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The Google Right To Be Forgotten Mess

Jul 3 2014, 4:47am CDT | by

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The Google Right To Be Forgotten Mess
 
 

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The Google Right To Be Forgotten Mess

The European ruling that suggests companies and individuals can opt to have the right to be forgotten, in other words have certain things removed from public view in Google searches, is relevant to entrepreneurs and IT professionals  alike. For an incoming generation, Google and search are the same word. If something vanishes from Google, it’s gone

Which is why the BBC’s Robert Peston is concerned that a blog of his, critical of an individual at Merril Lynch, is likely to be hidden, is a serious issue. His article on the subject is here but there are implications beyond Europe.

Consider for a moment that many businesses conduct transactions beyond their own shores. So a small US company wants to trade with a European conglomerate and does some background checks. I say “small” because a larger concern will have more resources for such checks than their smaller counterparts. The little guys will rely a lot on Google. And companies that don’t like something on Google can now ask to have it de-listed.

BBC Move

Google opposed the idea but the courts over-ruled it, which is why going for Peston and the BBC was actually a brilliant move. We’re a small island here with a national broadcaster, paid for by the State but rigorously independent. Peston is one of our leading journalists. he of all people was bound to make one hell of an unholy fuss when his valid work was airbrushed out of history, and he has a major platform from which to make his disquiet felt.

One possible piece of fallout from this is that the ruling that allows people to request Google ‘forgets’ their misdemeanors could become unworkable. This would fall into line with Google’s wishes quite nicely, which is why I suspect Google has moved on this article early.

If the ruling falls apart, good. I’m not in favor of people rewriting history because they wish they hadn’t said or done something. In the meantime, if you or your company need to research anything in Europe, remember that until further notice if you use Google then through no fault of the search engine itself, the facts may have been doctored.

 

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