Internet search engine giant Google is arranging a series of discussions across Europe aimed at debating the ‘Right to be Forgotten’.
The controversial law, brought in by the EU ostensibly as a means for people to protect their online privacy, is yet another factor in the on-going conversation over internet security and privacy. In recent months internet users have been exposed to other threats to privacy such as the HeartBleed exploit and the iCloud celebrity hacking scandal.
Although Google previously allowed deletion of certain links, usually in the case of copyright infringement, it wasn’t until the publication of article 12 of EU directive 95/46/EC that the topic was seriously highlighted. This was later superseded in 2012, by article 17 of the European Data Protection Regulation Act, which enshrined into law the Right to be Forgotten.
Public awareness of the law reached fever-pitch in May of this year, when a Spanish man took Google to court over a link to a house he owned which was then repossessed. He deemed that the details of the debt, which he subsequently paid, were detrimental to his credit rating. The court agreed, and ordered Google to remove the offending links.
Hosted by a panel of industry experts hand-picked by Google, the discussions are designed to look in-depth at a law which Google has previously suggested can seriously undermine innovation in the tech sector. The first event will be held on the 9th September in Madrid. Further meetings are due to be held in six major European capitals over the coming months. As it stands currently the law only affects EU citizens.
Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales will be one of those sitting on the advisory council as it seeks to balance the right to privacy with users’ right to access information. In the past, Wales has claimed that the Right to be Forgotten was ‘deeply immoral’. Some, like Wales, are concerned about the perceived Orwellian censorship, and the ability to effectively rewrite online history. However other commentators disagree with this assessment, claiming that technological advances have eroded individual privacy to the point where such regulation has become not simply desirable but necessary.
The debates themselves come just over a week before EU data regulators discuss guidelines aimed at bringing all search engines under the purview of the Right to be Forgotten law. Google released a statement in which it said that the council will, ‘invite contributions from government, business, media, academia, the technology sector, data protection organizations and other organizations with particular interest in the area… finding the best possible balance on this issue.’
How do you feel about the Right to be Forgotten? Is it bureaucratic censorship or a sound move to protect individuals? However you feel about the law, worrying about your internet security isn’t something to keep you awake at night. We offer worry-free IT support in Manchester and Chester, so if you think we can help you, contact us on 01625 443 110 or email email@example.com.