1. Google has just made it easier for people to remove unfavourable stories about themselves from its search results, by launching a simple web form.
Google, which is mightily annoyed at having to do this, was forced to offer people the right to ask for stories to stop appearing in its search results after an EU Court of Justice Ruling earlier this month.
The court narrowly decided that “irrelevant” and outdated information on search engines should be removed if the person or company affected complains.
The landmark case came about after a lengthy battle from a Spanish man who complained that a tiny auction notice of his repossessed home, which originally appeared in a Spanish newspaper, could still be located via Google and infringed his privacy.
3. Though there are two massive problems with this, which show how technology and innovation are in direct conflict with international jurisdictions and law-making.
The first is that even if stuff does get removed from Google’s search results, this will only have any effect in Europe. So if you’re Googling in South America or Africa you’ll be able to see all the redacted results. It doesn’t make much sense, in a globally connected economy, to restrict the internet in just one region.
Secondly, the system is open to abuse from people who’ve done something wrong. The BBC found earlier this month that more than half the submissions for things to be removed from the UK were from convicted criminals, including someone convicted of possessing child abuse images.
Google co-founder Larry Page went as far as to suggest that the ruling could be used a PR tool for oppressive regimes: “It will be used by other governments that aren’t as forward and progressive as Europe to do bad things. Other people are going to pile on, probably . . . for reasons most Europeans would find negative.”