Tuesday’s ruling against Google in a privacy lawsuit is already having some entirely expected consequences.
The WSJ is reporting that Google is going to be launching a new service in Germany in the next couple weeks. The search engine giant is going to give Germans the option of requesting that links be removed for privacy violations.
The news comes via German privacy officials. “They promised to come up with a process within two weeks for users to log their complaints,” Ulrich Kühn, deputy commissioner for Hamburg’s data-protection authority, said in an email following conversations with local Google representatives.
Google is moving forward quickly in Germany in part because they already have the mechanisms in place. As you might recall, Google Streetview has a turbulent history in Germany. While that service is completely legal in Germany, it was sufficiently unpopular that in 2010 Google started allowing Germans to blur their houses and businesses from Google Steetview. Google later abandoned Streetview in Germany in 2011. (Thanks, Olivier!)
This change in Google’s policy follows a lawsuit filed last year in Spain. In that lawsuit a Spanish individual sued Google to force the firm to remove search results that reflected badly on the plaintiff. According to the EU Court of Justice, those links to publicly available information constituted a violation of that individual’s “right to be forgotten”, forcing Google to remove them.
The information Google was linking to remains online, though now that the EU Court of Justice has issued its ruling I don’t think it will be online much longer.
And as many have expected, the primary use of this so called right is to whitewash one’s history. The BBC is reporting that at least 3 individuals are trying to rewrite the historical record:
An ex-politician seeking re-election has asked to have links to an article about his behaviour in office removed. A man convicted of possessing child abuse images has requested links to pages about his conviction to be wiped. And a doctor wants negative reviews from patients removed from the results.
Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia.