Musician attempts to use EU Right To Be Forgotten to hide a bad review

Musician Dejan Lazic has cited the Right To Be Forgotten as a reason why a negative review about his performance should be erased from Google searches.

The Croatian pianist requested that  a piece written about him in the Washingon Post should be removed  as it was “simply irrelevant for the arts”. The review also described Lazic’s playing as “cartoon-like”, to which he felt this was “defamatory, mean-spirited, optionated, offensive”.

This is the first of its kind that the publication has received, and raises more questions about the use of the law within the EU, and how each case will be dealt with.

When searching for Dejan Lazic the negative review appears on the first page of Google. Lazic then requested that the news paper remove the article on the basis that the EU “right to be fortotten” allowed for it’s removal. However the law is based on removing outdated or irrelevant information, and is target towards Google’s display of search results, rather than removal from the website in question.

After receiving this request, the Washington Post proceeded to write an article about this, which drew more attention to the original review.

For his part, Lazic believes that he has a right to control his own image, and that reviewer Anna Midgette is holding a grudge against certain acts who are singled out for harsh judgment. In his view Midgette mischaracterized his 2010 performance at the Kennedy Center and slandered him as a performer, out of ignorance or malice.

“I tried to make it very clear in my review that I thought this was a pianist of significant ability, and for that I thought he could do better than he did,” Midgette said.

Since the E.U. enshrined it in May, the basic premise of the ruling is this:

Individuals have the right to their personal information, and should have some control over their personal search results. If a search for your name on Google or Bing turns up “inadequate, irrelevant or … excessive” links, the court ruled, you should be able to ask the search engine to remove them.

The far reaching consequences of the ruling continue to be felt.

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How will Right To be forgotten work?

1. How will Google and other search engines determine what’s “relevant”? Someone applying for a job might feel that a link to a past nightclub altercation isn’t relevant and should be deleted. The prospective employer might feel it’s very relevant (especially if the employer is another nightclub). In Germany, a former SS commando named Henrich Boere who was a Nazi hit man during World War II tried to invoke the right to be forgotten in bringing charges against reporters who secretly videotaped his confession. A judge acquitted the reporters. But the question remains: Whose standard of relevancy applies?

2. What does it mean for personal information to be “inadequate”? If a news story mentions a drunk-driving arrest but fails to note that the driver was Phi Beta Kappa, is that inadequate? No single link can be expected to portray a person in all of his or her complexity. If that’s what adequacy means, it’s an impossibly high standard that could lead to wholesale destruction of the system of links that make up the Internet. The decision “allows individuals to complain to search engines about information they do not like with no legal oversight,” Index on Censorship, an advocacy group, said in a statement. “This is akin to marching into a library and forcing it to pulp books.”

3. If passage of time is important, as indicated by the “no longer relevant” standard, then how much time must pass? Is it two months for a mildly embarrassing gaffe at a holiday party but five years for a bankruptcy filing? Statutes of limitations have grown out of common law, developing over centuries in tandem with changing societal norms. The European Court of Justice is essentially ordering Google and others to create a parallel statute of limitations for Internet links with no history or principles to go by.

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EU Rules On Right To Be Forgotten on Google

Google has been told that user have Right To Be Forgotten

Google received requests to remove objectionable personal information from its search engine just hours after the European judges ruled people have the “right to be forgotten,” sources say.

The take down requests came after the European Court of Justice ruled Internet search engines must remove information deemed “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant” or face a fine.

The ruling only compels Google to remove the link to the information, rather than the information itself.

The case highlights the battle between freedom of expression and privacy


If you are looking to get your personal content removed from Google contact us now for a free quote!

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