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Google Struggling to Cope with 70,000 EU Censorship Requests
turbocharged



 
Msg#: 4686919 posted 11:10 am on Jul 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

Drummond says that Europe's recent "Right To Be Forgotten" (RTBF) ruling, which allows a member of the public to request the removal of search results containing their name, is so "vague and subjective" that it's hard to enforce consistently. He adds that Google has received so many requests -- 70,000 so far, concerning 250,000 different web pages, all of which must be assessed individually -- that the company has been struggling to cope. He says the process is still very much a "work in progress" that will lead to "difficult and debatable judgments," as well as to errors.

Full story is at [engadget.com...]

My thoughts...

If a multi-billion dollar corporation is struggling to cope with 70,000 censor requests, imagine how the small business owner feels when he/she has to disavow thousands or tens of thousands of links.

I'm sorry, but I have no pity for Google. If nothing else, Google is being taught a lesson in responsibility and how to support their own products.

 

n0tSEO



 
Msg#: 4686919 posted 12:14 pm on Jul 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

A recent talk I had with fellow university students brought up interesting points about this EU ruling:

- Google seems to be misinterpreting (or maybe it's doing it on purpose..?) the ruling as a way to censor results, when it's not - the "Right To Be Forgotten" ruling is about people's freedom to get results about them removed if they feel they harm them. This should be mostly about indexed pages owned by the people who ask for removal, or about pages that defame or spread lies (not opinion) about a certain person.

2. Something tells me (well, us, as this was a group talk) that people are misunderstanding the ruling as well. There should be real motivations behind this, not just a "today I want to censor all press" morning thought.

Both freedom of speech and right to privacy need to be preserved, but what's happening doesn't seem to help BOTH rights be respected.

engine

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Msg#: 4686919 posted 3:59 pm on Jul 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

For reference, here's the whole of David Drummond's post.

[googleblog.blogspot.com...]

This caught my eye.
Of course, only two months in, our process is still very much a work in progress. It’s why we incorrectly removed links to some articles last week (they have since been reinstated). But the good news is that the ongoing, active debate that’s happening will inform the development of our principles, policies and practices—in particular about how to balance one person’s right to privacy with another’s right to know.

That’s why we've also set up an advisory council of experts, the final membership of which we're announcing today. These external experts from the worlds of academia, the media, data protection, civil society and the tech sector are serving as independent advisors to Google. The council will be asking for evidence and recommendations from different groups, and will hold public meetings this autumn across Europe to examine these issues more deeply. Its public report will include recommendations for particularly difficult removal requests (like criminal convictions); thoughts on the implications of the court’s decision for European Internet users, news publishers, search engines and others; and procedural steps that could improve accountability and transparency for websites and citizens.


This ruling has created a problem today, but once Google gets over the initial spike in submissions, it should even out.

As ever, when politicians get involved it's not always fully thought through, especially the point that the material that the individual wants blocked is still there, online, and will remains so until the original is removed. Even then, it's still a problem as it's probably been replicated and archived, so it'll turn up somewhere else.

brotherhood of LAN

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Msg#: 4686919 posted 4:01 pm on Jul 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

Seems like classic problems of centralisation and decentralisation. You want to become a hub for all the world's information, here is one of the problems that comes with it.

The privacy/transparency argument doesn't have an easy answer to it.

Samizdata

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4686919 posted 5:25 pm on Jul 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

when politicians get involved it's not always fully thought through

In this case it was judges, not politicians, that were responsible.

The judges in fact rejected the opinion of the majority of politicians involved:

By Question 3, the referring court asks, in essence, whether Article 12(b) and subparagraph (a) of the first paragraph of Article 14 of Directive 95/46 are to be interpreted as enabling the data subject to require the operator of a search engine to remove from the list of results displayed following a search made on the basis of his name links to web pages published lawfully by third parties and containing true information relating to him, on the ground that that information may be prejudicial to him or that he wishes it to be ‘forgotten’ after a certain time.

Google Spain, Google Inc., the Greek, Austrian and Polish Governments and the Commission consider that this question should be answered in the negative.

The judges were interpreting a law that was written before search engines existed.

The politicians remain free to join the 21st century by writing a new law.

...

incrediBILL

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Msg#: 4686919 posted 5:46 pm on Jul 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

I'm sorry, but I have no pity for Google.


For starters, the disavows are often because of the small business owners own greedy link buying schemes and nobody's fault but their own.

This is a bunch of garbage where people have done things they aren't proud of that was in the paper, is still in the paper archives, is still on websites, etc. but now Google is supposed to wipe it out so prospective employers, landlords and lovers can't find their past bad acts.

People do have a right not to be found, it's called keeping out of trouble in the first place.

Technically you shouldn't feel bad for Google but you should feel bad for the rest of us that are no longer going to be able to see what people are really about because they're hiding their past and we're the ones that will ultimately suffer.

I see lawsuits coming when people exercising the right not to be found weren't found and there are bad consequences arising from issues that should've been easily found and averted. The right to privacy is weighing heavily now until something really heinous happens and the pendulum will swing the other direction. Wait and see.

Most people aren't too clever and they'll only contact Google so whatever they're trying to hide might still be in Bing, Yandex, Gigablast or maybe even Baidu. Perhaps the Internet Archive WAYBACK machine will still have a record as well as people never remember to look there.

All this is going to do is allow some enterprising individual. or an existing search engine, to set up a paid archival search that never removes anything. Maybe even Google will allow people to pay a price to see what's not in the public index, it could be a new cash fountain. An archival search could search a page that existed a year ago and is 404 today, with a cached copy to read and/or a link directly to the full content on the wayback machine. As long as you don't have any physical offices in the EU then I'm not sure if they could do a damn thing about it.

FWIW at the end of the day it's censorship disguised as privacy. I don't care what anyone in the EU calls it, it's the start of a slippery slope that has no good outcome. Once you have one type of censorship in place, the next one falls into place even easier and the next thing you know the government is filtering each and every blog post.

What's next, burning eBooks?

I'm going to wrap myself up in a large copy of the 1st Amendment printed on Kevlar and hope for the best. ;)

Samizdata

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4686919 posted 6:14 pm on Jul 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

As long as you don't have any physical offices in the EU then I'm not sure if they could do a damn thing about it.

People in the EU only have to click the link to google.com to get uncensored results.

Someone will probably call this "the right to be remembered".

...

n0tSEO



 
Msg#: 4686919 posted 6:20 pm on Jul 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

The ruling shouldn't allow for censorship and violation of the right of free speech. If it does, there are holes that need to get fixed AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

(Disclaimer: I'm an EU citizen, so I'm going to keep an eye out on this stuff.)

incrediBILL

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4686919 posted 6:29 pm on Jul 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

People in the EU only have to click the link to google.com to get uncensored results.


Has that been verified?

If that's the case it's only privacy theater and a big waste of Google's time and money.

Typical EU games.

Don't cry for Google, cry for us. Any time any company gets punished and ends up spending lots of money paying settlements or doing other nonsense, WE pay for it.

If you want to know who's really feeling the bring of this nonsense it will bs all of us so don't whine your AdWords base rates increase, AdSense payout percentages declines, Google Play prices go up, Android devices increase in prices, etc.

When any of that happens, I'll point out how nobody felt sorry for Google as WE are the corporations because without OUR money and patronage they don't exist.

The problem is while you can easily change how companies do business by going elsewhere, it's not so simple to stop crazed governments that increasingly legislate everything to the point we'll soon be wearing safety belts and crash helmets just to sit on the porcelain throne.

Samizdata

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4686919 posted 7:50 pm on Jul 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

Has that been verified?

Yes, it is a well-known aspect of the ruling.

In UK, for example, the wonders of geolocation have in recent years led to requests for google.com being redirected to google.co.uk, with the results page offering the option to "use Google.com" instead.

Searching on the UK version for "Mario Costeja González" (the complainant in the original case) will not bring up the document on the La Vanguardia website that was the subject of his complaint, but it can be accessed via Google.com (or presumably any non-EU Google version).

Interestingly, I just did a search from my browser's search box for "vanguardia Mario Costeja González" and instead of being redirected by geolocation (as is normal these days) I was allowed to go straight to Google.com, where the original offending document was the first result.

Anyone commenting on the EU ruling really should look at it to see what the fuss was about.

...

zeus

WebmasterWorld Senior Member zeus us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4686919 posted 9:34 pm on Jul 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

Right To Be Forgotten is a great idea, not every one want to be named online and google has a monopole, that comes with so much power. Also what turbocharged says, we have to control thousands of links and guess which are bad links and not, that takes takes a lot more time that those 70.000 removal requests. Respect the freedom of people that dont want to be mentioned on google. Google just do what it wants and now over the years finally, there comes some rules for them.

turbocharged



 
Msg#: 4686919 posted 9:42 pm on Jul 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

For starters, the disavows are often because of the small business owners own greedy link buying schemes and nobody's fault but their own.

Often, but not always. It's the innocents that are of particular interest to me. They are left with a burden of disavowing links that they did not create, which is even more laborious since they don't have billions of dollars in the bank to pay employees to do the work for them as Google is.

It's actually great that Google gets to have a dose of its own medicine. Although supporting their core service (search) should not produce the kind of public complaints from Google's legal counsel as it did. It only shows how inexperienced they are with supporting users. Hopefully this is just the beginning of making Google a little more accountable for search and the many other industries they have a foothold in.

Samizdata

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4686919 posted 10:42 pm on Jul 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

Respect the freedom of people that dont want to be mentioned on google

Search engines index existing publications where allowed to do so by webmasters.

Respect the freedom of webmasters to mention anyone they want to, and to have their content indexed.

...

n0tSEO



 
Msg#: 4686919 posted 8:29 am on Jul 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

freedom of people that dont want to be mentioned on google


freedom of webmasters to mention anyone they want to


Both these freedoms can and should be respected. It's a concept that exists already in the press: when you need to talk about someone who doesn't want to be mentioned (because being mentioned constitutes danger or a threat to their life), you can use a pseudonym.

I didn't read the entire text of the law (and unfortunately understanding legalese well is not one of my skills), but if the ruling is turning into an excuse for censorship, something must be done about it.

graeme_p

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4686919 posted 12:15 pm on Jul 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

People do have a right not to be found, it's called keeping out of trouble in the first place.


YES! It is clearly against the public interest to allow a politician to remove links to past misconduct from search engines. They are hiding information from voters. I do not see why a child abuser should be able to hide their past either. Both these are real demands Google now has.

If the original document is legal and online, I see no reason to ban it from Google, except to fool the public.

Samizdata

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4686919 posted 12:33 pm on Jul 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

Both these freedoms can and should be respected

The former is not a freedom at all.

It is an act of suppression that applies only to commercial search engines operating in the EU.

The original "mention" remains online and can be repeated and linked to quite legally by anyone else.

The idea of a name that cannot be "mentioned" is bizarre, but it is nothing new.

"That piece of halibut was good enough for Jehovah"

...

n0tSEO



 
Msg#: 4686919 posted 3:11 pm on Jul 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

Being "mentioned" in Google actually means being indexed, Samizdata. As far as I understand the law, this should not concern press (unless we're talking about defamation, libel and other crimes), but one own's content. I think Google should handle requests case by case, but not completely manually - they can offer a first categorization and then review the requests on the basis of the the motivations provided (by category).

It's obvious that if I want something gone from the Internet, I should contact the webmaster, not Google. Even in such case, though, I should provide important reasons for that; for example, I contacted several webmasters recently to get a fanart of mine removed because it was uploaded on their websites without my consent. The only reason I would contact Google (and Archive.org as well, if that's the case) is if they still index my fanart one or two months from now.

Honestly speaking, I'm afraid the ruling might be misinterpreted by both Google and people requesting to be "forgotten". And I think this article tells pretty much all that should be known about the ruling (and the fact that the motivations behind the request should be important! not on a whim): [theguardian.com...]

mcneely

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4686919 posted 8:35 pm on Jul 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

That's funny -- Considering Google's hands off approach to anything really human, no wonder they're having issues. I'll cite their lack of any real human support over the years.

Guess they're going to have to start bucking up and hire real humans to do the job me thinks ..

Samizdata

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4686919 posted 11:42 pm on Jul 12, 2014 (gmt 0)

Being "mentioned" in Google actually means being indexed, Samizdata.

I fear you have yet to get to grips with the details of this case.

The content of a page (including any names) is still indexed.

The ruling is about what happens when a user types a name in a search box.

And it applies to any commercial search engines trading in the EU.

Guess they're going to have to start bucking up and hire real humans to do the job

No, they will only have to hire lawyers :)

...

graeme_p

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4686919 posted 9:09 am on Jul 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

one own's content


How is, for example, a report of one's conviction written by a journalist be "one's own content"? The content belongs to the writer or publication.

What the ruling says is that I can write something about you that is true and lawful, and although you cannot prevent me from publishing it, you can prevent Google from showing it in the SERPS.

Samizdata

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4686919 posted 12:13 pm on Jul 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

you can prevent Google from showing it in the SERPS

You can prevent any search engine in the EU from showing it in response to a search on your name.

No court order required, the search engine must - albeit reluctantly - act as judge and jury.

Publishers can have their content suppressed, with no right of appeal.

Readers can have their searches censored, with no right of appeal.

And search engines (Google in particular) have been given censorship powers and ordered to use them.

I am astonished that any webmaster is in favour of this.

...

goodoldweb



 
Msg#: 4686919 posted 8:52 pm on Jul 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

Time for Google to taste some of their own medicine. Don't you just love seeing them having to censor their own results out of existence.

Bunch of arrogant self centered kids who are about to learn a very important lesson. Karma is a bitch...

Samizdata

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4686919 posted 10:44 pm on Jul 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

Don't you just love seeing them having to censor their own results out of existence.

Don't you just love seeing your own content suppressed.

Don't you just love seeing your own searches censored.

Don't you just love seeing Google given real power over you.

...

goodoldweb



 
Msg#: 4686919 posted 5:24 am on Jul 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

@ Samizdata

Ya right, like our content is not being suppressed/censored by Google right now...give me a break!

Once Google de-index so many pages due to this they will fast become irrelevant. Because lets face it, its a hole...deep dark hole and users WILL NOTICE all the missing info. Eventually most users will get the drift and and start using other resources. That's what i would love to see anyway...

Hopefully one day "GOOGLING IT" will yield nothing but "censored notice" pages, maybe then we'll all be able to stop worrying about this disruptive octopus and get back to what we do best, building and enhancing the web.

bhukkel



 
Msg#: 4686919 posted 6:21 am on Jul 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

I just received a message from Google WMT.

We regret to let you know that we can no longer view certain European versions of Google searches in the following pages on your website:

httpx://www.example.com/xxxx
httpx://www.example.com/xxxx2

For more information, visit

https://www.google.com/policies/faq/


One of the pages does not exists and returns a proper 404 page.

Samizdata

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4686919 posted 10:46 am on Jul 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

Eventually most users will get the drift and and start using other resources. That's what i would love to see anyway...

The ruling applies to all commercial search engines operating in the EU.

The censorship affects users and webmasters who live there.

Hope this helps.

...

goodoldweb



 
Msg#: 4686919 posted 12:47 pm on Jul 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

The ruling applies to all commercial search engines operating in the EU. The censorship affects users and webmasters who live there.


I do realize that. When i said "other resources" i did not necessarily mean other search engines. The web existed and worked well way before search engines took control of it.

The web will evolve and other un-censorable decentralized solutions will eventually replace search. Its inevitable. Search is simply too corrupted and too censored nowadays.

webcentric

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4686919 posted 8:08 pm on Jul 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

I'm replying specifically to the title of this thread and nothing more by saying that I could write a few lines of code to process those requests in .13 seconds.

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