Last week, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that Google and other search engines must take requests from people for search results to be deleted. They don’t necessarily have to delete all results requested, but may find themselves fighting a lot of court battles when they don’t comply.
Almost immediately after the ruling, requests started rushing in, including at least one from a convicted pedophile, one from a doctor with a negative review, and one from a politician who allegedly engaged in some questionable behavior while in office.
John Oliver dedicated about seven minutes to the topic on his new HBO show Last Week Tonight on Sunday night, which HBO has made available on YouTube. It’s pretty spot on.
Memorable quotes include:
“Okay, a failsafe question to ask yourself when drafting a law is, ‘Might child pornographers like this?’ If so, maybe take another pass at it.”
“Luckily the only thing stopping this ruling from doing real damage is that it is by its nature completely ineffective because what the EU court doesn’t understand is that the Internet is like quicksand. The more aggressively you fight to remove yourself from it, the deeper you’re going to sink down into it. The case in point is the guy who started all of this.”
This refers to the Spanish man who complained about past debts surfacing in Google results, who as a result of the court’s decision is “now world famous for being that Spanish guy with debts from 1998.”
“The only thing I know about him,” said Oliver, “is the only thing he didn’t want me to know.”
Google will reportedly have a “right to be forgotten” tool up in less than two weeks.
Image via YouTube