Top European court to decide if Google needs to purge disputed links from global index

A top European court will now decide whether Google must remove “right to be forgotten” (RTBF) links from its global search index. The French data protection authority, Commission Nationale de l’informatique et des Libertés (CNIL), previously argued RTBF can be defeated when disputed content remains in Google’s global index.
In 2015, CNIL demanded global delisting to enforce RTBF. Accordingly, the regulator has effectively sought authority over Google’s search results in countries outside Europe — beyond its legal jurisdiction.
Google complied within Europe but declined to do so globally. CNIL then fined Google roughly 100,000€ for not following its directive to purge disputed content globally.
Google has correctly resisted CNIL on the grounds that citizens of other countries should not be subject to French or European law. Google has defended limiting RTBF removals to European users and has taken a number of steps to prevent people in Europe from accessing RTBF links:
We’ve been working hard to strike the right balance in implementing the European Court’s ruling, co-operating closely with data protection authorities. The ruling focused

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Canada’s Supreme Court orders Google to de-index site globally, opening door to censorship

The Canadian Supreme Court has ordered Google to de-index an e-commerce site globally. This sets a disastrous precedent that opens the door for other governments (and private parties) across the globe to try to control or censor Google’s search results.
The case was Google Inc. v. Equustek Solutions. The plaintiff, a small tech company in British Columbia, sued its former distributor, which was selling allegedly counterfeit versions of its products online. An initial injunction against the defendant failed to stop the behavior. The present case against Google went up on appeal, and the Supreme Court granted a worldwide injunction against Google:
In this case, the balance of convenience favoured granting an injunction. The Court of Appeal agreed that the court held jurisdiction over Google with respect to the injunction application. It also concluded that it was permissible to seek interim relief against a non-party. The power to grant injunctions is presumptively unlimited, and injunctions aimed at maintaining order need not be directed solely

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Google studying ways to deal with offensive search suggestions & results

As Google has come under fire for search suggestions like “are women evil” or actual results questioning whether The Holocaust happened, those who oversee its search engine aren’t ignoring the issue. They’re just taking time to figure out the best and most comprehensive response.
This week, I met with several engineers and executives involved with Google’s search results, including Ben Gomes, vice president of core search. There’s no question that Google has heard the concerns. There’s no question those within Google itself are disturbed by what’s being raised. But the desire is to find solutions that are generally defensible, rooted in policy and which can be implemented through algorithms, as much as possible.
In a statement Google gave me after our meeting, it said:

The goal of search is to provide the most relevant and useful results for our users. Clearly, we don’t always get it right, but we continually work to improve our algorithms. This is a really challenging problem, and something we’re

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Look Out Siri, Google Now & Cortana, Facebook M Wants To Be Your Digital Assistant

Facebook wants to be your digital assistant. The social network today announced it is testing a Siri-like personal assistant called M.
The service is a blend of artificial intelligence — similar to that which powers Apple’s Siri, Google’s Google Now and Microsoft’s Cortana — and human input, and Facebook believes that combination will make M better than its rivals. Like Siri, M will be able to give recommendations about the best places to dine in a city or help people pick a gift for a friend, but M will also be able to complete tasks such as making a restaurant reservation or having the gift delivered.
Facebook’s VP of messaging products David Marcus announced the test in a Facebook post this morning:

Today we’re beginning to test a new service called M. M is a personal digital assistant inside of Messenger that…
Posted by David Marcus on Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Marcus’s post was short on details about how M will work, but

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Google Will Allow People To Block “Revenge Porn” From Search Results

Google has announced that in the coming weeks, it will launch a system allowing people to request nude and explicit images of themselves posted without consent from appearing in Google’s search results.
This move will help with the “revenge porn” issue, where upset partners post images to degrade someone they were with. It’s an issue that’s especially likely to be done to women.
Google wrote of the new policy today in a blog post:
We’ve heard many troubling stories of “revenge porn”: an ex-partner seeking to publicly humiliate a person by posting private images of them, or hackers stealing and distributing images from victims’ accounts. Some images even end up on “sextortion” sites that force people to pay to have their images removed.
Our philosophy has always been that Search should reflect the whole web. But revenge porn images are intensely personal and emotionally damaging, and serve only to degrade the victims—predominantly women. So going forward, we’ll honor requests from people to remove

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EU Says Process For Reviewing Right To Be Forgotten Appeals Is Working

The EU organization charged with overseeing Europe’s Right To Be Forgotten appeals process – Article 29 Working Party (WP29) – says its review system for RTBF complaints is working just fine, and that the majority of RTBF requests denied by search engines are justified.
After creating a set of guidelines for reviewing RTBF appeals last December, WP29 – a group made up of data protection authorities from the EU’s member states – recently surveyed national regulators and has determined its process for reviewing appeals is operating efficiently.
“It follows from the answers received to the questionnaire that the system put in place by the WP29 has efficiently played its role.”
In a statement released by the WP29 covering its survey results, the group claimed, “It follows from the answers received to the questionnaire that the system put in place by the WP29 has efficiently played its role.”
It also said of the nearly 2,000 complaints it has received, the great majority

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Russia Poised To Pass Sweeping Right-To-Be-Forgotten Law

Lawmakers in Russia are just a couple votes away from passing a sweeping “right to be forgotten” law that critics say would be technically impossible to follow while also preventing citizens from accessing important information online.
The European Union already has its own right to be forgotten law that lets citizens submit links to specific web pages and ask that those pages be removed from search results related to the person’s name. The EU’s criteria gives search engines the right to evaluate whether the person making the request is a public figure or private citizen, and whether the information has general public interest.
But, as the New York Times explains, the proposed law in Russia goes a lot further:
At its core, the proposal is similar to one approved by a top European court last year that forced Google to start removing links from search results for individuals’ names, but has two major differences that push the Russian law

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Canadian Appeals Court Orders Google To Censor Globally

While most attention has been on the European Union wanting to impose its censorship demands on Google globally, the same thing has been happening in Canada. This week, Google lost an appeal and may have to censor content on sites outside Google Canada.
Here’s the backstory. A Canadian company named Equustek Solutions won a trademark infringement case against another company called Datalink Technologies Gateways. Equustek then wanted Google to remove links to Datalink. Google did so, but only for those using the Google Canada site.
Back to court. Last June, a Canadian judge in British Columbia ordered that Google remove Datalink from its search results. All of them, worldwide. Google appealed; now it has lost that appeal.
The Globe And Mail has more information on the ruling, and there’s even more via Techmeme. Google, cited in the report, hasn’t decided if it will appeal further. I suspect that’s likely. But what’s key about this case is that it’s further along than the situation in France, which just happened

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