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Public outcry over the ‘right to be forgotten’ sends Google flip-flopping

Above: "European Union flag"

Image Credit: Yanni Koutsomitis

Google has decided to stop censoring the Guardian in European search results.

After censoring stories from the Guardian, the BBC and the Daily Mail in its search engine yesterday, Google has partially reversed its decision to censor the work of journalists. The firm last night reintroduced seven links to Guardian stories back into search results in Europe, Reuters reports.

The acts of censorship were carried out to enforce the European Union’s “right to be forgotten” law.

It appears that other high-profile removals remain unchanged, including the censoring of a BBC article which details the ousting of a former Merrill Lynch chief executive.

As VentureBeat detailed yesterday, “The very purpose of the EU’s “right to be forgotten” law was to hide content that violates the privacy of an individual. Already, under the law, we’ve observing the exact opposite scenario. The intentions of the law are now effectively void, because for every article removed, a new article appears. Each act of censorship will rattle journalism at its core, and as a result, awareness of the very stories select individuals hoped to hide will skyrocket.”

Google’s reversal reveals holes in the overreaching nature of the EU’s forget-me-law. It is unclear how Google will proceed, but the firm said in a statement obtained by Reuters that “this is a new and evolving process for us. We’ll continue to listen to feedback and will also work with data protection authorities and others as we comply with the ruling.”

Read more: Europe’s ‘right to be forgotten’ law is already destroying itself.

More information:

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6 comments
Bart Kohnhorst
Bart Kohnhorst

There never was a "right to be forgotten". What has been raised as an issue is the "need to give people second chances". In this judgemental time where everyone aims to have their opinion dominate, this is harder to do. I'm well acquainted with European laws and hope the various systems address this "right to be forgotten" in an entirely different way.

Gareth Jenkins
Gareth Jenkins

I'm generally pro Europe, but this particular ruling was always stupid and impossible to enforce in any truly fair and responsible way. I'm very much with Google here who hardly WANT to be doing ANY action, flip flopping or otherwise!

Glenn Darwis
Glenn Darwis

F the European Union and their tyrannical Euro.

Harrison Weber
Harrison Weber

Google enforced the law, and then reversed the removal of seven links. How is that not flip-flopping?