Europe’s “Right to be forgotten” laws have come to an apex of dumb: The UK’s Information Commissioner’s office has ordered Google to remove links to stories about Google removing links to stories. My brain hurts.
Google has 33 days to take down links to stories about a previous “Right to be forgotten” order.
Last year, the EU created a mechanism for people to ask Google to scrub certain results from searches for their names. Hundreds of thousands of links were purged as people polished their digital histories.
One was a person from the UK who wanted to remove references to a minor crime they committed 10 years ago. Google took down links referencing the criminal history of this person in results from searches for their name. Then Google’s capitulation to Europe’s regulation made news, and some of those news stories referenced the individual by name. And that’s when things got weird. Basically, the Streisand Effect prompted an ouroboros of historical revisionism. Now Google has to remove references to the news about removing references from results on searches for this person’s name.
“The commission does not dispute that journalistic content relating to decisions to delist search results may be newsworthy and in the public interest,” Deputy Information Commissioner David Smith wrote in a statement, acknowledging that the IC was asking that Google block access to legitimate journalism. Smith continued: “However, that interest can be adequately and properly met without a search made on the basis of the complainant’s name providing links to articles which reveal information about the complainant’s spent conviction.”
Smith fails to mention how the IC will handle purging news stories about the news stories about purging the news stories about purging news stories, or how it will handle purging news stories about purging news stories about the news stories about purging the news stories.