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Wikimedia: Right to be forgotten results in 'Internet riddled with memory holes'

Loek Essers | Aug. 7, 2014
Google has removed over 50 links to Wikipedia from its search results on European domains as a consequence of the EU's "right to be forgotten" ruling which, according to Wikimedia, "punches holes in free knowledge."

By implementing a crude right to be forgotten the court "abandoned its responsibility to protect one of the most important and universal rights: the right to seek, receive, and impart information," Tretikov said.

"As a consequence, accurate search results are vanishing in Europe with no public explanation, no real proof, no judicial review, and no appeals process. The result is an internet riddled with memory holes -- places where inconvenient information simply disappears," she said.

The ruling does not mandate that search engines disclose link censorship. But Wikimedia will be posting notices for each indefinite removal of Wikipedia search results on a dedicated page, she said.

Wikimedia's critique on the ruling echoes others who have similar grievances with the court's decision.

Google for instance already described the guidelines for removing query results as "very vague and subjective," and found that some people who are seeking to scrub their histories from the Web are being economical with the truth when making their requests.

Moreover, a U.K. House of Lords subcommittee has called the right to be forgotten unworkable and misguided. It advised the U.K. government to fight any possible adoption of the right to be forgotten into future EU data protection regulation.

Meanwhile, European data protection authorities met with Google, Yahoo and Microsoft to discuss the ruling. The authorities aim to issue guidelines to ensure a consistent implementation of the ruling this fall.


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