Stanley O’Neal And Google V Robert Peston Puts The Case For More Libraries
WANT to manage your reputation on Google?
On June 29, the Sunday Times reported:
MEMBERS of parliament, celebrities and public figures who try to whitewash their reputations by demanding Google remove embarrassing material from search results will have their requests turned down. The European Court of Justice ruled last month that individuals can demand Google and other search engines remove material that is no longer relevant or out of date.
Google has already had 50,000 requests to remove data and started removing links from search results last week.
However, the company considers that the ruling does not extend to public figures who want to remove potentially damaging material from public view.
An MP seeking re-election and an actor wanting details of an affair with a teenager are among the individuals who have made take-down requests. The Sunday Times understands such applications will be refused.
But what about if a private figure goes on to become a public figure?
Today the Times had an update:
An article criticising a fallen Wall Street banker is to be purged from Google’s search results in the first example of the chilling effect of the “right to be forgotten” online. The search engine sent an alert to the BBC yesterday, warning that a six-year-old blog post by Robert Peston, its influential economics editor, would no longer show up in Google searches in Europe. The blog, written in October 2007 as the financial crisis deepened, related to problems at Merrill Lynch, one of the big American investment banks. It focused on the departure of Stanley O’Neal, the bank’s former chief executive, who presided over huge losses on toxic mortgage-backed financial products.
Rather than blaming Mr O’Neal for his departure, however, it referred to “schadenfreude crashing on the head of Stan O’Neal” as veterans at the bank “launched into the ‘I-told-you-so’ dance”.
Peston has accused Google of “killing” journalism in an “odd” and “clumsy” interpretation of that earlier ruling.
Mark Stephens, the ubiquitous media lawyer, said:
“It is a matter of enormous concern that both journalists and contemporary academics are having the material that they work with trawled over so that all we see are primped and preened electronic versions of reality, because everybody’s individual flaws have been airbrushed by the right to be forgotten.”
Here’s an idea: why not put the important stuff on ink and paper and use actual libraries anbd librarians to store it rather than relying on a massive American company to curate everything? But the powers that be are shutting libraries. The written word is being diminshed when we should be preserving it and making it freely available to all.