[Advocacy Advisors] Google Brussels and the "right to be forgotten"

Dimitar Parvanov Dimitrov dimitar.parvanov.dimitrov at gmail.com
Fri Jun 6 10:48:43 UTC 2014

Hi all,

I just came back from my talk with the Google policy team in Brussels about
the recent CJEU ruling [1] that had them provide a take-down request form.
Here's my initial notes:

   - They will not de-index sites, they will simply modify the results for
   searching a given name.
   - According to their lawyer, the court didn't specify the technological
   method, it just told them to remove "URLs linked to a name". They were not
   asked to de-index.
   - Modification of the results only apply to the EU Google domains.
   Searches from outside Europe remain unchanged.
   -  Currently their entire legal team is collectively responsible for
   making the decision on which requests to be granted.
   - They see this as a "right to privacy" vs. "freedom of expression"
   balancing issue and are unhappy with the ruling, as, according to them, it
   gives more weight to the "right to privacy".
   - Google doesn't want to play court and judge here. They'd like to
   figure out a way for someone else to make the decisions as to which
   requests should be granted (talking about Internet Governance)
   - We agreed that the future General Data Protection Regulation in the EU
   will have a major impact on this and that the court ruling put "right to be
   fogotten" on the policy agenda in this field. Work on the Regulation is
   expected to resume around December/January
   - As we don't know what all the actors think of this (digital rights
   groups, industry, policy-makers) it would be important to map the different
   positions over the next few months
   - We agreed that it would be good to have public, broad round-table on
   the topic "right to be fogotten" in Spetember/October in Brussels (just an
   idea so far)

I basically explained to them how the Wikimedia movement is constructed and
the roles of the different organisations and communities. I also told them
that we can't have a position on this as long as we don't have the results
of an in-depth legal analysis, but for us it would also be good to know
what all the stakeholders think about this issue. I also agreed that it is
a "right to privacy" vs. "freedom of expression" balancing act here. I
added that IMO there might be a higher risk of censorship if the removal
decisions are left up to each company/organisation as it currenlty is.

I am thinkingthat if the idea of having a round-touble on this in Brussels
proves popular among other NGOs, companies and policy-makers we should most
definitely join in. If it remians a Google-only organised event, we might
need to be more careful.



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