STATEMENT
Right to be forgotten: "A blunt instrument ruling that opens the door for widespread censorship"
03 Jul 2014
BY INDEX ON CENSORSHIP

Commenting on the recent articles removed from search engines by Google, Jodie Ginsberg, CEO of Index on Censorship, said:

“As Index on Censorship warned when the ruling was delivered last month the ‘right to be forgotten’ is a blunt instrument ruling that opens the door for widespread censorship and the whitewashing of the past.

Private companies like Google should not have been handed the power to make decisions – that lack any kind of transparency and accountability – about what information can and cannot be found on the internet.”

Further information:

Index urges court to rethink ruling on “right to be forgotten” (30 May, 2014)

Are search engines the ultimate arbiters of information? (14 May, 2014)

Index blasts EU court ruling on “right to be forgotten” (13 May, 2014)

2 responses to “Right to be forgotten: “A blunt instrument ruling that opens the door for widespread censorship””

  1. Hughster says:

    “Google were not compelled to do this. The articles in question are certainly not old and arguably relevant.”

    But that’s exactly the point. It’s not you responsible for making that judgement: it’s Google.

    It’s hardly surprising that you’re not going to see what you or any other RTBF supporters would consider to be a “fair” application of this ruling because Google are being asked to self-administer it when, quite clearly, they don’t want to. It’s only natural that they’re going to exercise their duty in such a way that illustrates their extreme contempt for it.

    Those who want an internet censored according to their exacting specifications should be prepared to do the censoring themselves.

  2. I used to agree, until I read this: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jul/02/eu-right-to-be-forgotten-guardian-google

    and particularly this: “You can still find a vanished Dougie McDonald page if you search “Scottish referee who lied”; it only disappears when you add his name to the search.”

    This is the key. In my opinion that is what makes the obscurity reasonable. If you already know enough about the incident, you can find it anyway. If you search someone’s name to find out about that person, it is reasonable to have outdated, irrelevant, and potentially damaging information excluded. If the obscurity is limited to results that would not have appeared without the name, then I think it’s fine.

    Google were not compelled to do this. The articles in question are certainly not old and arguably relevant. I would say a football referee is a public figure, and so his request should have been denied for that reason. This is clearly a stunt to stir up mainstream media against the ECJ ruling that Google does not like. If anything, it shows their ability to manipulate search results to their own ends.

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