Google Holds Debates on 'Right to Be Forgotten'

EU rule calls for removal of some links from search engines
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 9, 2014 3:25 PM CDT
Google Holds Debates on 'Right to Be Forgotten'
In this 2007 file photo, exhibitors from Google work at an industrial fair in Hanover, Germany.   (AP Photo/Jens Meyer, File)

Google is touring Europe to discuss a controversial new rule in the region: the "right to be forgotten," which allows individuals to seek the removal of unwanted search-engine links about them. While those on one side of the argument see a victory for privacy, others see censorship, the Wall Street Journal reports. Google is on the latter side, the Journal notes, but the company says it has already received some 90,000 removal requests, Sky News reports; it's agreed to more than half of them, it says. Requested removals range from embarrassing pictures to online bullying to criminal records, Sky notes. Google's debate tour is hitting seven European capitals, starting with Madrid today.

Google's question, as the BBC reports: How "one person's right to be forgotten should be balanced with the public's right to information." Among its panelists are executive chair Eric Schmidt, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, a UN human rights official, and the former head of Spain's data protection body, Reuters reports. A privacy leader in France has doubts about the tour, seeing a "PR war," she tells Reuters. "Google is trying to set the terms of the debate," she says. "They want to be seen as being open and virtuous, but they handpicked the members of the council, will control who is in the audience and what comes out of the meetings." European officials are set to gather later this month to clarify "right to be forgotten" rules. (More Google stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.