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Internet search engine Google complies with European requests to take down links

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
5/15/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

'Right to be forgotten' law sees search engine agreeing with requests to remove data

In Europe, people cherish their "right to be forgotten." In response, Internet search engine Google is complying with requests to remove links after the ruling of European courts this week.

The undisputed leader in Internet search engines is feeling a little overwhelmed. There has been the expected flood of requests after this week's ruling.

The undisputed leader in Internet search engines is feeling a little overwhelmed. There has been the expected flood of requests after this week's ruling.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
5/15/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: Internet, Google, right to be forgotten, Europe


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The undisputed leader in Internet search engines is feeling a little overwhelmed. There has been the expected flood of requests after this week's ruling.

Under the decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union, Internet search services must now remove information deemed "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant." Failure to do so can result in fines.

Starvation doesn't take a vacation --

"There's many open questions," Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said. Schmidt was speaking at the annual shareholder meeting this week. He was fielding questions about the ruling and its implications on Google's operations.

"A simple way of understanding what happened here is that you have a collision between a right to be forgotten and a right to know. From Google's perspective that's a balance," Schmidt said. "Google believes having looked at the decision, which is binding, that the balance that was struck was wrong."

In order to meet the new compliances, Google will need to build up an "army of removal experts" in each of the 28 European Union countries, including those where Google does not have operations, the source said.

It's not yet known whether those staffers merely remove controversial links or actually judge the merits of individual take-down requests. These questions will be addressed later during the process.

Those living within Europe can submit take-down requests directly to Internet companies rather than to local authorities or publishers under the ruling. If a search engine elects not to remove the link, a person can seek redress from the courts.

Jeffrey Rosen, a law professor at the George Washington University and head of the National Constitution Center says that the criteria for determining which take-down requests are legitimate is not completely clear.

The ruling appears to give Internet search engines more leeway to dismiss take-down requests for links to webpages about public figures, in which the information is deemed to be of public interest.

The fly in the ointment is that search engines may choose to err on the side of caution and remove more links than necessary to avoid liability, Rosen says. Asked by Google to speak to reporters on the recent ruling, Rosen has no formal relationship with the company.

Search engines will also have to authenticate requests, he noted, to ensure that the person seeking a link's removal is actually the one he or she claims to be.

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