Google and European Data Protection Law

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Google and European Data Protection Law

Postby catgate » Mon Jun 02, 2014 11:57 am

Has anyone got a clue as to what this all means and how it affects "the man in the street" (or even one little old Yorkshireman sat at his computer)? :?
Oh, sod it.
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Postby guy » Mon Jun 02, 2014 1:13 pm

From what little I have seen, if a Google search throws up certain kinds of information about you that you don't want online, then you can go through a bureaucratic process to have Google stop showing it in search results.

What dark secrets of little-known Yorkshiremen might have leaked out into cyberspace? I am dying to know! ;)
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Postby MadTux » Mon Jun 02, 2014 2:40 pm

I think that law is utterly loony, since all that Google (the search engine) does is index the stuff on the web. If googling my name gets me results I don't want, I should contact the owners of the offending websites, not make the search engine hide the results. :evil:

The next thing that will happen is that governments decide they don't want certain material (like NSA scandals) to be searchable from Google, and we'll have to use DuckDuckGo or abandon the Web to make something new.
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Postby johnhudson » Mon Jun 02, 2014 8:49 pm

The European Data Protection Convention, which was passed in the 1980s, lays down a number of criteria for the quality of data.
If someone fails to satisfy these criteria in the EU they must correct it; the problem is things which do not satisfy the criteria on a site which is not within EU jurisdiction.

The EU court has effectively ruled that someone who links to data from a site outside the EU so that it can be viewed inside the EU must meet the same criteria as if the data had been published in the EU.
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Postby catgate » Mon Jun 02, 2014 9:37 pm

guy wrote:
What dark secrets of little-known Yorkshiremen might have leaked out into cyberspace? I am dying to know! ;)


That is the point of my question. I was wondering if I might get the opportunity to become acquainted with what I did in that period before my mind failed altogether.

However from the other replies it seems to me as though it is yet another great pile of bovine excrement issuing from the European Madhouse.
Could it be to keep hidden the murky secrets of lechery?
Oh, sod it.
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Postby Rhakios » Mon Jun 02, 2014 9:47 pm

catgate wrote:Could it be to keep hidden the murky secrets of lechery?


Judging by the stories I have read about those who have applied to have their details made unavailable, it would seem that mere lechery would be among the least of their crimes.
In this case, as with so many others, it would seem that those who have the least to hide have the least need to worry.
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Postby guy » Tue Jun 03, 2014 8:00 am

H'mm. Past sex crimes erased from the record? Paedophilia - now there's one where the criminal's local community have recently /gained/ the right to be warned about their murky past. Will that be struck from Google so that, while neighbouring kids get fair warning, online grooming of future victims - not to mention the eliciting of obscene videos - can proceed undetected?
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Postby nelz » Tue Jun 03, 2014 9:10 am

Sex crine convictions don't fit the criteria of oudated or irrelevant. Now, imagine you were arrested for a crime but subsequently released without charge. The arrest is newsworthy and would be in the news organisations' archives, and found by search spiders. The release without charge would not be newsworthy unless you were well known and probably wouldn't appear anywhere. So a web search on your name would only show that you were arrested for the crime, not that you were innocent.
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Postby guy » Tue Jun 03, 2014 9:48 am

nelz wrote:Sex crine convictions don't fit the criteria of oudated or irrelevant. Now, imagine you were arrested for a crime but subsequently released without charge. The arrest is newsworthy and would be in the news organisations' archives, and found by search spiders. The release without charge would not be newsworthy unless you were well known and probably wouldn't appear anywhere. So a web search on your name would only show that you were arrested for the crime, not that you were innocent.

Then surely the sensible thing to do would be to put online the police record of the release-without-charge, so Google finds that too. A FOIA request from the accused party should lever it out of the police filing cabinet.

Burying the public record is political censorship of the worst kind and we do not usually allow that in this country. Any police arrest is a matter of such public record, though whether the individual is in due course publicly named by the police may vary. If the innocent person's record can be set straight by feeding Google the rest of the public record - the release without charge - what's to worry about?

If people react unfairly to those public records, then it is those people we need to censure - as we have always done - not shoot the messenger. We should be tackling the causes of the problem, not the symptoms.
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Postby nelz » Tue Jun 03, 2014 1:38 pm

The prolem is that it is not the "public" records that appear in search results, but the sensationalised news reports.

I had an experience with this a few years ago. A member of my family was renting a house and was told that there had been a murder in there some years earlier. A web search showed up a local news report of the unfortunate woman's death, followed by a report of her partner's arrest. That was it, no further mention - no indication of whether the death was even suspicious.

Now, it would be possible to dig further to find more information, maybe requiring a FOI request, but the results of a simple web search, as provided by Google, only implied the man's guilt.

I'm not saying censorship is the answer, it isn't, but it is the search engines providing unbalance information and it is only right that ordinary people should have some means of redress.
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Postby MadTux » Tue Jun 03, 2014 1:56 pm

Wouldn't it just make much more sense to be able to 'make' the website reporting your arrest add something like
EDIT: Mr. foobar turned out to be innocent in the end
to the top of the page? Changing Google's results is just killing the messenger and the beginnings of censorship.
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Postby nelz » Tue Jun 03, 2014 3:05 pm

It's probably based on the assumption that their are millions of web sites but only one Google, so forcing the change on them is simpler than chasing all the other sites, especially once the precedent has been established.

Of course, none of this would work if there were search engines other than Google, which apparently is no longer the case in most people's minds.
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Postby ChrisThornett » Tue Jun 03, 2014 3:28 pm

One issue is that Google has suddenly become part of the legal framework in Europe for deciding what information should be included or omitted from search results when it's a commercial entity.

That kind of power should be controlled by a regulated and independent body.
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Postby guy » Tue Jun 03, 2014 7:02 pm

nelz wrote:... but the results of a simple web search, as provided by Google, only implied the man's guilt.

I'm not saying censorship is the answer, it isn't, but it is the search engines providing unbalance information and it is only right that ordinary people should have some means of redress.


We are in complete agreement there. Unfortunately the government has chosen to impose censorship as the answer. I am suggesting that rebalancing the data available to Google in the first place would be more democratic and ethical.

One way to do this would be to post the missing information online, as I also suggested.
Another would be to recognise that whoever posted the malicious information was breaking the law and that Google has actually helped to unearth the miscreant. Punitive actions against newspapers for breaching individual privacy and causing unjustified harm where it is not in the public interest to do so, anybody? No? Wait until it appears in Google and then expect the injured party to seek redress from the messenger! That won't make the bad data disappear from the Internet!

A man murders his wife. A witness sees the dastardly deed and dials 999. The police find no proof. They tell the man to make a citizen's arrest of the witness and get them to withdraw their statement. Case closed!
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Postby catgate » Wed Jun 04, 2014 9:40 am

"Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely" Lord Acton 1887

Achieving control is the aim of every politician and financier.

Thank God they have not achieved success yet.
Oh, sod it.
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