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Will Google Include “Right to Be Forgotten” Requests in its “Transparency Report”?

May 21, 2014

Google and its catspaw the Electronic Frontier Foundation have a lot of experience with takedown notices from the Chilling Effects Clearing House to Google’s “Transparency Report.”  Google has been tracking takedown notices for a long time, now running over 20 million takedown notices a month for search alone (and for their automated takedown tool alone).

After a major victory for the protection of personal information in the “right to be forgotten” case in the European Court of Justice, Google has now started working on a takedown tool for individuals to protect their own intellectual property–their personal data.

Bloomberg’s Aoife White and Karin Matussek spun it this way:

Regulators in both Germany and Ireland said they had spoken with Google about the verdict, which gave European residents a “right to be forgotten” online. Google said that the company would release an online tool to remove personal information, Arne Gerhard, a spokesman for privacy officials in Hamburg, Germany, said in a phone interview.

The ruling by the EU Court of Justice opens the way for European users to flood Internet firms with takedown requests, adding costs and time to what they already do in content removal [aww, really?  Not like Google makes money from harvesting personal data or anything]. Google, and other search engines, will have to make the first decision about whether to remove links that may infringe privacy rights before regulators or courts intervene.

“That’s the first step everybody has to take who thinks personal information is displayed on Google that shouldn’t be there — ask Google to remove it,” Gerhard said.

One of the cognitive phenomenon we encounter with the magnitude of Google’s bad behavior is that people just have a hard time grasping why Google gets told so many times a month that they are doing it wrong.  Members of Congress also are no exceptions–and frankly I think this is the idea.  If Google can get regulators used to the idea that their screwing up nearly a million times a day is the new normal, then whatever they have to give up to maintain their business model will be relatively small.

Even so–why wouldn’t Google want to include in its Transparency Report the number of times they get “right to be forgotten” takedown notices?  It couldn’t be a one-to-one analog as the point of the personal data takedown is to remove data and increase privacy so the URLs and “Reporting Organizations” would not be disclosed.  But that should make it even easier–just a raw count, thanks very much.  Americans would probably be very interested in that information.

Google Transparency Report

 

 

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