Google has lost nother important legal battle today, as a European Judge found the search giant is responsible for what information is discovered via search. The judgement would hold Google accountable for removing information from their search engine should a user ask them to. It’s a form of digital privacy we’re not accustomed to, and could have widespread implications for how search is used and/or abused.
The case has its genesis in Spain, where a fellow who had his house auctioned for failure to pay taxes asked that Google remove information about his issues from their search results. After Google refused his request, the case was brought before the European Union Court of Justice. Now, if a European user specifically asks that Google remove content relating to them, the company has to oblige.
This doesn’t affect web content, only search results. A website is free to publish what they like, but search results are a different beast in this case. The Judgement essentially holds Google liable for the content their search engine returns, and provides a form of personal information retraction for users.
In statements made to various press outlets (SlashGear included), Google said “This is a disappointing ruling for search engines and online publishers in general”. They went on to note they would take time to examine the ruling, and ramifications it could have.
It’s a bit of a twisted stance for Google to make. At the same time they fight to safeguard our information and online privacy, they don’t want to toy with search, their golden goose. Google currently doesn’t have a friendly method for users to ask that data be removed, but we’ve sourced Google’s content removal page, which might help if you want information taken down.
Source: The Wall Street Journal