to ensure that the other one is to be forgotten, but if they accidentally forget you then they will be held responsible and you'll be able to claim compensation or sue or ......

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dopplegangers...

      Kind of depends if you want your youtube cat videos to be covered in comments calling you a mass murdering paedophile rapist professional footballer. (unless of course you are also a mass murdering paedophile rapist professional footballer, and that's whet you seek fame for. But i'd question the innocent part.)

      Because you ask for a specific link to be excluded, not please remove all links to anything implying that Zanzibar Rastapopulous is a mass murdering paedophile rapist professional footballer.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Dopplegangers...

        > Because you ask for a specific link to be excluded..

        So on my website deriding the other Zanzibar Rastapopulous I just have to have loads of links and he has to individually request each one of them to be removed?

        He'll have a hell of a time with that 64 bit session number embedded in there...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good news for browser companies

    " Someone reads it inside the EU, a copy of that Californian website thereby being published inside a browser in the EU, and EU law does apply"

    and the browser, therefore, is doing the publishing - it is rendering the content readable, which is more than many newspaper publishers ever do - so the nice browser companies all just became publishers.

    With all the legal responsibilities and obligations thereof ....

  11. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

    Um... What Gonzalez vs Google Sp. actually said:

    It's easy to look up the CJEU Gonzalez ruling - but since you were in a hurry, I'll help you.

    http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?docid=152065&doclang=en

    Tim: "The legal jurisdiction something takes place in is the legal jurisdiction where the browser being used to view the intertubes is. It is not where the server is, it is not where the company owning the content or the search is located, nor where the person who prepared it lives nor any other variation."

    This is what the court said [43]:

    Google does business in the member state and "possesses separate legal personality. Its activities are targeted essentially at undertakings based in Spain, acting as a commercial agent for the Google group in that Member State. Its objects are to promote, facilitate and effect the sale of on-line advertising products and services to third parties and the marketing of that advertising."

    Google agrees, apparently, when it suits Google:

    "Google Inc. designated Google Spain as the controller, in Spain, in respect of two filing systems registered by Google Inc. with the AEPD; those filing systems were intended to contain the personal data of the customers who had concluded contracts for advertising services with Google Inc."

    Tim: "...paedophile mass murderer but it was only the once and I've been to confession now so nobody should know about it)"

    Only information that is "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive in relation to the purposes of the processing" [92-94] maybe considered a breach of privacy and eligible for a deletion request.

    If there is "a preponderant interest of the general public in having, on account of inclusion in the list of results, access to the information in question…" then the request for deletion should be rejected.

    There is quite a lot of UK case law relating to interpeting what this means: the courts are not in unchartered territory.

    Tim: "However, the way that this has been extended does rather leave the impression that there's some airbrushing of history going on."

    Yes, and Google is doing so quite deliberately. The strategy is non-compliance. Google is entitled to bounce a request for a deletion up to the information commissioner - and let them sweat over it. If you look at the Telegraph's list you will see Google has now made hundreds of deletions of stories about criminal convictions which it did not need to make. All could, and should,have been bounced up to the ICO - we would expect a search engine that blathers on about freedom of information and "the public's right to know" to do just that, wouldn't we?

    (As a digression - who but a numpty would rely on a search engine to be their "historian" - rather than a specialist information service? This actually looks like a market opportunity for LexisNexis to me. Nothing in this ruling airbrushes anything from real archives).

    Ultimately, we may actually agree that privacy laws are awful and our lives as journalists would be so much easier without them. Or we may disagree. But if Europe is to have a law, then the Court rules that it must apply to everyone, not just the wealthy who can afford superinjunctions. The Court notes that the internet has a massive reputational impact, and so constantly republishing irrelevant information breaches a citizen's fundamental rights. Google wants an exemption from that law.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Um... What Gonzalez vs Google Sp. actually said:

      Absolutey!

      "But if Europe is to have a law, then the Court rules that it must apply to everyone, not just the wealthy who can afford superinjunctions."

      True, the whole concept of superinjunctions is simply wrong.

      " The Court notes that the internet has a massive reputational impact, and so constantly republishing irrelevant information breaches a citizen's fundamental rights."

      Also true; who decides what is irrelevant? To whom does one appeal if one disagrees? Should everything be suppressed in case it is irrelevant to somebody - that would be crazy (although it would suit some politicians, no doubt) - or should everything be published until proven irrelevant?

      "Google wants an exemption to that law".

      So do I, until it's been voted on by a democratically elected Parliament representing the wishes of the majority of the people in each country in which this law applies

      1. Omgwtfbbqtime
        Mushroom

        Re: Um... What Gonzalez vs Google Sp. actually said:

        So do I, until it's been voted on by a democratically elected Parliament who got in on the premise of representing the wishes of the majority of the people who bothered to vote in each country in which this law applies.

        There FTFY

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Um... What Gonzalez vs Google Sp. actually said:

          Why the bothered to vote? Lots of people cannot be bothered to vote for lots of reasons. It doesn't make the system less democratic. And yes, the European Parliament has been democratically elected.

    2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Where the browser is ...

      So I secure shell into some remote machine and start a browser. ssh forwards a connection to my local X server so the remote browser appears on my local display. Anyone would think these laws are being made up and interpreted by people who are clueless about technology.

      Whatever the government does, sane people wish they would do it to someone else. If Google wish to protest about vague and nonsensical restrictions and requirements imposed on them, they have to find some legal way to do it. Obeying the restrictions to the letter in a way that is contrary to to your interpretation is legal and creates a (partially misinformed) backlash against the people creating the restrictions. The Streisand effect shows how unpopular all forms of censorship are. If Google meekly complies with government censorship then people will pick a different search engine.

      It is remotely possible that Google's protest will result in clearer and more even handed laws. A quick look at our tax laws show it is far more possible that we can get rid of our cars and ride home on unicorns.

      If a politician does not like what someone says about him on a website, he can have Winston Smith rectify the article itself. There is no need to require one search engine provider to fund a bureaucracy that vets search result hiding demands.

      1. LucreLout
        Boffin

        Re: Where the browser is ...

        I do sometimes wonder if anyone in the EU understands either law making or technology.

        Here we seemingly have the situation that "Where the browser is" determines where the data it renders is legally published. Yet, on the other hand, large corporates skirt around the EU safe harbour regulations by having most of India process peoples data using virtual machines running on servers within the EU. Surely one view contradicts the other? Either it is where material is hosted that determines jurisdiction, or it is where material is viewed - at the present we have a logical fallacy.

    3. Velv
      Pirate

      Re: Um... What Gonzalez vs Google Sp. actually said:

      So Andrew, extrapolating from the ruling and googles response...

      If Google was to designate the data controller to be outside the EU, it would not need to comply with the EU ruling. It's advertising business could continue in each country, but the search would be outside the EU.

      So in theory Google could purchase a jurisdiction and nominate that as the data controller for all search results no matter where in the world the request originated. It could for example purchase Sealand and remove all persky search rules from every other country and the UN.

      Somehow I suspect International Law doesn't match here either...

      1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Um... What Gonzalez vs Google Sp. actually said:

        @Velv No - that ship has sailed. Google actually went to great lengths to structure itself so it could evade rulings like this. The Court judged that if it does business here and crunches data here, it must comply with the law here.

        It's all because Google doesn't want to be classed as a publisher. In an alternative history, Google could have begun to minimise the risk as soon as it entered Europe, by arguing for special "search engine" exemptions, for being a "special kind of publisher," if you like. Given its lobbying muscle, it would have probably got them by now.

    4. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Happy

      Re: Um... What Gonzalez vs Google Sp. actually said:

      Which one is best, Orlowski or Worstall? There's only one way to decide... FFFIIIIIIGGGGHHHHTTTTTT!!!!!!!

    5. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: Um... What Gonzalez vs Google Sp. actually said:

      " The legal jurisdiction something takes place in is the legal jurisdiction where the browser being used to view the intertubes is. " - there is a danger in this idea.

      1, American law has already stated that stuff published online is published "in America" for copyright purposes, which poo-poos on that idea.

      2, take kingjamesonline (or something of that ilk). Now read it in Iran.

      Are you sure you want to subject yourself to the caprices of some arbitrary legal process in some other country that might not even understand the concept of human rights.

    6. a cynic writes...

      Re: Um... What Gonzalez vs Google Sp. actually said:

      In other words, having lost the case Google are going about complying in the most juvenile way they can manage. Presumably it's their turn.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Um... What Gonzalez vs Google Sp. actually said:

      I love the hypocrisy of "No-Comment" Orlowski commenting on someone else's article.

  12. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    Geo-locking of domains

    I can see another more irritating possible consequence of this.

    Today, if I type "google.com" in my browser it will take me to google.com. If instead I enter "google.fr" I will be taken to the Google France site.

    I like this. There is little more irritating than entering, say, company.co.uk and getting a popup that says "you're in Greece, so we're taking to you company.gr', leaving me with a screen that is, effectively, all Greek.

    (I'm not in Greece, though occasionally my company's proxy algorithms seem to choose some creative ways out onto the internet, but I could also be sitting in Athens airport, or in a hotel, etc.).

    I might also especially want the .co.uk site because I need some UK-specific information, or because I want to make a purchase to be delivered to the UK.

    I can see this EU interference resulting in sites like Google rigidly locking down geo domains, so that when in France you can only see the French site, etc. How long before the EU nannies ban VPNs in case we might use them to see something we're not allowed to?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Geo-locking of domains

      Err... No. That really not how Google works today.

      When I type google.com in the browser, it takes me automatically to the country it believes I'm in, according to my IP address.

      That's why there is a link at the bottom right, e.g. in Google.fr, that says «Utiliser Google.com». It has been like that for years, in case you hadn't noticed. I remember being annoyed when they introduced it.

      That's because I'm limiting cookies to the session, so Google does not remember my preferences after I restart the browser.

      Also, Google happily applies DMCA takedowns on results on Google.fr. How come US laws can apply there, without you or Google bitching about it?

  14. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    None needed...

    ...I was a paedophile mass murderer but it was only the once...

    Really? Me too.....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: None needed...

      I might have been twice, but it can be so hard to say when one mass murdering ends and the next begins...

  15. Joe Harrison

    how does it work in reverse

    For example alcohol is illegal in some countries. When someone located in one of those countries finds your ilovebooz-hic.eu site and complains, then what, do you have to take it offline or censor it somehow?

    1. Pseu Donyme

      Re: how does it work in reverse

      From a pragmatic point of view: no, if you don't have any business interests, assets or persons you care about (including yourself) potentially* under the jurisdiction of an objecting country.

      * e.g. by extradition treaties

  16. Raumkraut

    Completely missing the point (don't worry, you're not alone)

    It's possible to see this working out in two different ways. Google might decide to simply scrub the offending pieces from the entire index. Or it might try some form of geo-location decisions on where the engine is being accessed from.

    No. Only the first option would fulfil the requirement of the law. The issue isn't just about what gets shown to users. The issue is that Google continues to retain the information at all.

    This is about data protection. Google have data on people (the associations between names and.search results). Those people, by right, can ask that that Google remove irrelevant and/or incorrect parts of that data. Google have a legal responsibility to delete that data where it is irrelevant and/or incorrect. Not "hide" or "censor"; delete.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Please start thinking

      The offensive material is not on a website controlled or owned by Google. They cannot delete it. What they are required to do is not show links to particular web pages when someone in the EU does a web search for a particular name. For that to work, Google have to maintain a list of names with URLs of the most embarrassing web pages for each name.

      It could be worse. Imagine if you had to provide proof of identity and written proof that the embarrassing web page really refers you and not some other Raumkraut...

      1. Raumkraut

        Re: Please start thinking

        The offensive material is not on a website controlled or owned by Google. They cannot delete it. What they are required to do is not show links to particular web pages when someone in the EU does a web search for a particular name.

        No. While that is the narrative which seems to be encouraged by Google, it is factually incorrect.

        The data in question is exactly on Google's website, because the data in question is the association (stored and displayed by Google) between a person's name and a particular third-party website. The third-party website itself might be entirely truthful and accurate, but the association made by Google is no longer relevant to searches performed today..

        1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

          Re: Please start thinking

          So Google deletes all references to RaumKraut on their servers. Their spider finds the offensive web page with your name in it again, and because all instructions to the contrary have been deleted, it puts an entry in Google's index linking your name to the web page you do not like. Next time someone searches for RaumKraut, that page is top of the list - unless of course you do something even more silly that gets linked to from more sites.

          By all means, insist that Google maintain a list of accurate web pages about you that you do not want others to find from your name, but how about using democracy to decide whether such results should be be listed:

          All those who think the 'right to be forgotten laws' are a good idea, point your browser's search box at google.eu

          Everyone else use google.com or duckduckgo.com or baidu, bing, ¡Yahoo!, AOL, ask, wow, webcrawler, infospace, blekko, contenko, dogpile, alhea, ...

          If democracy is not for you, then lets put google's expensively maintained list to wider use: Google should be required to publish the list of names with associated embarrassing links so all the other search engines can rectify their results too.

          1. Raumkraut

            Re: Please start thinking

            So Google deletes all references to RaumKraut on their servers. Their spider finds the offensive web page with your name in it again, and because all instructions to the contrary have been deleted, it puts an entry in Google's index linking your name to the web page you do not like.

            That's a fair retort to my explanation (which I guess in future I'll have to amend), but it doesn't change the essence of what Google are required to do by law. If the information was deemed - by Google - to be irrelevant, then the act of spidering it again won't change that relevance.

            All those who think the 'right to be forgotten laws' are a good idea,

            FWIW, there are no "right to be forgotten laws". These are data protection laws.

            ...point your browser's search box at google.eu

            Everyone else use google.com or duckduckgo.com or baidu, bing, ¡Yahoo!, AOL, ask, wow, webcrawler, infospace, blekko, contenko, dogpile, alhea, ...

            Yet, in fact, people using those search engines/domains which ignore these requests will see worse search results, because the only results removed due to this legislation should be incorrect or irrelevant.

        2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Please start thinking

          The data in question is exactly on Google's website, because the data in question is the association (stored and displayed by Google) between a person's name and a particular third-party website.

          What a bizarre epistemological fallacy. (But then of course this whole set of ideas is coming from the homeland of bizarre epistemological fallacies.)

          Google is reporting a fact: that there exists a website which contains text, and that text includes the search term.

          It is the linked-to site which is making the association between the search term and whatever other contents that site contains. Or, more precisely, it is the content of the linked-to site which provides the material grounds by which a reader can infer an association between those two things.

          If I go to the library, trawl the newspaper archives, and find a story that casts someone in a poor light, they are hardly in any position to criticize the library. (That probably won't stop them, of course, because it's an error of convenience.) If I use Nexis to find that article, Nexis is not at fault. If a reference librarian consults Nexis for me, the librarian is not at fault. The same applies to Google.

    2. nijam Silver badge

      Re: Completely missing the point (don't worry, you're not alone)

      >This is about data protection. Google have data on people (the associations between names

      > and.search results). Those people, by right, can ask that that Google remove irrelevant and/or

      > incorrect parts of that data. Google have a legal responsibility to delete that data where it is irrelevant

      > and/or incorrect. Not "hide" or "censor"; delete.

      But if what Google has is just an association between names and search results (i.e. other websites), none of it is irrelevant or incorrect, in fact.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Completely missing the point (don't worry, you're not alone)

      @Raumkraut: "This is about data protection."

      No, it's not. It really isn't.

      You're missing the point.

      It's entirely about Google bashing.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Completely missing the point (don't worry, you're not alone)

        You really think that the highest EU court would keep itself busy with Google bashing? Dream on, silly muffin, Google isn't really that important to Europe.

        Data protection/human rights are important though, and that's what this decree has been about.

        1. SleepyJohn
          WTF?

          Re: Completely missing the point (don't worry, you're not alone)

          "Google isn't really that important to Europe"

          Huh?? What planet do you live on? It has over 90% of the search market in the EU. The EU can't decide whether to hate or envy it.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mario Costeja González

    Naturally I had to Google him and the first link explained what he didn't want anyone to know

    Here's the offending article, he's about two thirds down on the right.

    http://hemeroteca.lavanguardia.com/preview/1998/01/19/pagina-23/33842001/pdf.html

    Because of his right to be forgotten I now know who he is and what it was that he wanted to be forgotten when I had no interest in it in the first place.

    Don't you just love utterly pointless legislation?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mario Costeja González

      Billions of bus journeys are made each day without note, but when someone exerts their rights it becomes noteworthy. It doesn't mean that from now on, everyone who rides the bus is making history or that it is daft to exert your rights.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Mario Costeja González

        It would be similarly daft to insist that all the other people who had been on the bus should start denying having seen Mario on it in the special case where someone asks "Was Mario on the bus" but when someone asks "Who was on the bus" they can quite freely say "Mario was".

        It is an impossible principle to apply, and as such makes bad law.

        How much money was spent hiding this one link? And yet it isn't hidden.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Mario Costeja González

          Apparently this went over your heads. Rosa Parks asserted her right to ride a bus, and now everyone for ever will remember that she did it. Millions of people assert their right to not be prejudiced against without comment these days, and do it in obscurity. They should be grateful to her for doing what she did.

          In the same vein, although Mario Gonzalez will now always be remembered for insisting he be forgotten, thousands of other people have been able to assert their rights without comment, ridicule or public shaming.

          For that reason, what he did was worth it. He might not get the benefit himself, but suggesting that the legislation that allowed it is idiotic because this one specific person is now not in the slightest "forgotten" is in itself idiotic.

    2. BigFire

      Re: Mario Costeja González

      Also known as the Streinsand Effect. The effort of suppressing a given piece of information only inflame and gave attention to such information to a wider audience.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Prehaps we need to understand the core problem

    Some thoughts ...

    The core problem we have here is that we are in the middle of a pretty fundamental shift in the nature of information and how it can be controlled. 30 or 40 years ago national or multi-national organisations could easily control what information is available to people under their jurisdiction; this was enabled by a simple process of censorship and banning unwanted publications. The process worked because the information distribution mechanisms were largely paper-based, and hence easy to identify, amend and block. There was no central index of all of the information available to people, hence it was not easy to determine whether someone had published something that (while true) you did not like; even if they had your ability to delete the offending item was pretty limited - how do you recall & pulp every copy of a newspaper when some of those copies may well be overseas?

    In the 1980s however the Internet appeared and started to grow at an enormous pace. Information distribution rapidly adapted to this new media and the Internet started to take the form of a huge database of information. It rapidly became very difficult to find what you wanted unless you already knew were it was, so companies like Google came along and started to catalogue and index the contents of the Internet.

    Roll on to today and people have suddenly realised that these indexes are a weak spot in the Internet's information database - remove any reference to something you don't like from the index and hay-presto no-one can find it unless they already know where it is. Censorship by the citizen, although whether this is good or bad thing is a something that I am in two minds about. More to the point is that national and international organisations now have the chance to share in this process and censor/cover-up any unfortunate facts that are in the public domain. Oh joy!

    The one fly in the ointment is that companies like Google are multi-national. No national or international organisation has a jurisdiction that covers all of their operations. So what we are seeing now is an attempt by the EU to expand its legal authority to cover the entire world (much like the US keeps on trying to do). However doing so could run into a few show stoppers: for example what can the EU do if Google Inc. (in the US and the controller of google.com) refuses to play ball - any attempt by the EU to punish Google EU for this could run into all sorts of legal problems. Or what happens if the EU orders Google EU to remove something from all of its search engines across the world, by the US government tells Google Inc. tells it not to do any such thing.

    This could get very interesting ...

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Prehaps we need to understand the core problem

      You're certainly right about the change. Society can't keep up with changes this fast. Legislation doesn't move that fast either. So not many people have even formed a solid opinion on what the internet should and should not do.

      But there's no problem with legislating for Google. Sure it's a huge multi-national. But it makes tens of billions of dollars of sales in Europe per year. And those sales are for advertising to European customers. In the end the EU can control that revenue stream (at least to some extent), and that gives it control over Google.

      It's still possible to set up in a different jurisdiction and shout "ya boo sucks to you EU", and publish what you want. So long as it's legal where you are. And so long as you have no financial or physical ties to the jurisidction you're ignoring the laws of, you'll be safe. But Google are about the money, and the EU is a market of half a billion of some of the richest people in the world.

      In my personal opinion, some aspects of the internet are currently under-regulated / under-governed. The chances are that that will change gradually. Knowing how society tends to work, I suspect that we may be heading for over-regulating it, and then the pendulum will swing back to a better balance somewhere in between.

      1. Scientist & Saint

        Re: Prehaps we need to understand the core problem

        @ I ain't Spartacus

        <SNIP>

        But there's no problem with legislating for Google. Sure it's a huge multi-national. But it makes tens of billions of dollars of sales in Europe per year. And those sales are for advertising to European customers. In the end the EU can control that revenue stream (at least to some extent), and that gives it control over Google.

        It's still possible to set up in a different jurisdiction and shout "ya boo sucks to you EU", and publish what you want. So long as it's legal where you are. And so long as you have no financial or physical ties to the jurisidction you're ignoring the laws of, you'll be safe. But Google are about the money, and the EU is a market of half a billion of some of the richest people in the world.

        </SNIP>

        Fine in theory.

        In practice, if Google pull up the drawbridge, and we all have to start using google.com/uk, google.com/de, google.com/fr etc, all hosted in the USA, then we will all soon get used to that.

        Wikileaks donation pressure is one thing - passing legislation forbidding businesses in Europe from advertising in/on foreign publications/websites, and forbidding banks from processing payments from a legitimate European entity to a legitimate US one, or to another European one which advertises with a legitimate US one is quite another.

    2. DragonLord

      Re: Prehaps we need to understand the core problem

      You're missing one very important fact about the past which is what this ruling is actually about. That fact is that news papers didn't get re-printed every day, and neither did the associated indexes. Therefore the only people that had access to the embarrassing information were those that had saved it at the time it was printed or those that trawled through the news paper archives looking for it and then had it printed out.

      Enter the digital age and search engines. Suddenly every news article on the internet is available as if it were printed today.

      So no, this isn't about censorship. This clarification of the law does not in any way require a news paper, library, or other sort of archive to delete or destroy information. This is wholly about allowing someones indiscretions of the past to remain in the past - unless they are of public interest (such as an unspent criminal conviction, or the news article has been referenced recently in another news article)

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        It doesn't matter what this is about

        What matters is what the law says and how it will be abused.

        In theory Google could be made to tow the line financially. In practice, governments have demonstrated their inability to create laws that tax big multinationals. In theory, the right to be forgotten might be a good idea. In practice I have confidence that our government will create multiple train wrecks while failing to create laws that result in an effective way to hide old embarrassing web pages.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: It doesn't matter what this is about

          Flocke Kroes,

          Punishing big companies is easy. They're a huge target. They can't hide easily. Fines don't care if the bit of the corporate structure they're levied on is making paper profits or not.

          Taxing them is much harder, as they can move the money and profits around within a maze of small targets. Plus there's competition for the jobs they offer, which incentivises loophole creation.

          The difference is the multi-nationals are actively trying to avoid paying tax. But they're also actively trying to attract the money from companies and consumers in the EU jurisdiction. That gives the power to us, rather than them. With tax, it's the other way round.

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Prehaps we need to understand the core problem

        Enter the digital age and search engines. Suddenly every news article on the internet is available as if it were printed today.

        Yes, because prior to Lycos, there were no archives, indexes, researchers, &c.

        Sure, it required a little more effort. Not that much more, really.

        This is about lazy people suddenly realizing that other lazy people can get all up in their business.

        There is incorrect and malicious material online, some of it directly harmful to innocents. Attempts to suppress it will be simultaneously ineffective and abused, and in the long run benefit no one.

        I'm a strong supporter of civil rights, but I've yet to see a cogent argument that this is one.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hold the bandwagon, I can't find my pitchfork...

    When oh when will non-experts stop declaring this a new horror. It is not a new thing, the EU Regulations on Data Protection have always provided the right to "erasure" (quite at the back).

    And it's not a blanket right, nor are the processors obliged to comply with your request.

    So the actual facts.

    1. You've always had a right to be forgotten under the existing and proposed data protection legislation.

    2. Nobody has to take something down unless the person appeals to their local regulator, and then appeal court - in the UK that's the ICO and the Information Tribunal.

    3. If you've done really bad things there'll be a criminal record, and in some cases a register you have to sign. Prospective employers have a right to check this out before giving you a job (but not discriminate for spent convictions).

    4. For everyone demanding they should be able to know everything about anyone whenever they want to... Why are you complaining about the NSA / GCHQ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hold the bandwagon, I can't find my pitchfork...

      Then why doesn't Mario go after the people who are putting the information online and demand erasure from them?

      Getting Google (or any other middle man) to do it is just setting yourself up for legal whack-a-mole.

    2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Hold the bandwagon, I can't find my pitchfork...

      I can type a name into Google, discover that this person fell behind with his mortgage payments over twenty years ago, but has not made the news since.

      I can type a name into Google find nothing and wonder what guilty secrets this person has had removed from the search results.

      If Google delete all their records about me today, their spider will recreate them all tomorrow because it has no record telling it not to. Creating a new record that says 'do not show a link to this particular page when someone in Europe does a web search for Flocke Kroes' is a new concept.

      Google can - and probably do - keep a record of every search I make using their site. They do not - as far as I know - make a record of every search I make using Bing. I have a choice about who keeps data on me - except for the NSA and GCHG.

      If I have always had the right to be forgotten, what happens if I ask the NSA / GCHQ to forget about me? Years ago, I searched for 'linux tails', which back then (and possibly still today), put me on their (really big) shit list. The telcos are required to keep track of which web sites I visit - so GCHQ can effectively conduct the war against terrorism. What happened when you asked for that data about yourself to be deleted?

  20. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

    For everyone advancing proxies, VPNs etc...

    The court will take as view as to what is proportionate and what the man on the Clapham Omnibus can do, not what a geek can do. The solution doesn't need to be perfectly watertight; the court will be satisfied if the circumvention is technically complicated or costly. Because we're not really arguing about a right to privacy, we're arguing about a right to obscurity. Mr Costeja González wasn't sufficiently obscure; Google delisting the results would have made him a bit more obscure.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      My name is Barbra

      Mr Costeja González wasn't sufficiently obscure; Google delisting the results would have made him a bit more obscure.

      And now that everyone knows he wanted to be obscure, he's anything but. Fail 101.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: My name is Barbra

        ...and god knows what this farce has cost us.

  21. JimmyPage
    Black Helicopters

    Chilling phrase: "purchase a jurisdiction"

    was used upthread.

    Given that Google, Apple, et al are richer than a lot of small countries, they *are* a jurisdiction.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Chilling phrase: "purchase a jurisdiction"

      All the dystopian science fiction about the corporations taking over neglects a few things. They want our money. They need our money. Populations have successfully revolted against violent and repressive armed governments in the past - and will do so in future.

      In the end there are more of us than there are of them. And we have pitchforks.

      Again, corporations are only rich because lots of people are giving them lots of money. Who's got the money, us consumers. If they want to continue getting our money, they have to stop us from actively boycotting them. Our governments can also totally screw them over. They can tax them, they can arrest their executives, or if they flee to another jurisdiction, they can prevent them getting our money by telling the banks not to transact with them.

      This is how the USA and EU can bring crippling sanctions onto countries like Iran and Russia, without full global or UN cooperation or agreement. Even just the US and UK between them control a huge chunk of the world's banking, insurance and other financial services.

      Or remember when Wikileaks suddently weren't getting any credit card payments. That didn't even take legislation.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The EU should * off

    Facts are facts - we all have memories and this is just censorship.

    Many member states have their own language and if they stick to their local search engine with local rules, regulations / filtering etc. then their citizens will be 'safe' until they leave the nest and experience different cultures and social norms. If a member state still doesn't like their citizens accessing .com then maybe they should block it so they are transparent that they want their citizens to have filtered content and that they do not believe in free speech as other countries in the world do.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The EU should * off

      This really isn't about the EU. The UK, for example, has the Data Protection Act which was not, as far as I know, imposed on it by the EU and whose rules do not allow people or companies to process personal information in an arbitrary fashion:

      http://www.gov.uk/data-protection/the-data-protection-act

      Obviously Google would prefer it if they didn't have to distinguish "personal information" from all the other "garbage in garbage out", but they have to obey the law just like everyone else, at least if they wish to continue doing business in the UK.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The EU should * off

      We all have memories? Short-term ones, because we're human beings, not machines. Facts? After a while, they become fuzzy, and the same facts tend to be interpreted very differently. That's why we remember the Good Old Times, which were actually not so good when they had to be lived through.

      If we had perfect memories of every slight and wrong that have ever happened, the world would be a sad place. It's a good thing for humanity that the memories of what an individual did can fade into irrelevance over time.

  23. Tom 13

    As you Brits have so often noted when we 'Merkins make a stupid law about the internet.

    Our servers are in our country, so bugger off about it.

    That's the problem with the internet, it doesn't respect national boundaries, but laws do. Unless you have a treaty that unifies those laws across countries.

  24. Frankee Llonnygog

    All Worstall articles, ever - the Digested Read

    Q: Should Government do X?

    A: No

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: All Worstall articles, ever - the Digested Read

      The scale of government spending shows that it does too much.

      The scale of the deficit shows that we're not willing to pay for it.

      So he has a point.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is EU right to expand 'right to be forgotten' to Google.com?

    No.

  26. Slx

    Does this right also extend to deleting information from more traditional sources like libraries?

    Google's a bit easier to search than a microfiche library, but the information's there if someone wants to find it.

    I still find this law is a bit like attempting to erase and revise history.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Screw the EU

    If Google is forced to comply their laws, they should replace the links that are hidden by "CENSORED BY THE EU", so people who go googling for "Mr. Former Pedophile" can sort through 20 pages of that until they get to other links about him.

    Comply with the letter of the law, but not the spirit. That's how you treat stupid laws, and tinpot bureaucrats overreacting their jurisdictional boundaries.

  28. SleepyJohn
    Big Brother

    As usual with the EU, commonsense has completely flown the coop

    There is a very simple answer to all these problems, apparently beyond the ability of the EU to grasp, and that is to permit all search engines to reveal everything they know - ie the historical facts. We people must then, and surely will, learn to filter that information to suit the circumstances.

    If I want to employ someone and discover that thirty years ago he stuck his head in the railings while drunk at a teenage party I would be an utter moron to reject him if he now presents as a capable grownup.

    Equally if I need someone to look after my young daughter I do not want a paedophile conviction hidden because the EU deems it 'irrelevant'. The EU judges can use their own children to test how relevant it is, not mine.

    As usual with the EU, commonsense has completely flown the coop. Inefficiency prevented us knowing things in the past, and efficiency enables us to know them now; there is no cataclysmic social sea-change involved. The EU should be teaching its citizens how to deal with this mass of information, not pontificating disingenuous excuses to censor it.

    Even more disturbing, of course, than the half-witted, taxpayer-funded inanity peddled by these gormless, taxpayer-funded Euro-monkeys, is the true motive of the backstage organ grinder.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: As usual with the EU, commonsense has completely flown the coop

      Bashing the EU is somewhat disingenuous and labels you as a Ukipper.

      You can be sure Treasonas May has a long list of web sites she wants censored once UK nationlism removes us from European jurisdiction.

      She does not consider defending civil liberties or human rights as part of her job description. Quite the opposite in fact. Her view is that if you support such things you're on the side of terrorists or pedophiles.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: As usual with the EU, commonsense has completely flown the coop (Exactly)

      How about this SleepyJohn, just to prove a point. I agree with your comment that common sense has flown the coop and upvote you.

      Google should conveniently "forget" any link that has to do with the EUC, their websites or any of it's politicians, their families, documents, policies, contact information or any other vanity stroking that might occur when one of them "Google" themselves. We might even consider censoring their access to Android, software, services, app stores, the cloud etc. All by last name. Too bad for those with the same last name. They are collateral damage.

      Let's see how that works for them.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmmm

    As I have said many times, people have a right to privacy, but not the right to stop people from accessing legally obtained public information. The fact that the information in question may in fact be of a derogatory nature, bestows no special rights or privileges on the disgruntled individual. Specifically information that is legally in the public domain, is just that public. To suggest that one individual's demand would hold sway over the rest of the world, when no crime has been committed is absolutely insane. It also is patently illegal because it is violating the right of everyone else to access information. As long as it is legal (and people until a conviction in a court of law, each item remains as such--individuals and providers are not judge, jury and executioner) freedom trumps obfuscation every time.

  30. Polhotpot
    Meh

    "we all agree (or, as politics actually works, we've had it agreed for us) that something done 30 years ago or whatever isn't all that good a guide to current likely behaviour."

    Apart from if you need a CRB check, that is.

  31. Graham 25

    "Someone reads it inside the EU, a copy of that Californian website thereby being published inside a browser in the EU, and EU law does apply."

    No.

    Someone inside the EU is communicating with something in the US. The information is in the US and the EU person is bringing it into the EU - the US source is publishing nothing.

    Its like telephoning someone in the US and then saying that the person in the US is bound by legal decisions based in the EU and so cannot talk about things the EU has decided shouldn't be disclosed.

  32. Scientist & Saint

    So - let's postulate a not utterly unbelievable scenario. Which is that despite all our past efforts, the Taliban end up in charge of Afghanistan. If you want you can add a less likely, but probably not impossible one, that ISIS form a state which gets recognised for reasons of realpolitik.

    To those, let's also consider existing highly censorious regimes, like Saudi Arabia, Iran, North Korea...

    Now let's pose a question to the EU legislators who think it's a good idea to be able to make web sites and Internet service providers in non-EU countries subject to EU laws:

    How would you react if Afghanistan, or Isis, or Saudi Arabia, or Iran, or North Korea came to you and said that all European web sites and service providers had to comply with their laws on what was acceptable content?

    This isn't _intended_ as a rhetorical question - I realise that in reality it probably is, but if by chance you are such a legislator, or if you could draw the attention of one to this, then I would ask that you give it serious consideration. Think what the world would be like if the whole of the internet had to conform to the laws and standards of the most restrictive and repressive regimes on the planet.

    For that is the principle you are espousing when you tell people outside the EU that they have to obey EU laws.

    1. jzlondon

      Re: Taliban

      In order for your slippery slope argument to be valid, the Taliban, IS, the Saudis, etc., would have to accept European law as precedent. That doesn't seem likely.

  33. jzlondon

    > "it's likely to have to prepare two different versions of .com as a result of this"

    Are you suggesting for a second that there's one single version of Google.com at the moment? There are as many different versions as there are consumers.

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  • End of the road for biz living off free G Suite legacy edition
    Firms accustomed to freebies miffed that web giant's largess doesn't last

    After offering free G Suite apps for more than a decade, Google next week plans to discontinue its legacy service – which hasn't been offered to new customers since 2012 – and force business users to transition to a paid subscription for the service's successor, Google Workspace.

    "For businesses, the G Suite legacy free edition will no longer be available after June 27, 2022," Google explains in its support document. "Your account will be automatically transitioned to a paid Google Workspace subscription where we continue to deliver new capabilities to help businesses transform the way they work."

    Small business owners who have relied on the G Suite legacy free edition aren't thrilled that they will have to pay for Workspace or migrate to a rival like Microsoft, which happens to be actively encouraging defectors. As noted by The New York Times on Monday, the approaching deadline has elicited complaints from small firms that bet on Google's cloud productivity apps in the 2006-2012 period and have enjoyed the lack of billing since then.

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  • Google battles bots, puts Workspace admins on alert
    No security alert fatigue here

    Google has added API security tools and Workspace (formerly G-Suite) admin alerts about potentially risky configuration changes such as super admin passwords resets.

    The API capabilities – aptly named "Advanced API Security" – are built on top of Apigee, the API management platform that the web giant bought for $625 million six years ago.

    As API data makes up an increasing amount of internet traffic – Cloudflare says more than 50 percent of all of the traffic it processes is API based, and it's growing twice as fast as traditional web traffic – API security becomes more important to enterprises. Malicious actors can use API calls to bypass network security measures and connect directly to backend systems or launch DDoS attacks.

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  • FTC urged to probe Apple, Google for enabling ‘intense system of surveillance’
    Ad tracking poses a privacy and security risk in post-Roe America, lawmakers warn

    Democrat lawmakers want the FTC to investigate Apple and Google's online ad trackers, which they say amount to unfair and deceptive business practices and pose a privacy and security risk to people using the tech giants' mobile devices.

    US Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Cory Booker (D-NJ) and House Representative Sara Jacobs (D-CA) requested on Friday that the watchdog launch a probe into Apple and Google, hours before the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, clearing the way for individual states to ban access to abortions. 

    In the days leading up to the court's action, some of these same lawmakers had also introduced data privacy bills, including a proposal that would make it illegal for data brokers to sell sensitive location and health information of individuals' medical treatment.

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  • I was fired for blowing the whistle on cult's status in Google unit, says contractor
    The internet giant, a doomsday religious sect, and a lawsuit in Silicon Valley

    A former Google video producer has sued the internet giant alleging he was unfairly fired for blowing the whistle on a religious sect that had all but taken over his business unit. 

    The lawsuit demands a jury trial and financial restitution for "religious discrimination, wrongful termination, retaliation and related causes of action." It alleges Peter Lubbers, director of the Google Developer Studio (GDS) film group in which 34-year-old plaintiff Kevin Lloyd worked, is not only a member of The Fellowship of Friends, the exec was influential in growing the studio into a team that, in essence, funneled money back to the fellowship.

    In his complaint [PDF], filed in a California Superior Court in Silicon Valley, Lloyd lays down a case that he was fired for expressing concerns over the fellowship's influence at Google, specifically in the GDS. When these concerns were reported to a manager, Lloyd was told to drop the issue or risk losing his job, it is claimed. 

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  • Google: How we tackled this iPhone, Android spyware
    Watching people's every move and collecting their info – not on our watch, says web ads giant

    Spyware developed by Italian firm RCS Labs was used to target cellphones in Italy and Kazakhstan — in some cases with an assist from the victims' cellular network providers, according to Google's Threat Analysis Group (TAG).

    RCS Labs customers include law-enforcement agencies worldwide, according to the vendor's website. It's one of more than 30 outfits Google researchers are tracking that sell exploits or surveillance capabilities to government-backed groups. And we're told this particular spyware runs on both iOS and Android phones.

    We understand this particular campaign of espionage involving RCS's spyware was documented last week by Lookout, which dubbed the toolkit "Hermit." We're told it is potentially capable of spying on the victims' chat apps, camera and microphone, contacts book and calendars, browser, and clipboard, and beam that info back to base. It's said that Italian authorities have used this tool in tackling corruption cases, and the Kazakh government has had its hands on it, too.

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  • W3C overrules objections by Google, Mozilla to decentralized identifier spec
    Oh no, he DIDn't

    The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has rejected Google's and Mozilla's objections to the Decentralized Identifiers (DID) proposal, clearing the way for the DID specification to be published a W3C Recommendation next month.

    The two tech companies worry that the open-ended nature of the spec will promote chaos through a namespace land rush that encourages a proliferation of non-interoperable method specifications. They also have concerns about the ethics of relying on proof-of-work blockchains to handle DIDs.

    The DID specification describes a way to deploy a globally unique identifier without a centralized authority (eg, Apple for Sign in with Apple) as a verifying entity.

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