EU court forces Google to remove links to personal data upon request

By Justin Kahn · 23 replies
May 13, 2014
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  1. After having several problems with privacy groups in Europe, most recently with the data protection office in Germany, The Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) has now ordered Mountain View to allow users to request the removal of...

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  2. dms96960

    dms96960 TS Addict Posts: 297   +59

    This is ridiculous. As I understand the Reuters article, you could have the public record of your conviction for, let's say, murder, removed from showing up under a search of your name. I hope I am wrong about this -- maybe Milwaukee Mike can confirm (or not).
  3. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,737   +3,757

    I don't see how this can be viewed as anything other than outright censorship. Making information less discoverable is only a step or two short of having the publishers remove it. Though, I would expect no less out of the EU.
    wastedkill likes this.
  4. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,737   +3,757

    The implications of the ruling go beyond criminals hiding their nefarious histories. Think politicians and businessmen who can now request links to "inconvenient" information be stricken from public search returns.
  5. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,690   +96

    Good to see EU taking up to big corporations and at least trying to bring some sanity to this unchecked expansion of corporations into personal lives/data of people.

    IF someone has been tried in a court, and properly punished for their crime, I see no issue with this ruling, because they have 'suffered' the consequences of their doings and they should not be discriminated in any way as long as they become good/responsible law abiding citizens.
  6. dms96960

    dms96960 TS Addict Posts: 297   +59


    "IF someone has been tried in a court, and properly punished for their crime, I see no issue with this ruling, because they have 'suffered' the consequences of their doings and they should not be discriminated in any way as long as they become good/responsible law abiding citizens."

    You must be joking. Let's say Tom Jones was convicted of child molesting or child pornography. He serves his time and is released on parole. Let's next say that your little girls' school is hiring teachers' aides. They want to check Tom Jones' background, so google him. They find no record of his convictions, because he has demanded that all such references be removed. Good luck with your little girls!! This just doesn't make any sense though, as davislane points out, it IS the EU.
  7. wastedkill

    wastedkill TS Evangelist Posts: 1,423   +350

    I am from the UK and to be honest the EU is a ticking time bomb, they are making the UK worse!!!! They are pathetically stupid!

    They not only want inventors to make electric cars waste more energy but they also want inventors to make normal petrol cars quieter... they are forcing this not asking...
  8. If they used google to do a background checks on a teacher than I wouldn't want my kid to go to that school,there are proper channels to do background checks.
    Nobina likes this.
  9. theruck

    theruck TS Booster Posts: 124   +35

    looks like you think that google is the actual internet and the guarantee of true information. open your eyes google is not public service. it is a private company making money out of the info they collect. would you like to have a billboards in your town stating that yesterday you searched for animal porn on your pc?
  10. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,726   +3,700

    We should encourage people to walk a straight line, not harass them over their past. Statements like yours is a driving factor in why people go even crazier than they were. Anyone that does time, should have a clean slate when their time is over. Why would anyone strive to keep an already tarnished slate clean? If all we can see is the bad in people, why would they strive to be any different? If you want to change the world, then give the world a chance to change.
    Archean likes this.
  11. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,690   +96

    Very good/valid point, especially when one narrow down this perspective to crimes like child abuse+rape etc. This can be easily addressed though, a simple method of data sharing between law enforcement and such sensitive institutions (like schools/universities) should take care of it. Personally, there has been several cases where I have collaborated with law enforcing agencies regarding background checks about certain people. In fact in some cases, I've even gone as far as to check background / record of people who were referring those people to ensure that the data we've been provided with is correct.

    Having said that, I believe, IF some school hires a convict, it is a failure on their part to properly check background/history of such person, and their HR staff should be fired immediately.

    On checking via Google:
    Consider this scenario, what if someone post some 'falsified' information about Mr. X regarding any of the above heinous crimes? One downside of this whole information explosion is 'quality' of information one is getting can't be trusted unless one makes a concerted effort to go through the hassle of fact checking through all possible avenues.
  12. Nobina

    Nobina TS Evangelist Posts: 1,336   +843

    Sorry, but Google search is not mean to check backgrounds of people. That stuff you said was so so dumb. School probably relies on some other sources rather than Google, same goes for court, they are not that stupid to use Google for background checks, seriously.

    Also, as many people here said, you can't trust anything you read on the internet, which you probably do, that's your problem.
  13. I say that; if someone is going to have the bad stuff about them removed, then they must also have the good stuff about them removed. Otherwise we will be left with a distorted representation of history.

    As a thought, I was wondering if it might be possible for someone to have something removed, because they don’t like it, because it goes against their agenda. For example, a Nazi might like to have all traces of the Holocaust removed.

    Would this apply to information stored on paper too?
  14. My understanding of this is it only applies to links to the source data, not removing the source data itself. So if a newspaper reports a factual story on something however after some time you don't want everyone to know about it, you may request that the links (search) be removed. If someone went directly to the newspaper site they could still read the article, even though the average person could not search for it.

    As a society it appears that we judge too quickly and harshly based off of little fact, which is why we have due process.
  15. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,737   +3,757

    So if Bernard Madoff magically survived his jail sentence, you would be perfectly okay with him managing your money following his release, because time served? I don't buy that for a fraction of a second.

    You're also failing to see the forest for the trees. The problem created by this ruling isn't that the masses won't be able to "double-punish" criminals by doing a simple Google search. The problem is that people can now have stricken from the public search records incriminating information pertinent to any range of interests. It also sets precedent for future expansions of the ruling to include a broader range of individuals and data.
  16. If you remove the link, you effectively remove the source data. A search is less likely to lead to the source.
  17. Google should publish the link before removing it, to allow the DarkNet to pick it up and store it in a special naughty place. People can then go and have fun browsing the special naughty place.
  18. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,726   +3,700

    There is also regulations put in place to protect peoples privacy, while they are still alive. The removal of data while people are alive does not distort history. For example census records cannot be accessed publicly for over 70 years to protect those who are still alive. And after records are made public, why would you then think they are distorted?
    If someone has a problem with people serving time and then walking freely were ever they choose, then perhaps it is not the person they are more concerned with. If we are to trust a system that puts people away, then we should also trust the same system which turns them loose. If we don't want people walking free after a prison sentence, it should be the system we fight not the people with time served.
    What you do and what you should do, are most likely two different actions.
  19. Why would would someone want to remove census records from the public domain, when they are not in it? Plus, how can someone request to have their census records removed after they are dead. In addition, what part of the census records would show someone in a bad light?

    When someone selectively removes links to data; it is called censorship. Where there is already censorship, there is nothing to remove.
  20. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,726   +3,700

    Census records are never removed, they are not available for public record until many years later. A persons criminal record should be the same, especially after time served.

    You are going out of your way, to see just what you want to see in what I said. You would do the same with anything else I mention, so there is no need in me donating anymore time. You are concentrating on the census records themselves, not the regulations protecting people while they are living.
  21. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,690   +96

    Again you are seeing it bit differently, which is unfortunately a more 'generalist' sort of view. As I said earlier, I don't give any weight to what search may or may not turn up when hiring someone. There is something called 'due diligence', so when you are going to do business with someone e.g. investing money, or hiring (which is an investment as well), you don't get burned. Something unfortunately, we generally don't tend to do, because it take time, may be some resources, and carefully directed effort.
  22. A better analogy: A manufacturer, of a product, might like to remove the links to all the 1 star reviews of that product, but leave the links to the 5 star reviews. I say that it would be tolerable, to me, if the positive reviews were removed too.

    This new law simply means more work for Google, and its lawyers.
  23. To put it another way; I believe that all of the problems in the world can be solved with “Accurate Representation”. I don’t believe in independence or interdependence. I believe in correct dependence or accurate dependence. You could probably have an algorithm for it. Currently, I have one running in my mind. My mission is to stick one into your mind, or to active the one that is already there.

    In this case that we are looking at here; misinformation can cause more damage than no information. This is one of the curses of the Internet, by the way.
  24. Google is not a substitute for a proper background check. The school would be negligent in its hiring of Tom Jones. You CANNOT and SHOULD NOT rely on Google for a background check.

    Your case is a bad example, because the ex-con would be registered as a sex offender and banned from working with children, so having his info on Google or not would not make a difference. Like I said, the school should be doing proper background checks, including checking the sex offender registry.

    But to answer your question, yes, someone that pays their debt to society should be able to work and live, free from discrimination. Isn't that what this country is all about? Or supposed to be....

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