The right to be forgotten
Drawing the line
Google grapples with the consequences of a controversial ruling on the boundary between privacy and free speech
The article starts from Spanish lawyer’s case in which the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled in May that Google must remove certain links on request. This ruling has established a digital “right to be forgotten” and forced Google to tackle on setting boundaries between privacy and freedom of speech.
Two rights had coexisted occasionally offline, but online, these rights conflict frequently. Complicating matter is that American people put much importance on freedom of speech, but on the other hand, Europeans prefer to value on privacy.
(1) What kind of information should be removed?
ECJ’s decision is vague. It ordered Google not to show a link if it is “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant” unless there is a “preponderant” public interest. Google is now piling cases which can help them to set boundaries of removal. What type of information do you think should be removed from results?
(2) How should users be made aware of the fact that the result has been affected by the ruling?
We already know that Google’s search results are somewhat controlled by the company (ex: advertising banners) but we still rely on its results. If Google change its results based on ECJ’s ruling, should it state clearly that its results are changed on someone’s requests?
(3) Whether should Google remove links from searches everywhere, not just on its European sites?
ECJ’s decision can be applied to other regions. Google provides its service globally and right to know or to be forgotten can be changed in places. What do you think Google should do in other places if requested?