Name changes

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Re: Name changes

Postby super_dipsy » 16 Jan 2018, 17:20

FloridaMan wrote:
super_dipsy wrote:
FloridaMan wrote:In Europe, though, some people have come up with a thing called the "right to be forgotten."

Thank your lucky stars you don't have to live with this :(

Does it function very badly there, then?

baby and bathwater come to mind.

On the face of it, it is very laudable. It came about because someone had had his home auctioned after repossession, and felt this fact was counting against him in susequent years. He had sorted himself out appaarently, and was therefore upset that there was a stain on his finaical reliability.

I think most people would sympathize with the complainant here. Why should something you did years ago be brought up again and again on Google searches when you are a changed person.

The tricky bit, of course, is that some things DO live on. Arguably, some people claim that if someone is a sexual predator, particularly on children, then although the incidents for which that person was prosecuted were a number of yeaars ago, it is not unreasonable for people searchihg for this person might find the history. If someone has directed 15 companies in the last 10 years ll of which have gone 'bust' sadly with no remaining assets (!) again some people would like to know this fact even if the person cl;aims he/she is now a fine upstanding member of the business world.

OK, so it is a bit of a balance thing obviously. But that is where the EU comes in ;) . The policy says that it is not an ABSOLUTE right for every situation to be ignored, and that factors need to be taken into consideration. The basic position is that if the information available through the search engines is "inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant or excessive" then it should be removed. Hmm - so who decides that? Now comes for the brilliance on the part of the legislation. Noone wants it to be contentious and require many man hours of officials and legal representatives deciding on whether a case fits the criteria or not. So there is an 'obvious' answer. The onus is placed on the search engine companies and the providers of the information to prove that it should NOT be removed. In other words, if someone requests it to be removed, the company has to remove it unless they are prepared to put a lot of effort and time refusing to do so. By the way, I think it is only the search engine pointer to the information that is removed rather than the info itself.

As a result, early results if I remember right showed that the vast majority of requests (well, the ones we heard about anyway!) were approved simply because it was not possible for Google etc to handle all the requests and go through all the hoops to keep the data. If they do not do this and fail to remove it, they are now liable to be sued. So the 'default' position is to remove.

it doesn't take a genius to work out the rest. Face it. Suppose you are a criminal, eg a fraudster, embezzler, sexual predator etc.. Why wouldn't you find every reference to your name and ask Google to remove them? So is Google going to examine every request and decide yours will not get through? Maybe, but there is no risk to you in asking so why wouldn't you. And with the sort of volumes that triggers, how thorough will google be?

Of course the fun part is that the legislation last time I looked only affected search engines in Europe. I know that if I want to do a serious search I always use a US-based engine instead to avoid the censorship. I remember there were noises in the EU that this was not good enough and they wanted to bring the legislation against Google etc in other countries, but I think that it ran into freedon of expression stuff.

So when I said 'thank your lucky stars', I mean that although it may have made life easier for some totally reformed and valuable members of society, I suspect it is used by default by any criminal worth their salt - maybe not major crimes ones, where there are plenty of other sources, but smaller things like engaging contractors, looking for an investment opportunity, etc.. I know whenever I am going to deal with someone, I Google them to see what I can find out.....
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