Google has an article complaining that some places are passing laws that
require that a citizen who wants to have Google forget his or her past be
forgotten universally. They claim a right to free expression and that the
originating country's laws should not prevent them from saying what they
want. And that the other country's should be able to choose not to grant
such a right to their citizens.
Hilarious corporate bullshit to my way of thinking. Their concern about
free expression doesn't extend to supporting a claim that some country
should be allowed to pass a law invalidating all copyright. In that case,
they would support the 'right' of the copyright owner to withhold it's
'content' from said country.
But, if it's a person whose country gives him or her something
tantamount to copyright control over their own history and its use in a
corporate product (search results are a corporate product that you are
buying from Google with your attention), well, not so much. Corps get to
control access. People do not.
This isn't the only perversity. Throughout history, humans have been
able to go to the other side of the world and start over. Mistakes they
made in their youth were invisible as they started their new lives. Crimes
committed, controversies engaged, all of the detritus of a life could be
escaped. The idea that every single thing that happens is recorded
permanently and made easily available to everyone is a completely novel
(and bizarre) thing.
This ability to start over is, I argue, a natural human right. It is a
cruelty of the first rank to insist that every person be judged at any age
by every single thing they have ever done. It makes youthful
experimentation dangerous. It makes personal reform worthless. "I was a
criminal. No matter what, outside my country, I will always be considered a
criminal. Why bother to change?"
This is real. I have thought it myself because my life infractions are
too light to be worth the hassle of trying to get Google to forget me. But,
I have thought it. I have thought that I would prefer that some things that
I have written online were not discoverable.
Note that no one is saying that the person or institution who had a beef
with another person has to censor itself just that Google would not be
allowed to sell the service of making a person's sensational past available
to all comers.
Google's position has the, no doubt intentional, effect of making it so
that the right to be forgotten is completely non-existent. On my computer
at this exact moment, I can access Google in just about any country in the
world (vpn, baby!). If I really care, I can turn myself into a local
citizen Singapore and Google every, single person they 'forgot' in
I can hear the conservatives whine, "How will we know if a person has
committed crimes or said mean things about us before we hire them?" Hard to
imagine how civilization worked for the 3000 years before Google but,
somehow, people did business, made new friends, and made progress when
people had to be judged by who they were as they stood in front of you.
Google is an enemy of human freedom. It's bad enough that they favor
corporations over people in their intellectual property policies. It's
awful that they only respect the right to be forgotten in country's that
pass a law. Now they want to make it so that you can only really be
forgotten if we get every country I the world to pass that law.
As a consequence, every person's ability to move on with their life
after something happens that would interfere with that is impaired because
they want you to remain accessible as raw material for their products.
read more: Reflecting on the Right to be
Sat Dec 10 2016 11:31:18 GMT-0600