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October 13, 2014

First, Do No Harm

The EU's "Right to be Forgotten" law accomplishes... something. But not necessarily something positive:

Google has deleted more than 18,000 web links following requests from this country under the controversial ‘right to be forgotten’ laws.

Britons asked the internet search giant to remove links to more than 63,000 pages under EU legislation which has been criticised as an attack on free speech.

In the first month of the ruling taking effect, 60 per cent of the Europe-wide requests came from fraudsters, criminals and sex offenders and one in ten reportedly came from paedophiles.


Posted by Cassandra at October 13, 2014 09:36 AM

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Comments

Pardon my dumbness, but how is it that we know 60% of the requests came from criminals and sex fiends unless the requests originated from the prison online server? I mean, they put such people in jail over there, don't they?

Posted by: spd rdr at October 13, 2014 09:59 AM

I would assume they looked at the content that was removed, but I could be wrong on that one.

Interesting question: if someone is accused of committing a crime, should they have a legal right to have all references to the accusation removed if it:

(a) Never goes to court.
(b) Goes to court, but the defendant is acquitted.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 13, 2014 10:08 AM

Legal expungement is a thing that happens. But frequently newspapers will get calls demanding that an article stating that so-and-so was arrested be removed. The problem is, that is a statement of fact, and a matter of public record. If it can be demonstrated that the person named was NOT arrested, then that is a solid basis to remove the article. But otherwise, demanding an untrue revision of history simply because the outcome was a case thrown out or a defendant not guilty is not justified.

Imagine if OJ Simpson demanded that all copies of the video of his low speed white Bronco chase be removed from the internet. According to the EU, this would be justified. But it's scrubbing history.

Posted by: MikeD at October 13, 2014 10:30 AM

Is it not so, under the present demand structure, that needs attain the status of rights? Any chance of scrubbing all of the last six years? After all, if it can’t be linked to... did it really happen?

Posted by: George Pal at October 13, 2014 11:58 AM

Any chance of scrubbing all of the last six years? After all, if it can’t be linked to... did it really happen?

Heh :)

Posted by: Cassandra at October 13, 2014 12:09 PM

Imagine if OJ Simpson demanded that all copies of the video of his low speed white Bronco chase be removed from the internet. According to the EU, this would be justified. But it's scrubbing history.

Exactly. Plus, there are competing interests at stake here. There's the interest of the person accused (but not convicted) of an offense, and there's the interest of the community in knowing who has been accused of what.

There are people who serially get away with all sorts of things, but it's a pretty big red flag if they're always being accused (especially of the same offense).

Posted by: Cass at October 14, 2014 02:01 PM