New EU law ridiculed in the U.S.

Posted by: Jennifer Cefai (2 years, 5 months ago)

The EU's latest ruling has caused quite a stir overseas, let alone at home. While several Europeans have come out in favor of the bill, which promotes the individual's right to privacy ("the right to be forgotten"), the idea of being able to edit Google results has hit a nerve in the U.S. "Americans will find their searches bowdlerized by prissy European sensibilities," was put bluntly by Stewart Baker, former assistant secretary for policy at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. "We'll be the big losers. The big winners will be French ministers who want the right to have their last mistress forgotten."

Google is still scratching its head over the ruling, which technically applies to all search engines within the European Union. "The ruling has significant implications for how we handle takedown requests," stated a Google rep. "This is logistically complicated, not least because of the many languages involved and the new for careful review. As soon as we have thought through exactly how this will work, which may take several weeks, we will let our users know."

The only time Google edits search results is when copyright is being impacted, and even then the process is automated. "It seems aspirational, not a reality to comply with such a standard," said U.S. privacy attorney David Keating. "The engineering necessary to implement the right to be forgotten is significant."

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