UK orders Google to kill links to 'right to be forgotten' stories

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UK orders Google to kill links to 'right to be forgotten' stories

"Right to be forgotten" Google search "John Smith", "some results may have been removed under data protection law in Europe."

The whole point of the European Union's "right to be forgotten" laws is to remove links to irrelevant or outdated data about a persons life from Google, but a vicious cycle of news about the removal of links to news is making that impossible. Think about it: Google removes links about your sordid past from its search engine, but then adds a news story about that link removal that still includes your name and the old misdemeanor. Yeah, it's kind of messy -- which is why a UK court is ordering Google to remove links to stories about removing links that can be found by searching for the original complainant's name.

Google initially refused to remove search results to stories about the "right to be forgotten" law, explaining that the censorship of this content is "a matter of significant public importance." The UK Information Commissioner's Office actually agrees, but with the caveat that the specific case in question is hanging a non-public figure's laundry out to dry for no good reason. "Content relating to the decisions to delist search results may be newsworthy and in the public interest," the Commissioner's Office writes. "However, that interest can be adequately and properly met without a search made on the basis of the complainant's name."

The Commission has given Google 35 days to remove the offending links, though Google has the right to appeal the order. It's a tough issue. What's more important -- the right to be forgotten, or ensuring that access to relevant news about search censorship is available? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

[Image credit: Maurice Savage / Alamy]

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