“When you Google someone from within the EU, you no longer see what the search giant thinks is the most important and relevant information about an individual. You see the most important information the target of your search is not trying to hide.”
Predictably, Google has been inundated with article removal requests since politicians told the world they have a ‘right’ to force Google to ‘hide’ content from Internet searches conducted in the EU.
Politicians make up ‘rights’ and then the government enforces them. ‘Rights’ that just so happen to be very useful to the crony pals of politicians. Thankfully, society will find ways around this ‘right to be forgotten’ nonsense in no time. Of that you can be certain.
No doubt Google will be cast as the bad guy in this affair by some, but they can’t be blamed. They are not the ones with the guns, and they even opposed the European court ruling. Hiding information would serve no purpose to Google because it would be of no value to the vast majority of its customers, who value the quality, breadth and depth of Google’s search engine. The fact that until now, that is until it was forced to, Google had never willingly indulged in censorship of information tells you that Google serves its masters – its customers – and that society values the truth. Google is surrounded by governments pointing guns at them, what are they supposed to do? What can they realistically do but reluctantly comply?
As always, the fundamental question is: Who gets to decide? Who gets to decide what information is “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant”?
Until now Google and other search engines were deciding, but those decisions were an almost perfect and constantly adapting reflection of what its customers valued. The free market was doing a fine job of determining how much information was accessible through search engines. Society, it seems, had decided that it wanted pretty much everything Google could get its bots on. But now, via The Law, a very small minority of people can enforce their preferences on Google et al and the consequences will ripple out across the whole of society in ways we can’t possibly predict.