Could the EU court ruling that Google needs to remove results due to a person’s right to privacy be dangerous? So far, a politician and a pedophile have been among the people requesting that information is taken down about them. It could mean that people close to dangerous criminals will never know before the information can be removed from the internet.
The EU ruling happened on Tuesday, and the tech giant stated that it was “disappointing.” While many people cheered at the idea that they could request their information is removed from the internet, very few realized the consequences of such an action. There is a fine line in removing information of an innocent person and putting an innocent person at risk due to the lack of freedom of information.
The court case started when Spanish citizen Mario Gonzalez found that a report from 16 years ago was still online. It was linked to an auction for real estate and connected to some of his debts in the past. However, this information was irrelevant and out-of-date according to the individual. He believed that he should be able to have that information removed. In other words, he believed he should have the “right to be forgotten.”
In 2010, Gonzalez sued both the newspaper and Google, and the court ordered that the pages should be removed from the search results. The European Court of Justice then stepped in to say that the old information no longer reflects a person, and there is no longer any need to keep it there.
It seems like the court knew the EU ruling could be potentially dangerous if Google removed all results. With that in mind, the decision was made that not all information has to be taken down. The search giant will need to look into all requests on a case by case basis. If it is in the internet’s interests to remain up, then it can stay there. However, there are times that the ruling will need to go to a court.
In cases could go to a local court should the requesting party and Google not be able to come to an agreement. There are high chances that the search giant will refuse to remove the information linked to the pedophile due to the interest of the people around him. The next step for that pedophile would be to take it to a local court, and see how the judge rules. Considering the links the pedophile wants removed are due to the court conviction, there are high chances that that will not happen.
There is also a case of a doctor wanting negative reviews removed. This is another danger of the “right to be forgotten” ruling. When patients cannot see the positive and negative results, they could trust a doctor who has already proven in the past to be incompetent. Removing such information would also set a precedent for all businesses to have negative reviews removed from search listings.
While the court was thinking in the best interests for innocent individuals, there are possible negative outcomes. It could make the EU ruling that Google removes results dangerous to those it was supposed to protect.
Opinion by Alexandria Ingham