Deleting Personal Information Online

Deleting personal information from the internet is not black and white…  This isn’t so much the “right to be forgotten” as the “right not to be found”.

It’s no wonder the U.S. search giant is unhappy.

Whatever your position on online privacy and whether or not an individual having the right to request certain personal information be removed amounts to censorship, it’s hard not to argue it’s the originating source that should be targeted, not an “agnostic” search engine.

Making Google — and its search engine ilk — responsible for the content it indexes is a slippery slope to say the least and could have multiple ramifications around the censorship of all sorts of “data”. (Safe harbour, anyone?)

Instead, what should probably happen is that Google’s spiders simply respect information that has been removed or de-indexed by the originating source online, following a privacy offence under EU law.

That said, this does get awfully complex when you consider things like Google cache, or noble projects like Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, regardless of where you sit in the debate between right to privacy and freedom of speech.

However this eventually shakes out — the EU has been pushing hard to legislate specifically on the issue — the “right to be forgotten” is certainly going to be messy.


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