• Andrew Shotland

    Clients are starting to get these notices for totally benign news articles. Kind of ridiculous.

  • Dr. Pete

    Honestly, I wonder if Google is following the letter of the law and allowing it to be a mess because that’s the best way to put pressure on the EU. If they use their discretion and do this “right”, the upshot may not be that bad. If they let it spin out of control, the EU might cave and Google will win the larger battle.

  • J_Boch

    Interesting to see how Google has chosen to fight this.

    I will say this now, the “Streisand effect” will burn more then one individual who tries to hide misdeeds that were already forgotten.

  • J_Boch

    Thinking on this further, this really has the possibility to REALLY muck things up by making all comment sections a liability.

    Say I compete against Marketingland and live in Europe. What is to stop me from making an anonymous profile, posting slanderous comments about myself or about someone I pay to perform the take down request. I do this for articles I compete against Marketingland on, maybe the whole site.

    The comments ARE inflammatory (intentionally so) so Google accepts my request. Marketingland gets notice that all their content has been taken down, but does not know it is because of something in the comments with no relation to the actual content.

    Even if Marketingland where to find these comments are the string that ties everything together, and remove them, they have no recourse to reinstate their excellent content under this system. They are hosed, I will gain, and it has nothing at all to do with ‘privacy’.

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    Possibly, but I don’t think that’s the case here. In particular, they could have followed the letter of the law as I pointed out in my highlight from a previous article and rejected everything. That would have caused the privacy bodies directly to have to deal with procedures, which would have gotten the EU much more motivated to do something.

  • Dr. Pete

    Fair point. I just wonder if that would’ve caused a “Google is cheating!” uproar. This may be a low friction way to make the system self-destruct. Then again, it seems like this idea may have been doomed to self-destruct no matter what Google did.

  • http://gurueffect.com/ Michael George

    Utterly ridiculous. This is a mess and it’s going to get messier. Wherever there are rules, there are those who strive to upset those rules. I know, because I might be one of those people. Skynet…er…Google is already way too powerful. Now they are taking part in this? It doesn’t surprise me at all. The only thing I am surprised at are the people who are surprised.

  • http://www.seo-theory.com/ Michael Martinez

    Your argument boils down to this: We should allow Google and only Google to determine what other people see about us. You need to think long and hard before demanding that kind of world because you won’t be able to give it back if you get what you ask for.

  • http://www.seo-theory.com/ Michael Martinez

    “Honestly, I wonder if Google is following the letter of the law and allowing it to be a mess because that’s the best way to put pressure on the EU.”

    That is exactly what they are doing. They strive to publicly humiliate anyone who invokes their rights under the DMCA and this is no different.

  • http://sushubh.net/ chromaniac

    Google is asking for identification as proof that you are who you say you are.

  • Larry McKoder

    Google’s CEO once said that “every young person one day will be entitled automatically to change his or her name on reaching adulthood in order to disown youthful hijinks stored on their friends’ social media sites.”

    I think the right to be forgotten is a far better idea. We need to bring this law to the United States.

  • narg

    Are you serious? We have an amendment against government censorship! Never gonna happen, never! Thank God too!

  • J_Boch

    I covered that. Fake slander against yourself, or pay/find some guy to be slandered and file the request in his name.

    A drivers license is hardly a high bar to clear.

  • Larry McKoder

    It is not the government that is censoring. It is me censoring what you can learn about me by googling my name.

    Today you can learn my age, my home address, my home phone number, names of my family members, and so on without ever talking to me. I didn’t publish any of this information online and I don’t want this information online and if it is online I don’t want it to be findable via google.

    The europeans are doing something right.

    PS: I notice you are using an alias. Clearly you value your privacy too, and would rather not follow Google’s recommendation of changing your name every few years.

  • GarettRogers

    I wonder if you could get a site or page removed by Google by simply mentioning someone’s name in some comments or something?

  • JPB

    So, the best way to neuter this law would be for multiple sites to link to this and other articles resuscitating the links. Thus, the right to be forgotten turns into the reality of being remembered even more loudly.

  • http://www.seo-theory.com/ Michael Martinez

    Google is abusing loopholes in the law to embarrass and humiliate people. They have no interest in user privacy or upholding laws. The best way to neuter their bad behavior is to recognize it for what it is and refuse to support it. No search engine should be more powerful than the rule of law. That is insane.

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    That’s likely the case, it’s sounding like, with one of these examples involving Stan O’Neal. And it would be an interesting tactic.

  • http://www.seo-theory.com/ Michael Martinez

    And who is forcing Google to raise a huge public stink about this in order to stir up the controversy? This is a manufactured hullabaloo. Google has always been opposed to individual rights to privacy and they have flouted many laws (sometimes paying huge fines for doing so).

    I would not be surprised if people in Europe start filing defamation suits against Google for sending out all those Webmaster notices. They may even challenge the notices in the SERPs as being excessive, since the purpose of removing the unwanted content was to protect their privacy.

  • blackdreamhunk

    What gives the right for news groups to censorship people comments?
    Google no different than news organization. Wasn’t Google plus created
    to for censorship and control?

  • blackdreamhunk

    where are my comments????

  • Chris Moran

    Hi Danny. I’m from the Guardian and I’m afraid that you’re wrong on the pure name search point… or something even weirder is going on. One of the reasons it’s confused is that Google appear to have reversed the decision on the Scottish referee (http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/jul/03/google-right-to-be-forgotten-law-uk-news-search-requests). At the point James wrote his article yesterday, Google was not returning the three articles for his name and site:theguardian.com. Suddenly yesterday that changed. The other pieces are unaffected and still don’t return when you combine the correct name with site:theguardian.com. Take a look at the Paris piece and the lawyer piece mentioned in mine and James’s articles and it’s pretty clear.

  • http://www.timacheson.com/ Tim Acheson

    Google is deliberately removing whole pages, clear public interest content, and content with questionable privacy implications, when it does not have to.

    Furthermore, the corporation is then informing the media about it to provoke misleading criticism of the EU ruling that it opposes. This is classic media manipulation. It is Google’s actions that are ridiculous, not the ruling. You are too gullible if you cannot see through this transparent and typically Google propaganda exercise.

  • http://www.luanaspinetti.com/ Luana Spinetti

    Just a couple of considerations:

    1. It’s surprising – yet concerning – how much national or union laws affect the whole world, not just the limited area of the nation it was ruled in. I’m Italian, yet the FTC disclosure law affected me as a blogger and now, EU’s privacy law (the cookie law and this new “right to be forgotten” ruing) affects everybody in world. Looks like the Internet makes for one big nation where all of us live.

    2. The law is not wrong, but it should be taken with a *balanced* approach. The right to privacy can’t turn into a paranoia or worst, censorship, and the freedom of speech can’t turn into a right to defame people with false accusations. As they say, truth is in the middle:

    – Google should make (and communicate) a distinction between requests made out of paranoia (or political manipulation of data) and requests triggered by defamation, lies and a motivated sense of danger. The point is finding the balance between two rights: privacy and speech.

    – If the thing goes overboard, I know that, as a EU citizen, I’m not going to support this law any further. Citizens can push law modifications if they act together and provide strong motivations. Mass paranoia and censorship, if they happen, are good reasons to amend the law.

    – Luana

  • Pat Grady

    What a tangled web they’ve woven, logically. Calling it a “right” sure doesn’t help.

  • Pat Grady

    Since many EU countries make Denial a crime, I’m wondering what will happen when some Holocaust perp’s descendants want to exercise their “right” to be forgotten…

  • Pat Grady

    If you think I’m being extreme, read this: