German publishers capitulate and let Google post news snippets — for now

BY LOEK ESSERS
PC WORLD

German publishers said they are bowing to Google’s market power, and will allow the search engine powerhouse to show news snippets in search results free of charge, at least for the time being. The decision is a step in an ongoing legal dispute between the publishers and Google. Publishers are trying to get compensation from the search engine for republishing parts of their content. Google however, refuses to share revenue with the publishers. The move follows a Google decision earlier this month to stop using news snippets and thumbnails for some well-known German news sitess of Thursday.

The internet is a politically and culturally loaded tool, particularly when it comes to censorship

By David Meyer
GigaOm

As someone with a deep interest in technology and its effects on society, recent events relating to the internet – specifically, to web censorship – have left me perplexed. Two different situations — the deletion of certain search links in Europe, and Vladimir Putin’s setting-up of the Russian internet for further censorship — have elements in common that cannot be denied. Yet I see the former as acceptable in theory and the latter as unacceptable in both theory and practice, and as such I view the nature of the internet differently in either case. It’s the same internet, of course, and therein lies the quandary. That quandary ultimately comes down to the ability of countries and regions to maintain their own characters and social systems in the context of a network that is, like it or not, steeped in a specific set of values.

‘Hidden From Google’ Remembers the Sites Google Is Forced to Forget

By Jason Koebler
vice.com

In Europe, people are lining up in droves to have themselves forgotten by Google under the controversial “right to be forgotten.” But at least one website is making sure we remember what’s lost from the search engine’s results. Hidden From Google, the brainchild of a web programmer in New Jersey, archives each website that Google is required to take down from European Union search listings thanks to the recent court decision that allows people to request that certain pages be scrubbed from Google’s search results if they’re outdated or irrelevant. That decision has resulted in takedown requests from convicted sex offenders and huge banking companies, among thousands of others. Hidden From Google doesn’t automatically archive each website that disappears from searches—instead, it relies on news reports about specific websites that are removed.

Google reverses decision to delete British newspaper links

By Alexei Oreskovic and Aurindom Mukherjee
Reuters

Google Inc on Thursday reversed its decision to remove several links to stories in Britain’s Guardian newspaper, underscoring the difficulty the search engine is having implementing Europe’s “right to be forgotten” ruling. The Guardian protested the removal of its stories describing how a soccer referee lied about reversing a penalty decision. It was unclear who asked Google to remove the stories. Separately, Google has not restored links to a BBC article that described how former Merrill Lynch Chief Executive Officer E. Stanley O’Neal was ousted after the investment bank racked up billions of dollars in losses. The incidents underscore the uncertainty around how Google intends to adhere to a May European court ruling that gave its citizens the “right to be forgotten:” to request the scrubbing of links to articles that pop up under a name search.

Only a matter of time until ‘right-to-be-forgotten’ debate comes to Canada

By Douglas Quan
Edmonton Journal

You’ve got skeletons in your digital closet. Do you have a right to keep them hidden from view? Days after Europe’s highest court ruled that Google and other search engine operators can be forced to remove links to personal information that are “no longer relevant” or “excessive” — drawing privacy-advocate praise and free speech-protector scorn — the implications of the so-called “right-to-be-forgotten” ruling for Internet users in North America remain uncertain. Carmi Levy, an independent technology analyst in London, Ont., said he’s not aware of any comparable legal cases pending in Canada, but he predicts it’s only a matter of time before a test case is launched. “Because of what’s happening in Europe now, I think the ball is going to move much more quickly in Canada,” he said.

One Court Ruling on Privacy in Europe, and 28 Regulators

By Mark Scott
The New York Times

The ruling on Tuesday by Europe’s highest court that Google can be forced to remove links from certain searches will be carried out by data privacy regulators at 28 different agencies across the European Union. But the court gave the agencies little guidance in applying the ruling, and they are likely to interpret it in different ways. That means people in different European countries could receive different treatment, which could lead to jurisdiction shopping. “The European Court of Justice is sending a strong message in this case,” said Peter Hustinx, the European data protection supervisor. “It’s now up to the countries to provide consistency in how it’s interpreted.”
At a conference in Berlin on Tuesday, regulators from three countries in the union — the Netherlands, Ireland and Britain — as well as officials from the union offered different views of how the law might be applied.

Rights Groups Slam ‘Right to be Forgotten’ Ruling as Censorship

By David Gilbert
International Business Times

The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled on Tuesday that in certain cases, Google and other search engines will have to remove content when requested to do so by EU citizens. While the majority of people have welcomed the ruling, calling it a victory for data protection and the right to privacy, there has also been a backlash, accusing the EU of violating the right to freedom of expression. Hailing the victory, the European Commission’s Viviane Reding said it was a “a clear victory” for the protection of personal data of Europeans. Writing on her Facebook account, Reding said the ruling sent a strong message to non-European companies who previously tried to avoid compiling with EU rulings by using the fact their servers were located outside the EU:

“Companies can no longer hide behind their servers being based in California or anywhere else in the world. No matter where the physical server of a company processing data is located, non-European companies, when offering services to European consumers, must apply European rules.”

A ‘right to be forgotten’? Forget about it

Editorial
The Globe and Mail

This week, the European Union Court of Justice ruled that search engine Google can be ordered to amend search results to protect a person’s “right to be forgotten.” It’s a novel idea. It also looks like a deeply misguided one. The European case arose after a Spanish man, Mario Costeja Gonzalez, complained that a Google search for his name threw up links to a newspaper story from 16 years ago, about his home being foreclosed on and auctioned off. A decade and a half later, to his dismay, his online personality was still closely tied to this event. Someone googling his name would immediately hit on a prominent mention of this embarrassing fact.

Google wins book-scanning case: judge finds “fair use,” cites many benefits

By Jeff John RobertsGigaOm Google has won a resounding victory in its eight-year copyright battle with the Authors Guild over the search giant’s controversial decision to scan more than 20 million books from libraries and make them available on the internet.   In a ruling (embedded below) issued Thursday morning in New York, US Circuit Judge Denny Chin said the book scanning amounted to fair use because it was “highly transformative” and because it didn’t harm the market for the original work. “Google Books provides significant public benefits,” Chin wrote, describing it as “an essential research tool” and noting that the scanning service has expanded literary access for the blind and helped preserve the text of old books from physical decay. Chin also rejected the theory that Google was depriving authors of income, noting that the company does not sell the scans or make whole copies of books available. He concluded, instead, that Google Books served to help readers discover new books and amounted to “new income from authors.” The ruling is being hailed on Twitter by librarians and scholars, who intervened in the case to urge the court to declare that Google Books was fair use — a four-part test that seeks to balance the rights of authors against broader interests of society.