Privacy? Forget about it

Reblogged from Legal Web Watch May 2014.

Insofar as we still measure column inches on the web, many yards in the last month have been devoted to commentary and analysis of the Google Spain decision, or the "right to be forgotten" as it is popularly but inaccurately known.

As ever, Laurence Eastham provides some refreshing comment and useful pointers on Computers and Law.

One of the key questions is how practicable it would be for Google and other search engines to remove specific links from their indexes. Neil Cameron (on his blog) pictures "an army of de-Googlers, frantically and manually removing links for every claimant with a past they would rather forget" (simply not practicable). Laurence is filled with dread at either "Google making a judgment based on an algorithm" (leading to inappropriate deletions) or "some sort of tribunal" (unaffordable).

But thinking, rather, of a "right to be disassociated", it is easier to see how this might be effectively implemented. Google should not be put in the position of making legal judgements (certainly not without an e), but I can think of no organisation better able to come up with an elegant solution to interpreting accurately a direction from a judicial authority to disassociate person A from event B in context C.

So I say, if we must have this right, then leave the onus on the ICO to provide the right quality input to Google. GIGO and all that.

Laurence is seeking short sharp impact assessments of the case. Let him have yours.

Google says it is "working to finalise our implementation of removal requests under European data protection law as soon as possible". In the meantime, it's initial effort is this removal request form.

Image by Jason Eppink on Flickr.

Google's Panda 4.0 – small business friendly

Google’s Panda algorithm has been around since 2011. It's designed to prevent sites with poor quality content from working their way into Google’s top search results.

Update 4.0 is a major update which rolled out on 20 May and  is designed to help small businesses do better. Your guess is as good as mine as to what small means.

One thought on “Privacy? Forget about it”

  1. It’s going to be tremendously difficult for Google to competently please everyone who wants some piece of information removed from the internet. They’re stuck between a rock and a hard place though, as they have to come up with something. Will be interesting to see what they come up with!

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