Well the highest international court, the European Court of Justice, has ruled that people can ask Google to delete sensitive information from it’s search results, making a landmark ruling in a case involving free expression supporters and privacy advocates over “the right to be forgotten”.
But just how sensitive is sensitive?
Reuters reports that this ruling comes from a case involving a main in Spain who’s home was being repossessed. He said that he felt that sensitive private information involving his and his family’s personal finances were listed on Google. As it should be.
We spoke with a Professor who recently moved to the US from Spain who said that in Spain, things like this are often similar to legal matters that full under “Public Notice” in the United States. If Google is crawling sites with already public information they should not have to censor the information.
Many free expression advocates feel that once Google starts adhering to this form of censorship than Google itself is essentially broken. Google is not the actual publisher of the data itself it is coming from third party sites. Google has said that forcing them to remove such data amounts to censorship.
While many agree with Google the court does not.
“If, following a search made on the basis of a person’s name, the list of results displays a link to a web page which contains information on the person in question, that data subject may approach the operator directly and, where the operator does not grant his request, bring the matter before the competent authorities in order to obtain, under certain conditions, the removal of that link from the list of results,” the judges said.
So just for clarification purposes it appears that getting information removed from Google about oneself is not going to be nearly as easy as a DMCA request. Also as of now this is only a European ruling.
Sure there are things out there I would rather not everyone know but I definitely don’t want to hinder my rights to look up whatever I want to look up on Google.
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