Google Inc has launched a service through which European citizens can request that links that they consider to be "objectionable" material disappear from search results, the first step in complying with a court decision on the "right to be forgotten".
Although the position of Larry Page, co-founder and CEO of Google, regarding the European ruling against Google on the “right to be forgotten”, was clear when pointing out that there was a risk of damaging the new creation and the strengthening of the next generation On the Internet, led by repressive governments seeking to restrict online communication, Google has responded to the decision of the European Court of Justice, introducing a mechanism that could lead to large amounts of private information disappearing from Google.
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Through an online form, available from today Friday, it will be allowed in Europe, in an easy way, to request Google to censor links from other Internet sites if citizens think that the information about them is outdated and harmful.
Google hopes to strike a balance between blocking harmful private information that affects ordinary Europeans, while preserving links to pages of public interest, such as articles about corrupt public officials.
This initiative by Google is a sample of its new position on Europe, the company will announce a committee made up largely of external experts to advise it on how to deal with its new privacy responsibilities, derived from the European ruling.
This Expert Committee will be directed by Eric Schmidt, President of Google, and David Drummond, general counsel, committee members will include individuals such as Jimmy Wales, director of Wikipedia, together with academics and legal experts from a number of European countries. It will also be part Frank La Rue (United Nations), responsible for the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression. For Spain, the representative on the Committee of Experts is Jose Luis Piñar, former director of the Data Protection Agency and Vice Chairman - European Working Party on Data Protection. Among other prominent names is Luciano Floridi, Professor of Philosophy and Ethics at the University of Oxford.
One of the functions of this Committee will be to try to develop a long-term approach to deal with what is expected to be a barrage of requests of approximately half a billion requests in Europe.
Evaluation procedure and form
In compliance with European regulations, each individual request will be evaluated and an attempt will be made to balance the privacy rights of the person with the public's right to know and disseminate information ”.
Google notes that to carry out the evaluation of applications, it will be considered if the results include outdated information about a person, as well as if there is a public interest in the information, such as information on professional malpractice, criminal convictions and public conduct of officials.
The form includes a space for users to submit unacceptable links and a box for the person to explain why the link is "irrelevant, obsolete, or inappropriate."
To make an application, the person must present a digital copy of an official identification, (eg a valid driving license), and select from a drop-down menu of 32 European countries, the country whose law is applicable to European regulations.
The complexity of the sentence and its restrictive impact on the digital society
Larry Page admitted that the US company has abided by the ruling and promised a new level of engagement in Europe on privacy issues. He stated verbatim that "I would have liked to have been more involved in a real debate ... in Europe," he said. "That is one of the things that we have learned from these, that we are starting a real process of going and talking to people."
This stance represents a significant change of tone for a company like Google that had previously taken strong stances in defense of its principles of full information transparency, in the face of a series of legal battles in European courts over privacy and copyright. .
"We're trying now to be more European and think about it maybe more of a European context," said Google's chief executive of the new approach. "A very significant amount of time is going to be spent in Europe speaking."
However, Larry Page pointed out once again the damage to digital companies that this type of regulation implies in Europe. He argued that Internet startups face a significant new layer of regulatory complexity. That could have hurt Google when it was still in its "three people in a garage" stage, he added.
"We are a great company and we can respond to these types of concerns and spend money on them and deal with them, it is not a problem for us," he said. "But as a whole, as we regulate the Internet, I think we are not going to see the kind of innovation that we have seen." Larry Page has also stated that the ruling will give encouragement to repressive regimes in other places around the world that are trying to increase censorship online: “It is going to be used by other governments that are not as innovative and progressive as in Europe.
The subject originated numerous criticisms in the technology industry and experts:
- The European ruling on the right to be forgotten unleashes a wave of criticism
- The European judgment and the right to remember
- How to delete personal data on Google