Saturday, July 5, 2014

The missing link

There are a lot of people out there getting on their high horse about Google and a ruling by the European Court of Justice. Seems Google are removing links to certain 'activities' by certain people owing to a privacy ruling. Seems the objectors out there believe that the past is about to be whitewashed by the depraved and evil amongst us.
You do have to wonder just what these people are smoking, or what they hope to get from this storm in a teacup...
The name Mario Costeja Gonzales probably will not ring an instant bell in your mind. You might well guess that he was one of the kids who went out in the first round of Wimbledon.
In reality, however, he is an obscure Spaniard who has prompted a global storm, appalling everyone who cares about censorship.
Some years ago, Senor Gonzales got into financial bother. He was obliged to sell his house to pay a gambling debt.
Today, like many of us with such little embarrassments in our past, he would prefer that people did not know about this bad episode.
He decided to bring a lawsuit, demanding that all references should be deleted from the internet. The case wound its way through a succession of law courts.
Then, in May, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg passed judgment.
Senor Gonzales won a right such as few fairy stories have ever dared confer: to airbrush his life-story on his own terms.
A precedent — a crazy precedent — was set. The court decreed that every citizen in Europe has a ‘right to be forgotten’.
The ruling required Google to remove irrelevant or excessive personal information about European individuals from European search results upon request.
Whoever you may be, high or low, you are, therefore, granted Groundhog Day privileges by courtesy of Europe: to rewind the movie of your life, omitting the nasty bits.
The real clue is of course Google, do people really think that Google is the only search engine out there? Granted it's the most popular, but it isn't the only one and the ones based in the USA (and outside of the EU) will simply stick two fingers up at this ruling and allow their search spiders to correlate data  in pretty much the same way Google does. You can even use composite search engines like Dogpile or DuckDuckGo (which unlike Google doesn't track or spam you) which links to a lot of search engines in one and will often dredge up some obscure information the powers that be wish were forgotten forever. Hell just Google search engines if you so desire as Google hasn't hidden them away.
The information about these miscreants or people wanting privacy has not been removed, all Google has done is remove the links to them, Google does not have permission to destroy data so it's still out there. If you are lazy enough to just use Google then you deserve anything you get (or in this case don't get) the truth is still out there... for given values of truth plus numerous lies.
In essence this is still a ruling that I do not agree with from the ECJ, but, for those who are not in the public eye I do believe a moratorium after a certain length of time is warranted on the mistakes of the past. For those in the public eye, however I believe living by the sword means dying by it occasionally and politicians of a certainty ought not to be able to hide their past sins/mistakes.
But as for censorship? Well it's just Google, there are other search engines out there and the information is still there, it's just not linked to by one search engine amongst hundreds...

1 annotations:

Kath lissenden said...

I have watched this story unfold, because of my situation I am probably more paranoid than most and still 2 years on worry my ex husband will locate me.
I have repeatedly searched my own name to see what comes up, and there was only one thing. It was out of date info taken from an old electoral roll before you could withhold info from the roll.When this ruling came in I applied to have the link to this info removed. What the press are failing to report accurately (as usual) is this, The information IS NOT REMOVED FROM THE WEB, all that is removed is the link to that information in a Google search, so if you use BING or any other search engine that info can still be found. Google made it quite clear to me that the only way to remove the info is to contact the web master of the page where the info is posted. So this ruling is actually hiding and whitewashing NOTHING. The pree's are intent on making out they are going to be "victimised" by this and they won't they are deliberately misleading people and it annoys me. The link to the info I asked to be removed is removed and it makes me feel safer call that silly if you will but if you too still had someone hunting you even though they have allegedly moved on you too may take the opportunity to have inaccurate info removed, as a small step to protecting you from danger.