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France trying to impose global Google censorship

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Timedog

good credit (by proxy)
No, like the US copyright companies are trying to do by censoring content and preventing piracy which many pirates escape by moving their servers to places in Europe where the laws governing some of the rights is different.

This is a slippery slope if I ever saw one in practice and in principle. If France says that they have a right to be forgotten, what happens when the US copyright folks start going after companies saying that VPN providers are obligated to log all of the activity of all of their users as they are required to do for a variety of reasons here in the US.

In the world that we're creating from this - whose laws reign supreme since they are being allowed to go cross borders?

Well, how are they going to create the nWo without testing the waters with cross border laws? First it was the UN, then cross border multinationals, then trade agreements, now it's cross border jurisdiction of law, next (after a nuclear bomb is detonated of course) comes cross border voting, for a substantial cross border legal-governmental structure, then individualist governments are slowly whittled down to the point of being ineffectual. Also lasers will undoubtedly be involved somehow, so you're gonna want to build a laser-proof chrysalis shield and or shelter.

Probably carbon nanotube lasers, in fact.
 

cntr

Banned
Information privacy/data protection is the biggest driving force of the right to be forgotten last i checked, yes this specific part of the right to be forgotten can be abused, but please remember this isn't corporations, governments etc that will be requesting to have this applied it is individuals like you and me. Most commonly people will just refer to this to ensure their data is deleted when they unsub to services or opt out of being profiled, then you'll have less people looking to this when there was some kind of scandal they'd rather keep private.
You really think it's not going to be abused by the government and corporations?
 

Joni

Member
If governments like in France are in control, then yes. Fuck this kind of censorship. Do you even have any idea about how bad this could be?
But it isn't censorship, it is a basic human right. Fuck those, right?

You really think it's not going to be abused by the government and corporations?
Corporations aren't people under EU law.
 

Timedog

good credit (by proxy)
I like the idea behind the right to be forgotten, but I'm not sure if it wouldn't cause even worse problems (and this assessment could be based on my lack of knowledge on what the right to be forgotten entails). There are a bunch of scenarios that pop into my head.

What happens when someone wants to be forgotten but the thing they want taken off the internet is something newsworthy or a cultural event worth noting historically?

What happens when someone is portrayed in a movie or book based on a true story (even if they're a very minor part) and they want it forgotten? Can retailers just not sell that book or movie online?

Would companies have to build specific framework for name redacting efficiently, with servers specifically built to store and organize names and redactions?

Maybe I don't know enough about how the right to be forgotten is implemented and these questions are ridiculous and childish. What are, in practice, the positives and negatives for each side of the argument?
 
What's wrong with the right of being forgotten ?
If you guys are against the possibility for you to request that your informations stored on Google Search Engine to be removed, I don't know what to say to be fair.
 

Phoenix

Member
What's wrong with the right of being forgotten ?
If you guys are against the possibility for you to request that your informations stored on Google Search Engine to be removed, I don't know what to say to be fair.

The right to be forgotten is merely window dressing for what this fight is really about - that being whether or not a state or set of states can apply their laws to other states who don't impose those laws. THAT is what this whole fight is about. It really has jack shit to do about the right to be forgotten.
 
I like the idea behind the right to be forgotten, but I'm not sure if it wouldn't cause even worse problems (and this assessment could be based on my lack of knowledge on what the right to be forgotten entails). There are a bunch of scenarios that pop into my head.

What happens when someone wants to be forgotten but the thing they want taken off the internet is something newsworthy or a cultural event worth noting historically?

What happens when someone is portrayed in a movie or book based on a true story (even if they're a very minor part) and they want it forgotten? Can retailers just not sell that book or movie online?

Would companies have to build specific framework for name redacting efficiently, with servers specifically built to store and organize names and redactions?

Maybe I don't know enough about how the right to be forgotten is implemented and these questions are ridiculous and childish. What are, in practice, the positives and negatives for each side of the argument?
The right to be forgotten doesn't apply to media companies so news webs, books and films are unaffected.
 

Sloane

Banned
Starting to wonder why Google is still doing business in Europe at this point. Just shut the whole thing down and let all those freedom-hating commie countries figure out life without the internet!
 
I'm European and I think the "right to be forgotten" is bullshit. Every individual or company has the right to remember whatever they want, if it's public information.
 

Joni

Member
Yeah, no. Not to me. There's a right to your privacy, but there's no absolute right to be forgotten.
It is not absolute. Media companies are still allowed to cover information. But it is still an important cornerstone of human privacy, as it means you can stop a company which you haven't allowed to share your information to share your information.

I'm European and I think the "right to be forgotten" is bullshit. Every individual or company has the right to remember whatever they want, if it's public information.
What constitutes public information? Facebook and Google consider sites you visit to be enough reason to track you for instance, even if you don't visit their site. It is stuff like that the EU is fighting against. And they're backed up by the general distrust of European citizens in all these companies gathering their information:
http://ec.europa.eu/justice/data-protection/files/factsheets/factsheet_rtbf_mythbusting_en.pdf
 

Dascu

Member
This is an interesting case of how technological advancements have set the moral norms in society. The law and established rights are now catching and it's difficult to balance these elements.Convenience of technology versus giving up some civil rights and privacy. The same discussion goes for Uber, AirBnB and other young companies. Competition through disruption is one thing, but circumvention of important rules is another.

As for Google and the "right to be forgotten", I think the concept is good: There should be a way to have your data online deleted (via suing the sites - practically impossible), or at least made inaccessible (via delisting results - easier, can target the main internet portals). This should happen on a worldwide basis. If there is a fake news article around that I am a pedophile, then I don't want anyone to find that. Regardless if that person is another EU citizen using a proxy, or a foreigner using his local Google version. What we need is judicial review and scrutiny by civil rights organisations to make sure that I have good reasons to have that information deleted.

I'm European and I think the "right to be forgotten" is bullshit. Every individual or company has the right to remember whatever they want, if it's public information.
You don't think that there should not be any legal way to delete/render inaccessible some information though?

If I start a smear campaign against you in the newspapers, you can sue the newspaper company and myself for slander and libel. You can force that paper to publish a correction and have the offending materials taken off the distribution market. This is existing law and an application of the principle of individual privacy.

But if in the modern age I do this online, I can distribute all this fake bullshit information that can damage you (and your family) emotionally and financially (imagine a potential employer Googling your name and finding fake articles about you). I can do it anonymously, at low cost and rapidly across the entire internet. The information will always be cached or copied somewhere. Should we just throw our hands up in the air and give up our rights?
 

MrChom

Member
The right to be forgotten is an important right, it's not about censorship, it's about the right for an individual's privacy to not be repeatedly breached if the event that saw them in the public eye is no longer ongoing.

This is about removing things like false criminal accusations (Rape, and paedophilia being the two main ones), indiscretions committed earlier in life that might harm things like employment opportunities, and anything potentially up to and including revenge porn.

This is something that's going to become more and more important as every facet of our daily lives is is not only reported by us on services like Twitter, and Facebook, but also how our life is seen and commented on by others in content produced by or consumed by others.

Is it open to abuse? Probably. It might need some reform, but the idea that information no longer pertinent to the world and that might be actively harming you in some way should be made harder to accidentally access with a cursory search is a good one. Let us not forget that this does not remove the information, only the ability to search for it in a broad unffocussed way.
 

P44

Member
It is so staggeringly obvious how easy this would be to see abuse from nations with infinitely less "noble" intentions.

Except the right to be forgotten isn't some absolute stuff, it's a judgement call. If it's you did some bad shit, and it was on the news, and you want that gone, Google won't do it. If its "I was shitposting at 13" then they'll allow that.
 

Shredderi

Member
The right to be forgotten is merely window dressing for what this fight is really about - that being whether or not a state or set of states can apply their laws to other states who don't impose those laws. THAT is what this whole fight is about. It really has jack shit to do about the right to be forgotten.

This. Trying to set precedent to smooth over other attempts at imposing different laws on other countries. If it's a case of this happening vs the "right to be forgotten", I say fuck the right to be forgotten.
 

KooopaKid

Banned
They're still salty about this, right?


As a French man, I have to say I was extremely entertained by this!
:D
 
If Google wants to do business in a country, they have to follow local law. I don't think there would be any legal problem if they ceased business in Europe and made their services unavailable there. One of the core problems here is that Google allows ridiculously easy circumvention of the blocked results, which is why they're asking for global removal now.

Global removal is an actual slippery slope when there are numerous countries around the globe that actively censor Internet content. France isn't looking at the big picture here. A few whiny cunts could effectively bring down global search.
 

iamblades

Member
That's not the point of it. The point isnt covering your eyes and pretending it doesnt exist. If I end my membership with say playboy online, I should be able to request that they delete every single piece of personal information about me that isnt a line in their general ledger if I wanted. The same goes for information google/amazon/facebook has collected on you if you choose to end the association, or just feel like it because.

This doesn't work if you say 'but yeah only stuff in the France datacenter'

That is not what this law does though.

If this law was just about personal information, no one would be fighting this.

This law requires google to censor publicly available information that people have a right to know, without any chance for the publisher being censored to fight it.

People hear 'right to be forgotten' and think 'that's good, when I end my relationship with a company, they should delete my data', but that is not at all what this law is about. This law is about preventing free and open access to information.
 

iamblades

Member
But it isn't censorship, it is a basic human right. Fuck those, right?


Corporations aren't people under EU law.

Since when has it been a basic human right to be able to go to the library and force them to destroy copies of articles that are unflattering to you?

Because that's what this is. The internet is the modern library, and as far as I know, there is no country on earth where you have the right to erase publicly available information after the fact.

But that's not even the point, the point is that this law is technologically impossible to enforce. The internet is designed and built to remember, trying to make it forget something is pushing water up hill. The law also doesn't really have any capacity to deal with the non public databases out there, which means that all that is really going to happen is that the corporations and governments will have more access to information than a regular citizen.
 

Joni

Member
Corporation are people in the United States so you can see how badly this can go if you have a single brain cell.
Luckily, they are not considered as such for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Since when has it been a basic human right to be able to go to the library and force them to destroy copies of articles that are unflattering to you?
That is simply not the law. The law makes a distinction between the media - books, newspapers - and data controllers - Facebook, Google. It clearly states the latter is at fault, not the former.

But that's not even the point, the point is that this law is technologically impossible to enforce. The internet is designed and built to remember, trying to make it forget something is pushing water up hill.
It is not impossible. Google manages just fine in Europe right now. It is not trying to forget it. It is saying Google doesn't have the right to this information.

The law also doesn't really have any capacity to deal with the non public databases out there, which means that all that is really going to happen is that the corporations and governments will have more access to information than a regular citizen.
There is nothing bad about governments having more access to information than a regular citizen. I don't see a reason why normal citizens should have access to public databases with birth records, health care records, criminal records, ... for everyone while it is clearly necessary for governments. As for corporations, this is one step in many to force corporations out of having more information than citizens.
 

cntr

Banned
Joni.

Tell me what exactly is the difference between destroying information and making you be incapable of accessing it, in terms of end result.
 
It essentially gives countries the right to censor the global internet if Google backs down. Even the worst dictatorships could censor the entire internet. Legal precedent is a dangerous thing.

More like the dictator would just block google completely and call it a day.
 

El Topo

Member
Global removal is an actual slippery slope when there are numerous countries around the globe that actively censor Internet content. France isn't looking at the big picture here. A few whiny cunts could effectively bring down global search.

How is it a slippery slope if Google can just cease business in a region whose laws they don't like? I was under the impression France was not enforcing this via international contracts, but local European law.

Many companies already actively censor their services globally, e.g. Facebook or Twitter. Google already generates search results based on criteria none of us can look into. They already remove search results for various reasons, e.g. due to copyright issues. The idea that this is what would bring down global search (or the freedom of internet) is ludicrous.
 

iamblades

Member
Luckily, they are not considered as such for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


That is simply not the law. The law makes a distinction between the media - books, newspapers - and data controllers - Facebook, Google. It clearly states the latter is at fault, not the former.


It is not impossible. Google manages just fine in Europe right now. It is not trying to forget it. It is saying Google doesn't have the right to this information.

There is nothing bad about governments having more access to information than a regular citizen. I don't see a reason why normal citizens should have access to public databases with birth records, health care records, criminal records, ... for everyone while it is clearly necessary for governments. As for corporations, this is one step in many to force corporations out of having more information than citizens.

Right, like I said, they are going after the library for storing a card catalog of information, as a way of getting around freedom of the press. It's bullshit.

How is freedom of the press preserved if you can write about something but no one can read it because it's prohibited to index it for search? This is governments paying lip service to the right to privacy knowing that they(and all of their powerful corporate friends) will still have access to the information, while giving them a way to limit and restrict freedom if speech.

I also wouldn't say Google manages 'quite fine' to block content currently, it still indexes plenty of stuff that is supposedly blocked, and God know s how much gets blocked without any merit, because Google isn't even allowed to say what hase been blocked.

Normal citizens already have access to both records and criminal records, that's why we call it public information. All this law does is make it harder for regular people to access public information (about people who have the resources to get themselves delisted anyway).

How is it a positive that corporate directors can use this law to prevent people from having access to mandatory public disclosures? That people can erase history of their crimes if it was 'a long time ago(undefined)'.

This is a law that is almost tailor made for abuse by the powerful to conceal their dirt, and it is another step away from the internet as a medium that is free and open to all people equally, not based on wealth and power.
 

iamblades

Member
How is it a slippery slope if Google can just cease business in a region whose laws they don't like? I was under the impression France was not enforcing this via international contracts, but local European law.

Many companies already actively censor their services globally, e.g. Facebook or Twitter. Google already generates search results based on criteria none of us can look into. They already remove search results for various reasons, e.g. due to copyright issues. The idea that this is what would bring down global search (or the freedom of internet) is ludicrous.

Those examples and this do harm freedom on the internet, and just because a bad thing happens already, doesn't mean we should be using that as an excuse to do the same bad thing for a different reason.

At some point it's death by a thousand cuts, and everything is blocked by some government somewhere, and the internet as we know it is well and truly fucked.
 

Dascu

Member
Iamblades, would you be fine with a system that only blocks access to content if it is erroneous and slanderous, under judicial review of a court of law?


Interesting how the "con" side of the argument is that it would give power to the corporate overlords (corrupt politicians and businesses), whereas the pro side champions it as a way to fight the corporate overlords (Google et al).

I think, if we take this measure with strict duty of care (Google et al. to not block search terms without reason), judicial review (option to have content restored) and democratic oversight (e.g. a Parliamentary and/or independent committee that checks up which search terms were taken out), then I think we can find some sort of compromise, no? Block access (= delete in practical internet terms) to content that is deemed to be illegal or erroneous and slanderous, with some checks and balances. Needs to have worldwide reach to be effective.

Since when has it been a basic human right to be able to go to the library and force them to destroy copies of articles that are unflattering to you?
You can usually sue for retraction in case of untrue defamation. Further, if an article or book or whatever goes online with photos that infringe my privacy (e.g. naked pics), then you can usually get that retracted too. Sometimes copyright can be used as well for using e.g. a quote or a photo of you without permission.
 

iamblades

Member
Iamblades, would you be fine with a system that only blocks access to content if it is erroneous and slanderous, under judicial review of a court of law?

That's more reasonable, as you don't have the right to slander someone, but there are still the issues of technical enforceability, and If this is going to potentially apply globally, we need standards that actually protect free speech. If it was the UK standard of slander and libel, then fuck no. If it met a stronger legal standard like in the US, then it at least wouldn't infringe on anyone's rights.


I still think we as a society need to wrap our heads around the fact that censorship has become technologically impossible, and is not really worth the effort to try.
 

El Topo

Member
Those examples and this do harm freedom on the internet, and just because a bad thing happens already, doesn't mean we should be using that as an excuse to do the same bad thing for a different reason.

It is about the hyperbole and the hypocrisy of many involved.

At some point it's death by a thousand cuts, and everything is blocked by some government somewhere, and the internet as we know it is well and truly fucked.

It's really not complicated. If you don't want to follow the law of a certain country, don't do business there. Then outside of international contracts there is no legal basis to force them to do anything.

This is also not about content blocked by the government, it is about private requests to block links. Contrary to the misinformation spread, this is also not an all-encompassing right that allows you to force Google to remove whatever you want. There are many criteria and there is no existing legal procedure, outside of a lawsuit, to force Google to do anything. For example, it was explicitly stated that one has to take public interest into account.
 

Dascu

Member
That's more reasonable, as you don't have the right to slander someone, but there are still the issues of technical enforceability, and If this is going to potentially apply globally, we need standards that actually protect free speech. If it was the UK standard of slander and libel, then fuck no. If it met a stronger legal standard like in the US, then it at least wouldn't infringe on anyone's rights.


I still think we as a society need to wrap our heads around the fact that censorship has become technologically impossible, and is not really worth the effort to try.

OK, let's clarify.

First, if censorship online was impossible, then you have nothing to worry about. But it practically is possible, by making access to it impossible or really, really difficult to find as it's not going to pop up on internet information aggregators/search engines.

Second, I as a citizen of a country have a right to the defamation/slander/libel rules of my constitution. I should not have to care whatever the rules are in the rest of the world. If there is an article that I could sue to retract from newspapers according to Belgian libel law, then I should be able to do the same effect online. My rights should not be diminished because a different medium or information channel has been used.

I think that last line is one of the essences of Europe's view towards the internet: The rights that we have should not be eroded in the transition to digital. It will be a struggle since the online world is borderless and global, but we should not just accept *any* change in our established rights because it is in practice more difficult. I think it's good that there is at least the attempt to do so, via measures such as the 'right to be forgotten' (which is simply an online equivalent to existing privacy laws). The evolution of court cases, legislation and democratic judgment will show where the balance will fall. Maybe people will agree to lesser privacy in exchange of an open and convenient digital world. It's already happening. But maybe it's good to push the brakes every now and then?
 

Dascu

Member
This is also not about content blocked by the government, it is about private requests to block links. Contrary to the misinformation spread, this is also not an all-encompassing right that allows you to force Google to remove whatever you want. There are many criteria and there is no existing legal procedure, outside of a lawsuit, to force Google to do anything. For example, it was explicitly stated that one has to take public interest into account.
Uh-huh. Search engines have a duty of care. If a convicted rapist wants his info deleted, and Google does so, then that means Google fucked up because that's not what the Court of Justice and EU rules are saying.

If I were to be cynical, Google may be exaggerating some requests for data deletion. They hate the law and they benefit from bad press attention around it.
 

iamblades

Member
OK, let's clarify.

First, if censorship online was impossible, then you have nothing to worry about. But it practically is possible, by making access to it impossible or really, really difficult to find as it's not going to pop up on internet information aggregators/search engines.

Second, I as a citizen of a country have a right to the defamation/slander/libel rules of my constitution. I should not have to care whatever the rules are in the rest of the world. If there is an article that I could sue to retract from newspapers according to Belgian libel law, then I should be able to do the same effect online. My rights should not be diminished because a different medium or information channel has been used.

I think that last line is one of the essences of Europe's view towards the internet: The rights that we have should not be eroded in the transition to digital. It will be a struggle since the online world is borderless and global, but we should not just accept *any* change in our established rights because it is in practice more difficult. I think it's good that there is at least the attempt to do so, via measures such as the 'right to be forgotten' (which is simply an online equivalent to existing privacy laws).

Just because censorship is ineffective, doesn't mean the attempts to try it will not damage the internet. We don't really want a balkanized internet where everyone's experience is different depending on their jurisdiction, do we?

I will also repeat that existing privacy rights are being grossly misapplied in this case. The library is not infringing on your privacy rights because it has a collection of articles that you would rather not be public.
 

Dascu

Member
Just because censorship is ineffective, doesn't mean the attempts to try it will not damage the internet. We don't really want a balkanized internet where everyone's experience is different depending on their jurisdiction, do we?

I will also repeat that existing privacy rights are being grossly misapplied in this case. The library is not infringing on your privacy rights because it has a collection of articles that you would rather not be public.

First, that's exactly why France wants an international application. French citizens should have the same protection online from any angle and any location. If it's not internationally applicable, that means the French person will have his privacy protected only from French internet traffic. That would make it ineffective.

Second, no, this is not a misapplication of privacy rights. If a library has naked pics of me, I can have that taken down. Same goes for online. Frankly my application IRL is stronger: I can have the book removed. Online the book is still there, but people just won't know it's in the library.

I would advise you also to read these guidelines form the EU Commission: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/data-protection/files/factsheets/factsheet_data_protection_en.pdf
 

iamblades

Member
It is about the hyperbole and the hypocrisy of many involved.



It's really not complicated. If you don't want to follow the law of a certain country, don't do business there. Then outside of international contracts there is no legal basis to force them to do anything.

This is also not about content blocked by the government, it is about private requests to block links. Contrary to the misinformation spread, this is also not an all-encompassing right that allows you to force Google to remove whatever you want. There are many criteria and there is no existing legal procedure, outside of a lawsuit, to force Google to do anything. For example, it was explicitly stated that one has to take public interest into account.

The lack of existing legal procedure is exactly the problem with this law. You are putting the responsibility of weighing people's right to privacy vs others rights to a free press in the hands of some Google paralegal, who have to decide, under threat of potential lawsuits, without any possibility for the publisher to respond. That is fucking terrifying precendent, and it baffles me that people can't see the enormous abuse potential.

I also find it kind of amusing that people consider 'fighting Google's power' to mean 'give Google the authority and responsibility to censor the internet with no court order'.

That is an enormous amount of power you are putting in the hands of a massive corporation.
 

Dascu

Member
The lack of existing legal procedure is exactly the problem with this law. You are putting the responsibility of weighing people's right to privacy vs others rights to a free press in the hands of some Google paralegal, who have to decide, under threat of potential lawsuits, without any possibility for the publisher to respond. That is fucking terrifying precendent, and it baffles me that people can't see the enormous abuse potential.

I also find it kind of amusing that people consider 'fighting Google's power' to mean 'give Google the authority and responsibility to censor the internet with no court order'.

That is an enormous amount of power you are putting in the hands of a massive corporation.

Yes, this is an issue. Normally you might be able to sue Google for damages due to faulty or erroneous application of the law as an interested party. I could for instance see either the article's author, publisher or in some cases a victim (e.g. rape victim in case of rapist erroneously succeeding in getting his data removed) having the legal competence. But that's a big burden.

That's why I think there should be some kind of watchdog, government and/or independent with judicial authority to check what Google's delisting. EU harmonization is needed for this.

So there are some practical concerns. We need to get those checks and balances right. And even if that is a difficult exercise, it's one we should undertake because the alternative is complete powerlessness of an individual towards the online information machine.
 
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