Posts tagged Europe

Google Faces More Antitrust Trouble in Europe

The European Union is very close to bringing antitrust charges against Google, which controls 90 percent of European search traffic, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

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Google to Face Antitrust Charges in Europe by @mattsouthern

Within the next few weeks, the European Union (EU) will file antitrust charges against Google, which could result in a fine of up to $6 billion, the Wall Street Journal reports. European Union antitrust officials have been looking into confidential complaints claiming Google is tweaking its algorithm to display its own products ahead of competitors’ in European search results. To strengthen its case against the search giant, the European Commission has been asking for permission from companies to publish their confidential complaints. Once the EU files charges, years of further investigation will follow. If Google and the EU end up […]

The post Google to Face Antitrust Charges in Europe by @mattsouthern appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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Right to be Forgotten Should Apply Only in Europe, Says Google

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales among those backing Google’s stance.

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Right To Be Forgotten: Google Tells Europe It Won’t Scrub Global Index

European privacy regulators continue to push for an extension of The Right to Be Forgotten (RTBF) to the entire Google index, globally. However Google for the time being has taken the position that it will not remove RTBF results from Google.com. That was reiterated this week by David Drummond, the…



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Google Limits “Right to Be Forgotten” to Europe

Outsiders can continue to put up with the slings and arrows of outrageous searches.

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Google to be ‘Broken Up’ in Europe in Bid to End Search Monopoly

Google could face drastic measures being taken against it in Europe in order for competition online to be “restored”.

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Free Ride? In Europe, Google Will Remain Firefox Search Default Despite No Deal

How much does it cost to be Mozilla’s Firefox search provider in Europe? Perhaps nothing — because Google will continue to be the provider there despite not having any formal deal with Mozilla, come this December. Yesterday, it was big news that Mozilla announced new deals making Yahoo…



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Gmail, Google+, and Hangouts Suffer Outage Across Europe

The hour-long problem sees services replaced with 500-error messages.

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Wikimedia To Europe: Don’t Let Us Be Forgotten

The Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit foundation behind Internet’s encyclopedia Wikipedia, publicly called out the “right to be forgotten” recently established by a European court. The ruling requires search engines to remove links to Web pages people don’t want displayed in search results if they meet certain criteria.

See also: Google To Europe: Sometimes It’s Not So Easy To Forget

“The ability of editors and contributors to find, deliver and improve the content of Wikimedia projects heavily depends on having search engines that provide the most accurate, relevant and truthful data,” Lila Tretikov, the foundation’s executive director, told reporters at a London press conference, according to TechCrunch.

The foundation has received five notices from Google alerting them to 50 Wikipedia links that have been removed from search results under the right to be forgotten ruling. The Wikimedia Foundation posted them publicly on their website.

The organization also released its first-ever transparency report detailing the number and types of requests the Wikimedia Foundation receives to remove material from the site. Like other tech companies, the transparency report acknowledges that many of those requests were not fulfilled.


Wikimedia Foundation executive director Lila Tretikov

The foundation received 56 requests for user data and produced information 14% of the time, and 304 requests for content alteration and takedown. It didn’t accede to any of those requests.

“Demands that we erase content can be a direct threat to our mission,” Tretikov said.

Takedowns under the right to be forgotten don’t actually remove any data from Wikipedia itself. They just require search engines to scrub the links from search results. So Wikipedia can’t do anything to prevent the removal of links to its entries. The Wikimedia Foundation believes the ruling “compromised the public’s right to information and freedom of expression.”

Tretikov said at the press conference:

Some search engines are giving proper notice, and some are not. We find this type of compelled censorship unacceptable. But we find the lack of disclosure unforgivable. This is not a tenable future. We cannot build the sum of all human knowledge without the world’s truthful sources, based on pre-edited histories. 

Image of the Wikimedia puzzle globe by Fabrice Florinimage of Wikimedia Foundation executive director Lila Tretikov by Fabrice Florin

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Google To Europe: Sometimes It’s Not So Easy To Forget

Turns out there are a lot of people who want the Internet to forget about them—whether they deserve it or not.

In May, a European court ruled that Google must remove “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant” search results when an individual in the E.U., or potentially outside the region, asks it to. In a letter to European regulators, Google reported that as of July 18, it has received 91,000 requests to remove 328,000 URLs from search results under this newly created “right to be forgotten.”

See Also: European Court Orders Google To “Forget” Old Search Results

It hasn’t gone entirely smoothly. In July, Google removed and then reinstated links to the Guardian’s website with no explanation.

What’s more, Google has run into some completely predictable issues with the court’s vague ruling. These include people who provide false or inaccurate information, or public figures who are seeking to remove information about themselves from the public record.

For instance, Google reports that “some professional journalists have asked us to remove articles that they wrote for a publication to which they are no longer connected.” More seriously:

Even if requesters provide us with accurate information, they understandably may avoid presenting facts that are not in their favour. As such, we may not become aware of relevant context that would speak in favour of preserving the accessibility of a search result. An example would be a request to remove an old article about a person being convicted of a number of crimes in their teenage years, which omits that the old article has its relevance renewed due to a recent article about that person being convicted for similar crimes as an adult. Or a requester may not disclose a role they play in public life, for which their previous reported activities or political positions are highly relevant.

France leads Europe with 17,500 “forget me” requests involving 58,000 URLs, followed by Germany with 16,500 requests involving 57,000 URLs and the UK with 12,000 requests involving 44,000 URLs. Google has removed 53% of the total requested URLs.

Balancing Privacy And Public Knowledge

It’s important to note that Google doesn’t delete the Web pages users ask for, just the links to them displayed in Google searches. So even if Google removes a link, it will still be available to view on the Web—it will just take some extra searching. 

Google formed an advisory council intended to help it strike a balance between the “right to be forgotten” and the public’s right to know. In the meantime, Google is still facing a backlog of removal requests resulting from the ruling earlier this summer. The company says it’s working through them as fast as possible. 

Lead image courtesy of Moyan Brenn on Flickr

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