This Week In The Digital Panopticon: Google And The Right To Be Forgotten


The ongoing tug of war between data capture and individual privacy in the digital sphere involves myriad threads, usually moving in different directions. Getting an overview of and a handle on developments can therefore be almost impossible. It’s as if — ironically enough — this issue itself needs to be observed within a Panopticon.

This week has seen a particularly interesting development that embodies some of the nuances at play. Google has started removing certain types of information from search results in Europe — granting requests from private individuals for the removal of outdated or irrelevant information returned when a search is made for their name.

This follows a landmark ruling by the European Court of Justice last month that has been loosely termed a ‘right to be forgotten’, but is in fact related to European data protection legislated that dates back to 1995. The ruling stipulates that Google must accept and process requests by private individuals to remove links to…

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