Google Complies with “Right to be Forgotten” Ruling

August 3, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. ruling /ˈru lɪŋ/ (n.) – an official order made by a judge or anyone appointed by law
Example: The ruling of the Supreme Court bans cyberbullying.

2. uphold /ʌpˈhld/ (v.) – to confirm or support a claim
Example: The lawmakers finally upheld the requests of the citizens for privacy protection.

3. outdated /ˌaʊtˈdeɪ tɪd/ (adj.) – no longer applicable in the present
Example: Most online articles about the prime minister are outdated.

4. implication /ˌɪm plɪˈkeɪ ʃən/ (n.) – a probable outcome of something
Example: The new policy may have a negative implication on the citizens.

5. conceal /kənˈsil/ (v.) – to keep something from being known; to hide something
Example: The criminal concealed his identity by using another name.


Read the text below.
Google recently launched an online form that will enable European citizens to request outdated information to be deleted.

Within 24 hours, Google has already received 12,000 removal requests across Europe. The online search engine company made the said move in compliance with the ruling of the European Union (EU) about the “right to be forgotten.” A Google spokesperson said that with this court ruling, the world’s top search engine has to decide between privacy and the public’s right to know.

Google made the move after the EU Court of Justice upheld a 1995 European law on data protection. This granted the removal of links to an outdated 1998 newspaper article about the repossession of a Spanish man’s home.

This ruling puts Google and other search engines in a difficult position to interpret the criteria for information that are considered inadequate and irrelevant. They also have to make other criteria between public figures and private individuals. A two-day meeting will take place among the EU representatives to discuss the implications of the ruling.

However, freedom of speech advocates fear that the EU decision might enable politicians or even criminals to conceal their identity. To avoid this, the court allows Google to consider the public interest when removing certain links.  Lawyers made it clear that politicians cannot easily request for the removal of websites that contain incriminating information or questionable record about them.

Google also had legal issues regarding privacy policy even in the past. In January, a German court ordered Google to block links to photos of a sex party that involves former Formula CEO Max Mosley.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you agree with the decision of the European court to remove outdated information? Why or why not?
·         What will be the possible downside of this ruling?

Discussion B

·         Which do you think is more important: privacy or freedom of information?
·         How do you value your privacy?

August 3, 2014