Every now and then, the European Parliament takes a decision that affects people beyond the borders of the Old Continent. This time, the EU wants Google to give all citizens, not just the European ones, the right to be forgotten.
Ever since Google announced at the end of May that it will give its European users the clean slate, the rest of the world started being envious. The criteria that needed to be fulfilled in order to be granted the right to be forgotten were quite a few, and Google took some security measures to make sure that only the righteous ones have their info removed from the search engine results. Going through all the requests must have taken Google quite a while, but according to a recent report, the search giant granted half of the requests that were processed until now.
Billy Hawkes, the Irish data protection commissioner, pointed out in an interview with Bloomberg that the right to be forgotten cause some stories to gain more public attention than they previously had: “The more they do so, it means the media organization republishes the information and so much for the right to be forgotten. There is an issue there.”
Christopher Graham, the UK information commissioner, mentioned in an interview with the BBC that “The polluter pays, the polluter should clear up. Google is a massive commercial organization making millions, millions and millions out of processing people’s personal information. They’re going to have to do some tidying up. They won’t do all the tidying up that some people might like, because if you embarrass yourself, there’s not much you can do about it… all this talk about rewriting history and airbrushing embarrassing bits from your past, that’s not going to happen.”
Despite all these problems, the EU wants to force Google’s hand to impose a feature (good or bad) to the rest of the world, where to be frank, the European Parliament has no authority.
Cory Doctorow from BoingBoing was right to say that this could lead to a global disaster, as other countries would feel entitled to extend their local measures to affect the entire world. Now that would be interesting to see!
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