Over two months, Google has gotten nearly 100,000 requests from people who want searchers not to stumble across certain information about them, and Google has hit the erase button for half of them. The two big problems from regulators’ point of view:
Google only removes links from the local version of Google, so if you are a European and want to see what has been forgotten, you can just head over to a version of Google not based in Europe, such as the USA’s Google.com.
“Another issue raised by the EU watchdogs was Google’s decision to notify the owners of the websites that have been removed from search results,” Reuters reports. Once notified, we journalists tend to write about the removal, subjecting the information that was supposed to be buried to greater publicity. One site is even archiving disappeared links.
The idea that Europe’s regulators would get to determine what information the rest of the world has access to through Google is a hard pill to swallow and would set a nasty precedent when applied to other local censorship by countries around the world. If they were to win that battle, every single person search around the world would get this message slapped on it. I doubt regulators will win that fight, meaning people in Europe doing people searches — who don’t respect the right to be forgotten — will just start routinely doing it on a non-European version of Google, undermining the privacy censorship. Only the lazy will miss the forgotten stuff.
I don’t believe I’ve said this before, but fuck the EU and their over-regulating bullshit.