June 12, 2015

Just Say "NON!" - France Demands Right of Global Google Censorship

I've been waiting for this, much the way one waits for a violent case of food poisoning.

France is now officially demanding that Google expand the hideous EU "Right To Be Forgotten" (RTBF) to Google.com worldwide, instead of just applying it to the appropriate localized (e.g. France) version of Google.

And here's my official response as a concerned individual:

To hell with this.

That's nowhere near as strong a comment as I'd really like to make, but this is a general readership blog and I choose to avoid the use of the really appropriate invectives here. But man, I could justifiably pile on enough epithets here to melt your screens before your eyes.

A key reason why I've been warning all along about the disastrous nature of RTBF is precisely this "camel's nose under the tent" situation. Giving in to localized censorship demands from the EU and/or member countries was bound to have this result.

What's worse, if France or other EU countries get away with this attempt to impose their own censorship standards onto the entire planet, we can be sure that government leaders around the world will quickly follow suit, demanding that Google globally remove search results that are politically "inconvenient" -- or religiously "blasphemous" -- or, well, you get the idea. It's a virtually bottomless cesspool of evil censorship opportunities.

It's bad enough when the ever more censorship and surveillance loving Western leaders have this kind of power. But how about Vladimir Putin, or China's rulers, or Iran's Supreme Leader as GLOBAL censors?

It wouldn't be long before it would seem that every search on any controversial topic might as well be replaced with a "404 Not found" page -- a rush to lowest common denominator mediocrity, purged of any and all information that government leaders, politicians, or bureaucrats would prefer people not be able to find and see.

I've written and said so much about RTBF for years that it feels like an endless case of "Groundhog Day" at this point -- e.g. early on in The "Right to Be Forgotten": A Threat We Dare Not Forget (2/2012), and most recently in a one hour live RTBF hangout video discussion (about a month ago).

And I'm certainly not alone in these concerns. Yet we continue to be sucked down this rathole, now with governments using overblown security concerns as an excuse to try justify even broader search engine censorship across a vast range of topics.

So far, Google has resisted the concept of RTBF being applied globally. I not only applaud their stance on this, but I strongly urge them to stand utterly firm on this issue.

RTBF even in localized forms is bad, but if countries had the ability to impose their individual censorship regimes onto the entire globe's population, we'd be -- with absolutely no exaggeration -- talking about an existential threat not just to "free speech" but to fundamental communications and information rights as well.

This cannot be tolerated.

Non! Nein! Nahin! Nyet!

Just say NO!


Posted by Lauren at June 12, 2015 09:02 AM | Permalink
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