EU wants Google to extend "right to be forgotten" to global users

Right now, Google blocks "forgotten" articles on EU versions of its site.

But EU data protection regulators say that because Europeans can simply load the US version of Google and see the censored results that Google has not done enough. It's conceivable that they could demand that Google block "forgotten" results from searches originating on a European IP address, but that would also be trivial to circumvent. Ultimately, the only way to accomplish the European goal is to block the results worldwide.

This would be a policy disaster. If it's legit for the EU to dictate what Google can publish in Canada, the US, Saudi Arabia and Thailand, why not vice-versa? I'm sure the Thai monarchy would love to extend its lese majeste censorship of material critical of the royal family to the rest of the world; the Saudi Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice would like to use Wahabiism to filter the net; Putin would love to extend his ban on "homosexual propaganda" to the EU, and so on.

A dumbass Canadian judge embarrassed the land of my birth by ordering something on these lines recently. It's an attitude that's one part King Kanute, one part Lord High Executioner.

Google under fire from regulators over response to EU privacy ruling [Reuters]

(via Ars Technica)

(Image: Facebook: The privacy saga continues,, CC-BY-SA)

Notable Replies

  1. The level of arrogance exhibited by the EU is difficult to fathom. How on earth do they think they have the right to force their stupid censorship on the entire world?

  2. Google was, like, totally going to do this, EU... but Google forgot.

  3. Ah, the Right to be forgotten case. A ruling so immediately and comprehensively abused to the fullest possible extent right out the gate, just as everyone predicted - which makes one wonder, at what point did the EU parliament think that exactly that wouldn't happen?

    I mean, so far we have convicted criminals demanding that the internet forget they were criminals, con artists demanding it be forgotten that they've conned people, corporations and particularly investment banks demanding the world forget their misdeeds.

    In fact, I think the only person who hasn't been able to get Google to forget about nasty details of their history they wish to be forgotten is the bloke who pushed for it in the first place, since almost every article about the Right to be Forgotten includes his name, and precisely the information he wanted expunged from the internet in the first place.

  4. In the walls of the cubicle there were three orifices. To the right of the speakwrite, a small pneumatic tube for written messages, to the left, a larger one for newspapers; and in the side wall, within easy reach of Winston's arm, a large oblong slit protected by a wire grating. This last was for the disposal of waste paper. Similar slits existed in thousands or tens of thousands throughout the building, not only in every room but at short intervals in every corridor. For some reason they were nicknamed memory holes. When one knew that any document was due for destruction, or even when one saw a scrap of waste paper lying about, it was an automatic action to lift the flap of the nearest memory hole and drop it in, whereupon it would be whirled away on a current of warm air to the enormous furnaces which were hidden somewhere in the recesses of the building.

  5. If it's trivial to circumvent, then one of two things. Either the EU is toothless, and possibly liable for all sorts of damages - or else they have to find a way to censor the entire world. In reality, that's impossible, but in the mean time we're going to have all the awkwardness and bullying and general mayhem that always accompanies a government covering its ass.

Continue the discussion

18 more replies