Google ‘right to be forgotten’ ruling may never come to US

May 25, 2014
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Google ‘right to be forgotten’ ruling may never come to US

In Europe, Google is facing a “right to be forgotten” ruling by the courts. That ruling, which lets users ask that Google dismiss webpages about them from search results, is currently being worked logistically by Google. As for when the United States or other countries may get that functionality — well, it’s not so cut and dry.


The ruling deals a massive blow to Google, who now have to figure out how to handle the onslaught of requests they’l likely receive. They also have to decide how to funnel those requests, and a protocol for adjudicating requests. They also have to formulate terms on just what an honorable request is. All told, it’s a pretty big undertaking.

European and American sensibilities are a bit different, as is our right to privacy. America also has slightly different freedom of speech statutes, and it’s believed a “right to be forgotten” utility in the US would cause a major dustup. As complicated as the task itself it, it seems navigating tricky legal waters may prove equally turbulent for Google stateside.

US privacy attorney David Keating isn’t so confident the ruling will make its way to the states. “It seems aspirational, not a reality, to comply with such a standard” he said. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales is equally skeptical, saying the ruling is a “technologically incompetent violation of human rights”, and “the danger is that search engines now are faced with an uncertain legal future which may require them to censor all kinds of things when someone thinks it is `irrelevant’.”

It seems the practical application is not as cut and dry as some might have hoped. Though Google is making headway in Europe, we’ll likely never have the same courtesy in the US.

Source: The Associated Press


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