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#RightToBeForgotten - #Google Asked to Pull News Stories by #UKAuthority

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After months of looming threat, it seems like the 'right to be forgotten' clause is coming into full effect. The UK Information Commissioner's Office have ordered Google to remove 9 news links to current reports which reference older news that have been removed as part of the act. Basically, some new stories had been posted about the right to be forgotten act that referenced the articles that have been removed under it about a 10-year-old criminal offence, including the name of the offender, which was the most sensitive part of the issue.

The aim is to remove any content relating to those stories when the claimants name is searched (hence my vagueness). Google has another 32 days to comply with this request, although they can appeal it if they want to. How does the right to be forgotten clause work? It's pretty basic - anyone European resident who wants outdated information to be pulled from search results can do so by request and Google have to honour it. The clause was born out of increasing concerns about online privacy and data handling in the EU, spurring disputes with Google, Facebook and others.

The ruling made about this particular case took into account that journalistic content covering it would need to relate back to the original story, but saw no reason why the claimant's name would need to be included in said stories (like this one, for instance). It's kind of ironic, as was the fact that many journalistic publications actually linked back to the articles that were being removed by the webmaster when they reported on it, creating a kind of weird vicious cycle.

Right to be forgotten is going to take some serious getting used to and the amount of ongoing cases is only going to increase more rapidly as more people are made aware of it. The trouble is, while it directly affects Google, it only indirectly affects journalistic publications, so they don't really have to do anything. Having said that, right to be forgotten is not relevant to material which is still within public interest, so anything that is removed from search engines is unlikely to be material that news sites are desperate to refer people back to.

Online privacy is becoming more and more muddled as governments seek to have some kind of presiding authority over how it's managed. Complicating things further, censorship and privacy laws are vastly different not only across the world, but even within the EU. International online information is going to start factoring into this eventually and that's going to open up a whole hornet's nest of new issues.


Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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#RightToBeForgotten - #Google Asked to Pull News Stories by #UKAuthority Reviewed by Callum Davies on Sunday, August 23, 2015 Rating: 5
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