Feeds

'I'm for free speech!' brave Boris bellows, bewildered by 'right to be forgotten' bluster

Calm down, dear, it's not a problem

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Has Boris Johnson been paying too much attention to Jimmy Wales while the Wikipedia co-founder bangs on about Europe's so-called "right to be forgotten"?

On Monday, the Mayor of London claimed the European Court of Justice's ruling that made Google subject to European privacy laws was suddenly bad news for freedom of expression on the web.

"I am on the side of history, free speech and people's right to know what is going on in the world," Johnson bravely told The Times [paywall] during the opening of the capital's Technology Week in Shoreditch.

The Mayor continued:

The internet is a wonderful thing. It allows us to know what is going on in the world and I don't want to see people effectively going through it to weed out the truth.

Ex-Spectator editor Johnson added to the Times that he could not "see how it is practically possible [for watchdogs] to maintain the 'right to be forgotten' ruling".

Fret not, BoJo.

What Johnson appears to have not grasped is that the ECJ, the European Union's highest court on the law, made it very clear that netizens throughout the 28-member-state bloc can – under existing data protection law – ask Google to remove search links from its index if the information is old, irrelevant and not in the public interest. The key word here is ask.

Scare-mongering news reports, spun expertly by Google, wrongly suggested that people in positions of power can now order Mountain View to banish damaging stories about them from the interwebs.

But Google can snub any requests it receives to remove links from its ad-coated search results.

Such a refusal would simply force the complainant to take their gripe to their national data protection authority – such as the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) in the UK – and any decision taken at that level can be fought over in the courts.

That's a harder task than the mayor implied when he spoke of "people effectively weeding out the truth". He also failed to note that publishers are not required to delete news reports from their sites.

And, don't forget, the ICO has welcomed the ECJ ruling – and described the "inaccurate reporting" of the whole matter as regrettable. A spokesman at the regulator told El Reg: “It’s not a ‘right to be forgotten’ – there is not an absolute right to have information removed." ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights
Lobbies tetchy MPs 'to end indiscriminate online surveillance'
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.