Why courts should not interfere with search engines

May 16th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Paedophiles, scandal-hit politicians and others seeking to cleanse their online reputations are demanding that remove any links to inconvenient truths about their past, in the wake of a historic legal judgement, it has emerged.

The ‘take down’ requests to the world’s biggest internet search engine came after a European Court ruling on Tuesday that people have the “right to be forgotten.” The controversial decision, by the Court of Justice of the European Union, was in response to a case brought by a Spanish man who complained that an auction notice of his repossessed home on Google’s search results had infringed his privacy. 

So who will benefit from this barmy ruling?

And it has emerged that a former British politician seeking re-election has demanded that links to information about his behaviour in office be removed, while a man convicted of possessing child abuse images has requested links to pages about his conviction be deleted. And a doctor wants negative reviews from patients removed from the results, according to the BBC.

Good on the European Union Court of Justice for ensuring paedophiles can demand information about their convictions be hidden. What a blow for human rights.

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15 Responses to “Why courts should not interfere with search engines”

  1. Nick R (500 comments) says:

    The only people to benefit from this will be lawyers.

    Cheers!

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  2. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    Harrassing old men for incidents from 50 years ago is obscene in itself.

    We now live in an age where a political party can advocate for incest. (Act)

    Lowering of the consensual age has been advocated. ( Phil Goff)

    Yet the end of the Nat/Lab coalition is never in sight

    Our only respite is MMP.

    But the question is, can the US be called a democracy when only two parties are allowed to be formally registered ??

    Hegemony is the real creepiness

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  3. gump (1,553 comments) says:

    We already have the Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act in New Zealand that removes details of less serious offending from a person’s criminal record after seven years of good behaviour.

    Sometimes it’s better for things to be forgotten so that people can move on with their lives.

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  4. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    “We already have the Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act in New Zealand that removes details of less serious offending from a person’s criminal record after seven years of good behaviour.”

    Grey area though. What constitutes less serious offending ?

    I would think non custodial offences but I don’t think that is the case. There is no reflection on criminal records that no custodial sentence was applied. How are employers supposed to know?

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  5. gump (1,553 comments) says:

    @wikiriwhis business

    “Grey area though. What constitutes less serious offending ?”

    ——————

    The individual must have:

    1. no convictions within the last 7 years;

    2. never been sentenced to a custodial sentence (e.g. imprisonment, corrective training, borstal);

    3. never been ordered by a Court during a criminal case to be detained in a hospital due to his/her mental condition, instead of being sentenced;

    4. not been convicted of a “specified offence” (e.g. sexual offending against children and young people or the mentally impaired)(see interpretation section for a full list);

    5. paid in full any fine, reparation or costs ordered by the Court in a criminal case;

    6. never been indefinitely disqualified from driving under section 65 Land Transport Act 1998 or earlier equivalent provision.

    http://www.justice.govt.nz/services/criminal-records/about-the-criminal-records-clean-slate-act-2004

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  6. labrator (1,849 comments) says:

    They should just list the requests to remove the information at the top of the search results.

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  7. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    “5. paid in full any fine, reparation or costs ordered by the Court in a criminal case;”

    So if you’ve ever had to pay a fine for a simple misdemeanour your record won’t be cleared.

    Hardly encouraging and really amounts to the clean slate act being almost unworkable.

    Section 5 should be removed.

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  8. gump (1,553 comments) says:

    @wikiriwhis business

    “So if you’ve ever had to pay a fine for a simple misdemeanour your record won’t be cleared.”

    ————————

    No – you are misreading it. The Act says that in order to qualify for a clean slate then you must have paid all of the fines/reparations/costs that were imposed by the court.

    The clean slate won’t be given to the ratbags who do not pay their fines/reparations/costs.

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  9. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    Whiriwiki: You overlooked the fact Goff also wants to dilute incest laws . . . what a foul and evil little creep!~

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  10. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    No censorship – of any kind – for any reason – ever, is acceptable.

    Don’t assume what is censored is what YOU dislike.

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  11. 103PapPap (129 comments) says:

    What is bonkers about this decision is that it is not the search engine at fault (I assume Bing also finds this) but the original document posted on the source website that should be removed.
    So what is going to happen when Papers Past gets indexed by search engines?

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  12. Fentex (909 comments) says:

    This idea of a right to be forgotten is a bit silly.

    I suspect some people think it’s an antidote to youthful foolishness and counter to over-exposure by the ease of observation of people today.

    And while it doesn’t seem terribly important with regard to largely meaningless rubbish young people might write and unimportant or private observations of individuals the only people who are going to want to use such provisions are those who want to avoid accountability and hide what embarrasses them.

    I write under a pseudonym, am I trying to have a cake and eat it to in dismissing a right to be forgotten while I cloak myself?

    I write under a pseudonym for several reasons, mostly to remind myself to try and concentrate on argument and not personality on public forums and to deny material for ad hominem attacks. If I did something newsworthy and my identity was connected to my pseudonym it would be my tough luck, I don’t think I ought have any right to compel people to erase what they learn.

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  13. Scott1 (482 comments) says:

    I’m more worried about what other ways could we abuse this system…

    1) I imagine I would find it quite difficult to go and trawl the net for thousands of articles about myself and then apply to get them all removed. However if I was an expert in doing this I might get a piece of software that found every single article and applied to have it all removed all in one go.

    2) links to information about me will also include information about others (possibly via our direct relationship or maybe by coincidence). If I have access to the right systems I could use that to selectively control information about other people, or more usefully – to influence the “Google record” on topics (like political debates) far beyond the degree to which I might normally be able to.

    I could even insert personal information intentionally for that purpose….

    Google would probably try to resist this but since they need to be careful not to be acting illegally I might be able to overwhelm their ability to deal with it carefully and force them to just start automatically honoring take down requests

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  14. Viking2 (11,284 comments) says:

    103PapPap (117 comments) says:
    May 16th, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    What is bonkers about this decision is that it is not the search engine at fault (I assume Bing also finds this) but the original document posted on the source website that should be removed.
    So what is going to happen when Papers Past gets indexed by search engines?
    =======================
    Google had already put up their case and its basically that they do the searching and find the articles. If the person doesn’t like the article then they need to ask the original publisher to remove it. Not Google’s prerogative.
    They also pointed out that if they were to introduce filters then they may remove both the good and the bad.

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  15. Ed Snack (1,801 comments) says:

    Why the rants against incest, surely marriage equality means that incest is permissible between consenting adults. That’s what all the slogans and propaganda was saying, “marriage equality”. And equality applies to all, if you supported marriage equality either you were dupe, or you support incest; or of course we’re back to redefining words so that they resonate with people even if the meaning is incorrect. But that would be utterly dishonest would it not ?

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