Author Topic: EU "right to be forgotten" ruling abused by banker called Stan O'Neal  (Read 420 times)

Cherry Lover

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So, I don't know how many of you have been following this story, but a while back some Spanish guy took Google to the EU court to force them to remove links (in the EU only) to an article that showed him to have previously been in debt, and won (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-27388289). As a result, Google set up a process to allow people to remove theirselves from search results which, predictably, was abused by every asshole imaginable, from Paedophiles who want to hide their past to corrupt politicians (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-27423527). Now, though, we finally have an actual concrete example, thanks to Google's decision to at least inform people of the removal of their links.

Some idiot banker called Stan O'Neil, who was fired from Merill Lynch for losing them a ton of money, attempted to get a BBC blog post about him removed from the Google search results, and seemingly succeeded. Except that, as part of their process, Google sent a message to the BBC informing them of the removal and the possibility of an appeal, which the BBC then posted.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-28130581 is the link, if you're interested (I suggest you read it, the guy deserves all the negative publicity he can get).

Of course, in this case the whole thing has backfired badly (try Googling for "Sam O'Neal", even through the EU search engine), but in the case of a less popular site that doesn't have the initial readership to make the whole thing go viral, it could perhaps have worked. Further, there is no indication to a user performing a search that any results have even been removed, so there's no way to know if you're getting the full picture. There is, of course, a bypass route, if you use www.google.com/ncr it will use the generic, non-country-specific search engine (which is uncensored), and for anyone who would rather search in a language other than English, I guess you can just use a server from a country that speaks the same language as you, but even knowing you need to use it is difficult.

By the way, no, it is not in any way "illegal" for me to post this here (not that I would care even if it was, the server for DSM is hosted in the US not Europe precisely because the US has stronger protections for freedom of speech, and I quite frankly couldn't give two hoots if I'm breaking British law, I've done that often enough already), the ruling only applies to Google specifically (the article is still there, for example, it's just that Google won't link to it).