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The Right to Be Forgotten Affects BBC and Wikipedia The Right to Be Forgotten Affects BBC and Wikipedia

The fine distinction between the people's right to privacy and censorship seems to be an elusive concept for the people from Google's "right to be forgotten" panel. It's clear that behind the "clement" law passed by the European Union are some major interests, far bigger than the protection of innocent European citizens from Internet "terrorists" who tarnish their good name.

A couple of days ago, BBC reported that Google notified the newspaper about the removal of no less than 12 news stories from the list of Google answers. The articles in question ranged between bomb-related court cases to a dispute over a lost dog. One of the most interesting stories that had been censored was about a woman from the UK who was found guilty of running one of the largest prostitution cartels in Europe.

Privacy or Censorship?Privacy or Censorship?

Moreover, earlier this month Wikipedia was briefed about the removal of several pages from the Google search engine. The reputed foundation decided to fight back the best they could and published the list of links which were targeted by the decision. Most of the webpages that are being censored are about English and Italian jailed criminals or criminal organizations which no longer exist.

What's really disturbing is that Google sends these "notices of removal" as a courtesy and not because they have to. More than that, the European Counsel has "frowned upon" this practice implying that it undermines the point of the law. Another concerning fact is that an acceptable removal request doesn't have to come from one of the people directly involved  in the webpage in question. For example, it can just as easily come from a user who wrote in the comment section of the page. 

Right to be ForgottenRight to be Forgotten

At the moment, it's pretty hard to blame Google for any of this, as the European Union is forcing them into this process. However, we shouldn't overlook the fact that the people from Google's right to be forgotten committee are only human and thus susceptible to other interests except the good of the public.

Since the right to be forgotten only applies to European citizens, you can still obtain the complete list of answers by submitting your query on www.google.com instead of the Google URL specific to your EU-based country.

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