back to article Crims and politicians using RTBF to scrub themselves from Google? Not quite

Ordinary people value their online reputations, and are the main users of the so-called "right to be forgotten" European ruling, Google data has revealed. Google has portrayed its obligation to follow European privacy law, affirmed by the Gonzalez vs Google Spain ruling at the European Court of Justice last year, as a rogue's …

  1. ratfox

    I don't get this

    The researchers call for far greater disclosure from Google, which has disappointed privacy advocates

    by choosing to act as secret judge and jury on every RTBF case.

    If I remember correctly, the ruling of the European Court of Justice specifically demanded from Google to accept requests from individuals, instead of making people go through privacy regulators, and now people complain Google should not be allowed to act as secret judge and jury. They're just doing what the law forces them to do! Otherwise, what would have been the point of the ruling of the ECJ?

    1. Daggerchild Silver badge

      Re: I don't get this

      The punters *must* to talk to Google first. Google then get the option of letting it through to the keeper/Data Commisioner. The punter gets the option of appealing to the Data Commisioner if Google declines to redact. The site-owner of anything successfully redacted get a message in their Google Webmaster account, if and only if they made one.

      The submission for redaction may actually count as Personal Data, so the more specifically Google reports, the more risk the DC slaps them. It's all only cost and risk for Google.

      By the by, that's one hell of an anomalous spike Italy has for redaction in the criminal category :)

    2. DaLo

      Re: I don't get this

      Quite. As the defendant can take easily the appeal to their local privacy commissioner if Google rejects their claim then ther eis little issue with Google rejectig 'valid' claims as that is what the authour suggested Google should make everyone do any way.

      If the privacy advocates are upset that Google is upholding claims and removing links without letting everyone know then surely if they had let everyone know who the were removing links for it would grant the defendant less privacy.

      Also a lot of politicians and public figures are normal members of the public at one stage and Private Eye has quite a few stories about Google cleansing their online links before they ran for office. Some info that may well have been useful once they were expecting people to vote for them.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I don't get this

      > and now people complain Google should not be allowed to act as secret judge and jury

      If you read the article you will see that the "acting as ..." bit is not a quote from privacy advocates or anyone else, but merely Orlowski's commentary.

  2. big_D Silver badge

    Removing index cards?

    If Google are doing it properly, then they aren't removing all of the index cards. They should be removing the index card with a specific name on it, all other index cards should remain in the box...

  3. Len

    No surprises here

    This shouldn't surprise anyone. The fact that immediately after Google lost the case the media were overloaded with scare stories about how people with a dubious reputation would use this to hide their deeds was a sign that Google had a PR campaign to fire at the ready.

    Not a mention of ordinary people being bullied, missing out on jobs or wrongfully accused because of things that Google held on its database for ever and ever.

    It's PR 101 from Google. Well executed but a bit too suspicious to fool this ex-PR.

  4. Daggerchild Silver badge


    Google has provided (unhelpfully, in JSON format) ...
    *Gah!* One man's garbage is another man's gold-pressed-latinum!

    I've spent the past few days looking for a computer-processable source for a vast pile of data. I've only found several 'helpfully' formatted (i.e. mangled) sources. I'm going to have to reverse engineer it all by webscraping apps piece by piece, cleaning it, and resmelting it. I could graph a JSON source in seconds!

    A pox on meatspace-only data formats! And that extra blank line above I can't get rid of!

  5. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    Eventually society will catch up

    At the moment everyone under the age of 25-30 has probably posted something compromising to Facebook, G+, Twitter or whatever. Either that or one of their friends has, and has left their privacy settings to "everyone in the entire world".

    However most people in senior HR are older than that, and so don't have that experience of growing up with their mates online - and think it odd to see that sort of stuff. Presumably society will eventually catch up, and employers will be less surprised by this sort of stuff, or just everyone will have something compromising online so it won't matter.

    Then, presumably at some point in the next 30 years, employers will become suspicious of your job application if they can't find a naked picture of you somewhere on the internet...

  6. druck Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    No crims?

    Looking at a random selection of removed links to BBC stories, there looks to be some pretty serious criminals trying to whitewash their reputation.

    1. Len

      Re: No crims?

      Nobody says it's not used by crims. However, the evidence suggests they make up a tiny part of the people using the RTBF.

      Those BBC stories prove very little. Only politicians, criminals etc. would be important enough to have their dirty laundry reported by the BBC in the first place. 15 year old Jane Bloggs who was the victim of a bullying campaign on message boards two years ago, would not make it onto the BBC web site. If she wants to start a new life at a new school she would either have to go and sue a number of unknown board administrators across the world, or she can now ask Google to remove all references to those posts.

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