June 19, 2015

Why Google Must Stand Firm: Putin Pushes the Dangerous "Right To Be Forgotten" Further Into Lunatic Land

A week ago, in my latest discussion of the nightmarish EU "Right To Be Forgotten" (RTBF), titled Just Say "NON!" - France Demands Right of Global Google Censorship, I once again emphasized the "camel's nose under the tent" aspect of RTBF, and how we should have every expectation that Russia, China, and other repressive regimes would make similar demands and attempt to have them implemented as global censorship by Google.

Well, that didn't take very long at all.

Indeed, Russia (and that means Czar Putin) is on the cusp of a vast RTBF law of their own, that makes the awful EU version look like a picnic by comparison.

In the proposed "Soviet" version of RTBF, complainants wouldn't even have to specify links of concern, just vague topic areas. And unlike in Europe, even public figures could demand that Google and other search engine results be whitewashed to remove unflattering or revealing references.

Meanwhile, word comes from France that they might want Google to individually track French users wherever they go in the world so that they can be specifically subjected to EU RTBF censorship anywhere and everywhere. "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity?" Hogwash.

If this wasn't obvious before, it should be obvious to everyone with half a brain by now -- the power to censor Google and other search engines placed into the hands of governments -- any governments regardless of political orientations -- is the freedom of speech destroying equivalent of handing nuclear weapons to terrorists.

Throughout recorded history, governments have wanted to control information, and the technology at hand provides them with a relatively easy means of finally fulfilling that frightful fetish.

No matter how much Google and others might try negotiate or compromise in good faith with governments on this topic, the latter will ultimately demand ever more censorship and ever more direct control over search results. There will simply be no end to it.

It is absolutely crucial to the future of free speech and broader civil liberties around the world that Google stand firm against the encroachment of ever more damaging and berserk RTBF laws and demands. This is true even if it requires significant changes in some underlying business models. Because ultimately if RTBF is permitted to continue on its current course of escalating censorship, those business models are going to be significantly decimated in much more damaging ways -- damaging to Google itself and incredibly destructive to the global community that depends on Google to do the right thing in difficult situations. Google must obey the law, but it also has considerable latitude in how and where it chooses to operate -- latitude that can be very relevant to the RTBF and other censorship issues now at hand.

We're depending on Google to set an example against the pages of useless, lowest common denominator search results that will be the inevitable result of RTBF laws continuing on their present course -- like a tidal wave leaving nothing but rubble in its wake.

We're standing at the crossroads of perhaps the most critical information freedom juncture in history since the invention and spread of the printing press.

There is no room for error.

Do this right, Google. I know you can.


Posted by Lauren at June 19, 2015 09:42 AM | Permalink
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