Google & Online Privacy

Google & Online Privacy

Google & Online Privacy


In 2014 the European Courts made a groundbreaking ruling that means people living within the EU can now request Google remove certain information about themselves from their search engine.

This story was on my mind constantly and I wanted to stew on these ideas a little longer. Yet, this hasn’t given me any additional clarity…

A search engine like Google should allow online users to be “forgotten” after a certain time by erasing links to web pages unless there are “particular reasons” not to, the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg said.

But, many people are questioning whether this is a decision that Google – a business that’s main objective is to make a profit, should have. Are they really a body that can represent a balanced view that will benefit the people?

How do they decide what should be taken down and what should be left down?

Jon Lawrence from Electronic Frontiers spoke to Triple J’s Hack on June 2 and suggested that because Google will be burdened with numerous requests they may quickly and hastily make these decisions.

Google has vocalised that they will have a legal team handling these concerns and that they won’t be automated. But, considering they received over 12,000 requests in their first day and to date have received more than 50,000 I am curious as to how much time they can spend on each request.

It’s worth noting that while this information is removed from Google search engine results it does still exist on the internet.

I’m not necessarily against this move it’s just that I have reservations… If we do start removing content how do we decide what should remain and what should stay up? If we start doing it with Google will it move to other areas? What about freedom of speech? Don’t we have the right to know the history of someone we may potentially employ? Or involve in our lives in other ways?

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This has the potential to be a slippery slope. I respect everyone’s right for privacy, but I am also a big believer in freedom of information. I fear that this may potentially lead to much more being censored from the Internet.

There are so many shades of grey with this one.. I want to hear from you! Would you like to see this ruling come to Australia?

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