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Should Google Be Forced To Filter Search Results?

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Should Google Be Forced To Filter Search Results?
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There are a lot of people out there with things in their past that they’re not proud of. Sometimes those things make there way to the Internet and do a great deal of damage to their reputation. This stuff comes up when people search on Google, and Google traditionally has not removed such content unless required to do so by law.

One man is currently trying to get his damaging content out of Google, and not just removed, but filtered as it’s created. A French court has sided with him, and ordered Google to comply.

Do you think Google should be forced to filter results? Let us know in the comments.

Google has been in a legal battle in France for the past couple months regarding reputation-damaging search results involving former Forumua One Racing head Max Mosley’s attendance at orgy, which was leaked in a video back in 2008.

News of the World had published footage of the orgy, which was described as involving Nazi role-playing. While owning up to the orgy, he denied the Nazi element, which a court also said there was no evidence of after he sued the publication.

Mosley sued Google with the goal of getting this content out of search results, potentially setting a dangerous precedent in search engine censorship.

When Google went to court in September, it took to its Europe Policy blog to discuss the case, saying that Mosley requested the judge impose “an alarming new model for automated censorship.”

Google must be alarmed now. It hasn’t posted anything about it on the blog yet. It will reportedly appeal, however.

The New York Times reports:

On Wednesday, the Tribunal de Grande Instance in Paris backed Mr. Mosley’s attempts to force Google to block references to the images from appearing in Google’s search results worldwide. The company said it would appeal the decision.

Google had this to say about the case in the initial blog post:

He wants web companies to build software filters, in an attempt to automatically detect and delete certain content. Specifically, Mr. Mosley demands that Google build a filter to screen Google’s index and proactively block pages containing images from our results – without anyone, much less a judge, ever seeing it or understanding the context in which the image appears.

We sympathize with Mr. Mosley, and with anyone who believes their rights have been violated. We offer well-established tools to help people to remove specific pages from our search results when those pages have clearly been determined to violate the law. In fact, we have removed hundreds of pages for Mr. Mosley, and stand ready to remove others he identifies.

But the law does not support Mr. Mosley’s demand for the construction of an unprecedented new Internet censorship tool. In repeated rulings, Europe’s highest court has noted that filters are blunt instruments that jeopardise lawful expression and undermine users’ fundamental right to access information. A set of words or images may break the law in one context, but be lawful in another. As an example, a filter might end up censoring news reports about Mr. Mosley’s own court case.

While constituting a dangerous new censorship tool, the filter would fail to solve Mr. Mosley’s problems. Pages removed from search results remain live on the Internet, accessible to users by other means – from following links on social networks to simply navigating to the address in a browser. As an example, one page Mr. Mosley sought to remove comes from a blog, which according to public sources, receives the vast majority of its visits from sources other than web search.

Interestingly enough, this comes after Google adjusted its algorithm on its own to prevent mug shot sites’ content from ranking in search results, which could help protect the reputations of some people.

In another case in June, a European court said Google didn’t have to remove search results when a Spanish man sought for it to remove reputation-damaging materials.

Do you think Google should be forced to filter results from its search engine? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Image: Onfreespeech (YouTube)

Should Google Be Forced To Filter Search Results?
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  • http://www.seventhman.com/ Shaleen Shah

    I think that you can push those bad stuff down the page results but no matter, anyone doing a thorough search can find these. Sometimes, I wonder if those who are offering some kind of reputation recovery services are mostly scam. Like, even if a web page is removed, one can still search a cached version of it so what’s the use..?

  • http://www.moozik98.ir ramin

    very god

    • http://ketutparta.com sewa mobil di Bali

      i agree

  • Patrice

    The funny thing is that the results are already filtered, google does its best at getting rid of small businesses to force them to buy adwords.

    • http://cass-hacks.com Craig Schultz

      If you are having problems getting your site to position well in the SERPS, you might find help at the Google Webmaster forum.

      Google’rs sometimes drop in for difficult questions but more often than not other webmasters with a significant amount of experience help other webmasters figure out why their sites are doing as well as hoped.

  • Jost

    I don’t wish to be pedantic but reread the second sentence in the article “Sometimes those things make there way to the Internet and do a great deal of damage to their reputation”
    Their – possessive, there – NOT – as a writer please get these small things right – full marks on the use of it’s & its though – well done!!

  • H.Brennan

    NO !! Just another government intervention.
    They should do this if requested by the actual person that it is about.

  • http://www.adwh.com Dawn

    Personally? I don’t use Google any more than I have to. They are a private business. Let them be. If they cannot comply with French law, then they shouldn’t do business there. They can block their services from that country.

    • Robbie

      You’re dodging the issue.
      This is about a private company sharing personal information about an individual. It doesn’t matter if you use Google or not, they could be sharing your darkest secrets in public to entertain others and you have no method of preventing it.

      Think about how you would feel if your private life were up there on Google for anyone to read through, even though you’ve done nothing wrong and no one has the right to discuss it.

      I am loathed to say it, but Max is right on this issue. There should be a legal method to have such content removed and to pursue those who insist on sharing that personal information.

      No one has the right to invade someones life like this, no matter whether people find it entertaining or not, or what their personal views about it are. No crime has been committed here, so there is no justification for publishing it.

      • http://colorsofAJ.com AJ Tyne

        Consider the other side. If google didn’t display the search results, would these people be slandering him with Nazi talk and showing his orgy pictures all over the internet WITHOUT HIS EVER KNOWING? Perhaps he has sued the wrong party.

      • http://cass-hacks.com Craig Schultz

        “how you would feel if your private life were up there on Google”

        Google didn’t publish the content originally, they only indexed it.

        You could also see the same content on one of the numerous internet caching services.

        Removing something from Google doesn’t remove something from the web page it is on.

        If there is to be a legal procedure for removing content, it should be applied to the content publisher. As soon as they take it down, there won’t be anything for Google to index.

  • Robbie

    This is a very complex issue.

    If something is factually true, then Google probably should not be forced into censorship of that information. However, no crime has been committed here as far as we can see, so this is really just an invasion of privacy.

    I’m wondering if Google should be forced to comply with international norms on press freedom. So, if it is a personal attack on an individual, gossip about a person that has no bearing on public life, or something similar to that, then there should be no foundation for legal action or censorship.

    The problem we have now is that people believe that everyone is “fair game”. The press have warped the meaning of “in the public interest”.

    It is not in the public interest to air people’s private lives and make it a public issue to judge. What he gets up to in his own life is none of our business. In the public interest used to mean exposing wrongdoing in government, corruption, criminality and so on. This has been extended to mean anything that remotely titillates people with no life of their own.

    People’s personal lives are not fair game, it’s time the press were made to accept this, and internet companies too.

    The risk with this is that it will probably be abused by rich people, corporations and politicians who have genuine scandals that affect others. A company, politician or wealthy person should not have the ability to censor content about their abuses because this is indeed in the public interest.

    I don’t care what Max does with his junk or who with, I DO care when Nestle tries to tell African mothers that breastfeeding is poisoning their babies and that they should buy their products just to be safe.

  • Jorge Serrano

    The light of day is too harsh for most people. Fortunately, the Ministry of Truth can do its work quickly now that Winston Smith has been replaced by computers.

    As to making the “private company” argument, be careful. That’s how the multinationals took over. Yes, the stock in Google is privately owned, but Google does perform a very public function and its Big Pipe goes straight to the NSA.

  • https://www.searchen.com John Colascione

    Google’s mission has always been to help people find information. Google should provide a way to remove information which violates their policies or the law upon notification and should provide tool in order for them be notified of content which deems review. That’s about it, anything more should be dealt with on a case by case basis.

    • http://cass-hacks.com Craig Schultz

      Google does provide such tools and in fact have done so many times in this case.

      The “victim” wants Google to proactively remove content although one with any understanding of the state of computers’ ability to actually understand content would shudder at the thought of turning computers loose on censoring content.

  • David St. James

    There is such a thing called data protection in the UK and Google should make it easier to remove data about a person that he or she does not want displayed. In other words privacy should be respected. A typical example is when SEO companies create back links and disclose phone numbers and personal addresses without permission to do so. It them becomes a nightmare to get this information removed. If Google do not take the responsibility to protect the public in such matters then they are acting in a totally irresponsible manner as publishers in my opinion.

    • http://cass-hacks.com Craig Schultz

      Make it easier? One can already easily request content be removed, assuming one has a court order substantiating the removal request.

      Without a court’s decision, it would become a free-for-all with anyone being able to have anything they disagree with.

  • http://dailyracingrag.com James Hall

    Legal settlements involving individuals should prevail and it should require very little extra effort for Google to remove that personal information than they already employ daily in removing copyright abuses, alcohol, tobacco, drugs, guns, tight tops, big butts and a seemingly endless list of other things they filter.

  • http://www.effortlessmanifesting@gmail.com Dr. John Michael Christian

    In my opinion I believe they absolutely should be filtering information. An entire industry has sprung up recently because of the need to restore people’s reputations after damaging information, whether true or not, has harmed them and their businesses.

    • http://cass-hacks.com Craig Schultz

      How would such filtering be accomplished? Computers can’t understand the content they index.

      Besides, if Google does filter it, how is one to find out there is information they don’t want out there?

      Ignorance is bliss?

  • Caroline

    Yes, Google should certainly be forced to remove search results in certain circumstances.

    I have a friend who was up on a gun charge at the same time as his work colleague was up on a charge of ‘interfering’ with minors. My friend was completely exonerated of the charge but now, if you put his name into Google, his photo comes up with the header “Teacher up on sex charge” (or something along those lines). That was because the local paper also reported on the other teacher who was up on sex charges in the same news article.

    From the search results it appears as if my friend was the one on the sex charge; it’s only if you click through to the article that it is made clear (although, of course, the newspaper has also never updated the article to say that my friend was found completely innocent).

    • http://colorsofAJ.com AJ Tyne

      That, I believe, is exactly the kind of thing that google will already remove or correct in the search results — has your friend tried?

  • Scott

    I agree with Google in this case. Requiring them to filter content really amounts to censorship and could have far reaching consequences. What if the government decided that they wanted to have anything that embarrased the President or an agency removed from Google search results? Americans would not have a clear picture of what is going on in OUR own government. I think the best solution is for people take responsibility for themselves and to stop doing embarrassing things if they are worried about being exposed.

    • http://www.chicfromhair2toe.com Chic From Hair 2 Toe

      I am with Scott on that one. But what if the content was leaked? What if the person had no control over what happened? Should he be forgiven. We all make mistakes. People are so out there these days; airing their dirty laundry on all kind of social networks. I don’t think Google owes anybody anything if they posted their contents themselves.

      • http://cass-hacks.com Craig Schultz

        What you mention is an issue for the courts to decide in the given situation.

        Could you imagine the chaos that would ensue were Google to have to filter anything and everything based only on someone’s whim?

  • Loki57

    The mug shot sites are a far easier issue than the divergence of international law, and privacy versus public issues.

    If mug shot publishers existed to put a spotlight on public information, their actions might be controversial, but legal. Those companies are instead engaging in extortion rackets, in a daisy chain playing off each other’s corrupt business models. Ideally they’d be shut down as felons, rather than by Google refusing to promote that corrupt enterprise.

    Google, along with most large social networking sites, already qualify under laws of states like CA and NJ were they enforced, but would properly qualify under needed updates to the US Civil Rights Act definitions of Public Accommodation found within 42 USC 2000 et seq, as corporations acting as quasi-government entities barred from discrimination over protected criteria. The UN backed hrweb.org human rights project extends non-discrimination principles internationally, but with messy diplomatic weasel secondary clauses that make that law a Swiss cheese where any country may discriminate over otherwise protected criteria, so long as it does so brutally against everyone, and doesn’t just single out victims.

    France’s actions in the Mosley case are equivalent to those of an extortionate religious supremacist cult, say the Vatican or Scientology or violent Jihadists, trying to coerce its internal ideological cult dogma onto others internationally, who are entitled to live under divergent values and practices. There are so many conflicting such standards, that the only workable handling, whether internally to the USA et al, or internationally, is to protect the visible existence of conflicting values and practices, whether others like it or not.

    Were this a US case, Mosley would be shut down quickly, and reviewed under two prongs of case law after being found a public figure, entitled to lesser privacy than those who act as private persons. In that sense, this case isn’t about a person per se, but a public image illusion related to the hypocrisy of an institutional figurehead.

    First, it could be reviewed under the standards of Falwell v LFP, inc (Larry Flynt Publications, dba Hustler). There’s even a parody of that classic parody ad, where instead of Jerry Falwell losing his virginity to his mom while drunk in an outhouse on Campadre, George Bush is showing Glen Beck the joys of hooker sex in an outhouse, though with slightly different treatment of the goat. The lawyers collecting millions were the true winner of that case, which establishes that public figures are not entitled to libel damages against those who publish false defamatory speech, if it’s too far from true for a “reasonable person” to mistake it as if intended as such.

    That’s not the one that applies here, but rather “Roxanne sleeps with her trumpet.” That NY yellow fishwrapper banner headline was captioned to an article where the Pulitzer heiress did a several hour interview, and was asked if she plays any instruments, and then where she stores here trumpet when not in use. US courts ruled storing her trumpet in the corner of her bedroom as close enough to that “sleeps with” depiction, to pass the truth as an absolute defense against libel that in the USA generally has to be less hyperbole twisted if applied to private persons.

    Max would fail his claims in US courts as a public figure and with truthful depiction, not so much as twisted a bit as in the Pulitzer precedent. It could be argued that one of the group of hookers in the video of his recreational exploits wasn’t actually in Nazi uniform, as most of the uniform was missing, and the shirt open, such that it’d never have passed a military inspection. It’s hard to be sure from the video if Max had any interest in hookers, or if the larger scene was playing on uniform themes and that partial Nazi uniform replica was just something one of his hookers had available for that group BDSM and sex theme.

    That leads to another reality denial extortion racket groups have tried in formerly occupied countries in Europe to ban certain speech or item sales related to Nazi history. It’s similar to how after certain mass shooting incidents, factions in the USA have pressured Google to obfuscate a school in Newtown or other sites in various locales on maps, as if that somehow remedies their post traumatic stress, and that somehow justifies reality tampering with maps or history that are supposed to be factually accurate and not tampered to meet the emotional pathologies of anyone.

    There’s also the USA fraud where TOS of most large online businesses, be they a Google or Yahoo, IACI (eg, Match Media, OKC, etc) or Facebook, etc, have terms that pretend to be facially neutral, but actually are designed to perpetrate censorship of individuals and groups based on religious or cultural values. That’s seen in restrictions on speech that reflects ideological values over sex, drugs, nudity, or even food policies, destroying ecosystems by overbreeding of humans or other species, and many other issues that also show up in often badly handled labor policies, or mala prohibita as statutes and ordinances that are inherently discriminatory and overdue to flush.

    Reality tampering is antithetical to free and open access to knowledge and information, and is rarely done other than to pander to someone or group’s demands that their mental illnesses or supremacist values be converted into denial of civil and human rights of others. As a public figure, Max Mosley as figurehead of a huge multinational corporate empire isn’t the best example, but the only functional way to honestly protect rights of individual persons in a global village requires those who dislike truthful public speech or visible lifestyles of others is to require the mental midgets and bigoted cripples to GTFU, FOAD, or find their own private rubber rooms with enough sand to bury their heads.

    At least Larry Falwell learned a dose of humility from his extortion of censorship failure. How else would we know that his college and seminary, the first of his family so educated, and the roots of his Liberty University with its illegal student policies that coerce living by standards even for distant online students that cannot legitimately exist in many states or in schools taking Federal funds as his does, were all ultimately funded by Prohibition booze profits from his dad’s strip bar? As testified to under oath. And, that as county Sheriff, his dad’s strip bar was the only one in the county to not get busted during Prohibition?

    In practical terms, often it’s wisest to just bend over and take it when a public figure gets caught in hypocrisy. That was clearly true in Falwell’s case, where the litigation he started turned into a full length quasi-documentary movie, and precedential case law. With Mosley, it’s likely more people have seen which of his hookers had the open military shirt during the phase when they went from S&m rituals to just having sex due to his attempts to abuse law for censorship, than had he just shut up and not squealed like a stuck pig.

    The serious issues of cases like this do need international process to shut down jurisdiction shopping and single jurisdiction scams to extort violation of international human rights to a free press and free speech and freedom of different ideological views. West African countries are starting to follow the move of UK law away from being jurisdictions to shop for oppressive defamation laws, as unworkable in increasingly diverse national societies, never mind internationally. It’s unlikely France will manage to impose isolationist notions of defamation, or claiming privacy of individuals attaches to multinational figureheads, in any form that doesn’t conflict with international laws or practical limits of what technology can do to ridicule both Mosley and France itself.

    Now, about that adult baby scene where Max Mosley in his diaper is paddled by race car driver and race officials uniformed hookers while chained to a cross…. Not so hard to produce these days, even with free 3D animation tools. Don’t forget to add Rothchild estate wine in tribute to bankers who foreclosed on Kaiser mortgages during WW-I, and suitable usage of Shell and Greenpeace logos and themes to ridicule Formula One Racing, in ways where they end up wishing Mosley just shut up and didn’t trigger even more attention by using courts as attempted censors. A global electronic village is not the world where arrogant old fascists think they grew up.

    • http://cass-hacks.com Craig Schultz

      If you don’t professionally write articles, you should!

      Exceptional!

  • Matt

    How about this for a headline?
    Should Youtube users be forced onto Google+ ?

  • http://colorsofAJ.com AJ Tyne

    I agree with Google, even though I know 1st hand of a victim to a similar problem as Mr. Mosley, though nowhere near as devastating or scandalous. It was just a simple court case that was used out of context by someone on a forum to try to destroy the person’s business reputation — and they were successful, even though the information used is incorrect — it is too difficult to correct and as google pointed out, the forum page remains, and the forum owners can use that any way they like to hurt anyone they choose. I know how easy it is for anyone with an agenda to find something on another person and even twist and turn the finding until it becomes something it never was and it can ruin a reputation or worse. But Google is right. They can only remove such items from search. They cannot control what vindictive people do. They also cannot possibly make a filter that would correctly judge what to leave in or take out automatically.

  • CArl Spitzer

    I agree a propholactic filter would be too hard to control an once created would become a tool of repressive states everywhere with as much power to limit freedom as a split root server for dns.

    Google should resist any such attempts to create this technology even if it means cutting off all access by French ISP and citizens to its service.

    The only freedom friendly solution is to allow the offended party to report each offending link to google for delisting on a piecemeal basis.

  • Robert

    Google handed editorial control of our usenet news group over to a “volunteer” troll who removed years of posted content among other dirty deeds. Google ignored all messages regarding the issue. There should be a way to make Google pay attention instead of putting their phone on ignore.

  • wh

    No censorship.
    The WWW has fundamentallly changed the world. Filters will not fix a person’s past choices. Anything that has been published on the WWW is now immortal. When people realize the impact, then they will be more careful of what they allow in the first place.

  • Netnop

    Google should resist any such attempts to create this technology even if it means cutting off all access by French ISP and citizens to its service.

  • http://www.Thai-the-knot.yolasite.com Neil

    If its true – Print and be dammed – but “Adult content” filtering must be available

  • allan jones

    Google paypal ebay and a few others laws unto them selves,
    they have far to much power and think they can do as they wish to further there own ends (basically making money or gaining power),

    i believe in freedom of speech and that most things shouldnt be censored, but some things also need to die a natural death and not be retained in the memory banks of Google etc for evermore and in some cases never even be made known to the masses

    • http://cass-hacks.com Craig Schultz

      Google doesn’t store anything “for evermore”. If a page is changed, so does Google’s index.

      Also, Google only indexes content that is public so by definition it can be known to the masses simply by doing the same thing Google does, follow links.

  • http://iwanttotravelto.com/ Thomas

    This all depends on the person and incident! Google just removed a website that was posting information on felons and their crimes. This actually has endangered the general population! If someone is a pedophile, felon, or worse I want that to come up on a search with their picture. I am an employer and I don’t want to hire someone that is a bad person. What happens when That employee does something wrong. My company is financially and morally responsible, is it not? There has to be a balance to what is right and wrong. This man choose to get involved with what he has. I’m sure he has a lot of things hidden in his past… Oh what tangled webs we weave!

  • http://pulpkult.com PaulWADE

    Bearing in mind that Google has become a generic term, used for/or instead of, the word “search,” it is commendable that they (Google) have remained as Government free as they have so far. Any individual that believes their rights are more important, or should be somehow protected by a law that currently doesn’t exist, is wrong in so many ways.
    For Google to remain a trusted international organisation, which is both a corporation and the mainstay of an internet service unparalleled by any other organisation, we need it to be independent.
    Let the French find another way to serve Mosley. Not at our expense which is exactly what would happen if such a ruling stands.
    PaulWADE-PulpKult

  • http://www.tonictalk.co.uk Carlos Gibson-Foy

    Relax Mr Mosley, no one really cares what you get up to.
    Therefore: in my opinion, the simple answer is no. Your reputation is built from all that you do not just the things that wish people to know. If you wish to maintain a good reputation then engage in conduct that maintains that reputation. For a good reputation, perfection is unnecessary, just avoid the really obvious stupid stuff and it will be ok. We are all human and make mistakes, so do not worry about being judged too much. And if it gets too much for you well, perhaps public life is not for you.

  • http://www.backwaterstudio.com Kathleen Johnson

    [Quote]Interestingly enough, this comes after Google adjusted its algorithm on its own to prevent mug shot sites’ content from ranking in search results, which could help protect the reputations of some people. [/Quote]

    Google tampered with the accepted Internet neutrality when it became a “pay to play” arena. They then went on the censoring with alogarithm tweaks that served their best interests.

    It was Google themselves that started tampering search results. Quite frankly, whats good for the Goose is also good for the Gander.

    I read this article this week and wondering where this “tampering” is going to “end”:
    http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/the-exchange/ruling-could-wreck-internet-fees-slowed-sites-opponents-224406331.html

    ————————-

  • http://www.artgallerygate.com/ Mrose

    Google can’t control what others publish. The laws governing what can be photographed or written need to be more specific. When they are defamatory or slandering, the penalty for publishing such material should be very severe.

    The problem is the demand for personal informations about people, the acquisition of the material, and the publishing the the compromising information.

    I guess we as a society might be partly at fault. If we didn’t bother to search for and read another persons smut no-one would bother.

  • Gin

    I would say, filter it if the information isn’t valid since gossip can be quite damaging but usually wholy based on rumors. A criminal activity that’s in police records though, yes, should be available to the public especially if a danger to the public.

    • http://cass-hacks.com Craig Schultz

      You would want computers deciding what to filter? Seriously?

      Search engines are barely able to come up with relevant results based on key words that the computers themselves don’t understand.

      Computers actually understanding and so being able to make decisions such as would be required is so far into the future that it might as well be never.

  • http://www.improve-manhood.com Sven

    Google and all search engines should deindex all spam websites. But there is one question: Who is good enough to decide what is spam?
    To take this from Bible: “Anyone who has no sin should step forward and throw the first stone.”

    • http://cass-hacks.com Craig Schultz

      Google and the other search engines try to filter spam but considering the job they do with it, people want search engines to start filtering content?

      Ouch! LOL

  • http://greenray4ever.com/home.html Jim Green

    We want the “conscious web”, of course, without a lot of
    censorship. I would prefer that Google removes pages identified
    by men as damaging at their request, rather than introduce
    a vast amount of censorship software that might blunt our
    consciousness.

  • http://www.primewebsoft.com/ A K sharma

    Hello Sir,
    i Like your Article and the Discussion about GoogleFilter Search Results. Thanks for sharing Good Information.

  • http://www.primewebsoft.com/ A K sharma

    I like your Article. It is knowledge based Submission about Google Filter Search .Thanks for your Article. I like this.

  • http://us-recruiters.com Bob Rystrom

    As a recruiter, parent and grand parent I believe that people, particular young people, should have the ability to remove comments, pictures, etc. that they had posted that could hurt their career opportunities.

    In fact, I think it should be easer to totally remove one’s self from the social network groups if so desired!

  • Tyrell Track Master

    This is the classic “Streisand_effect”. I had no idea who Mr Mosely was until now. The funny thing is I couldn’t care less that he was involved in some weird Nazi orgy, but because he’s raised a stink about it, now many more people know than would ever have cared in the first place.

    It’s utterly and completely outrageous for him to ask Google to bend over for him. Tough luck pal. Own it and move on.

  • fred

    I understand the dilemma faced by Google but I am very convinced of the need to filter publications emanating from unsure sources. It is not difficult to imagine the level people can go to damage their fellow beings and this becomes unfettered when their are no sanctions. removing the offending publication, as Google is now claiming to have done does not undo the damage caused. What does one do with the down loaded copies, sometimes used in further reproducing and advancing the libelous ideas? It is certainly not everyone who read the original write-up that is aware of its later removal or the reasons for the removal. The law of most countries places liability on both the author and the publisher of of a libelous write-up.Freedom of information without concomitant and corresponding responsibility is unfair and inequitable.

  • Dennis

    That gets to be quite the slippery slope. If that is the case and results should be filtered then it also stands to reason that the media also would need to filter all of their content about everybody and everything that may cause damage to people’s reputation. Sort of ridiculous. Secondly the government needs to keep its nose out of everybody’s business. This is not an age of secrecy. This is an age of communication networking and information. If you don’t want somebody to know something about you then don’t do stupid things that get you put on the Internet. Don’t use Facebook, twitter and do interviews. And don’t hang out with people that are under surveillance and being tracked such as the incident with the orgy. Everybody watches these people as celebrities, nobody really thought that there was going to be something that made it to the Internet?

  • beth

    I absolutely beleive Google should comply. As an individual wishes to remove their info and stay present not trapped by the past, regardless of good or bad, they should have the right. Google is to personal information as Stalkers/Paparazzi are to their victims.

  • Elia

    It’s really easy. If you want stuff removed, ask for it! Google has the tools in place to do so.

    Also, if you are SO CONCERNED about YOUR REPUTATION AND IMAGE – then engage in conducts that create and maintain that reputation!

    Remember everything reverts; the good and the bad… Google can only try to help you by removing certain “unwanted” pages (because you consider them damaging your reputation). Therefore, if you consider certain “evidence” can damage your reputation, you should not take action in those situations in first place…..

  • http://www.flounder.com Joseph Newcomer

    “Google” is not a monolith. There is the search engine business, there is YouTube, there are in Internet Nwsgrouo archives, and so on. So to talk about “google” as the search engine company and the hosting company makes no sense.

    “Filtering” results is censorship. For data which is a matter of public record, you can’t ask google to “censor” the records of someone who was convicted of embezzling, especially if the search is by a prospective employer who is considering the person for a CFO position.

    But private behavior, where there is an expectation of privacy, is a different matter. If someone posts scandalous videos in YouTube, for example, someone drunk at a party, then that person should have the right to demand that the offending material be removed from the hosting site. This does not involve the google search-engine division at all. The law already specifies what remedies are available. However, enforcement of the law is difficult, particularly when the libelous material is hosted offshore.

    So I suggest a mechanism of the following nature: google, the search engine, is not responsible for filtering anything. Period. If it is on the Internet, and indexable, it appears, with whatever ranking this week’s algorithm Furthermore, there is an electronic “appeal court” where complaints may be filed, and hosting sites may be held legally liable for removing material ruled “inappropriate” in that it violates existing laws. Now, here is where google can /practice/ “Don’t be evil”: if a site refuses to remove legally-deemed copy (based on the laws of the appropriate country), google can just refuse to index that site for anyone in that country. So if “Web of Trust” continues to publish lies about me, I don’t have to travel to their country and file a case against them. If the U.S. law agrees that the material is libelous, and the service refuses to remove it, that site disappears for all U.S. searches. If a French citizen gets a French court to rule that my site contains material that would get me arrested if I lived in France, google can demand that I comply with the removal request, or my Web site disappears for French users. Google, the search engine company, is not responsible for censoring just one page on my site (I’ll just rename the page). It is effectively impossible to filter by content. But a site which is a repeat violator risks their entire company by not removing illegal content.

    Try this as an idea and see how far it can be pushed before it breaks. And it will break; anything I invent while typing with one hand and eating with the other is probably not completely thought out.

  • http://BOLLESDODGE.COM DAWN

    Google should be forced FILTER BECAUSE it is hearsay. In the United States, we are INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY.

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