I’ve been highly critical — to say the least — of the European Union’s insane global censorship regime — “The Right To Be Forgotten” (RTBF) — since well before it became actual, enacted law.
But there’s finally some good news about RTBF — in the form of a formal opinion from EU Advocate General Maciej Szpunar, chief adviser at Europe’s highest court.
I’m not sure offhand when I first began writing about the monstrosity that is RTBF, but a small subset of related posts includes:
The “Right to Be Forgotten”: A Threat We Dare Not Forget (2/2012):
Why the “Right To Be Forgotten” is the Worst Kind of Censorship (8/2015):
RTBF was always bad, but it became a full-fledged dumpster fire when (as many of us had predicted from the beginning) efforts were made to enforce its censorship demands globally. This gave the EU effectively worldwide censorship powers via RTBF’s “hide the library index cards” approach, creating a lowest common denominator “race to the bottom” of expanding mass, government-directed censorship of search results related to usually completely accurate and still published news and other information items.
In a nutshell, Maciej Szpunar’s opinion — which is not binding but is likely to be a strong indicator of how related final decisions will turn out — is that global application of EU RTBF decisions is usually unreasonable. While he doesn’t rule out the possibility of global “enforcement” in “certain situations” (an aspect that will need to be clarified), it’s obvious that he views routine global enforcement of EU RTBF demands to be untenable.
This is of course only a first step toward reining in the RTBF monster, but it’s potentially an enormously important one, and we’ll be watching further developments in this arena with great interest indeed.