UK commission orders Google to remove links to ‘right to be forgotten’ stories

Google Marshmallow
In the ongoing privacy battle raging between Google and Europe, the search engine has been dealt another blow. The United Kingdom recently ordered Google to remove a total of nine links that currently direct viewers to news stories that concern older reports that have been struck from search results, as per the controversial “right to be forgotten” rule. According to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), who issued the ruling, when searching for an individual’s name, previously removed results should be completely erased from the Internet’s history, which makes these news stories subject to removal as well.

Of course, this presents something of a slippery slope for not only Google, but the ICO and other watchdog groups as well — while the “right to be forgotten” mandate was originally intended to clear the web’s cache of old and irrelevant stories, it’s quickly becoming an excuse for what some consider significant censorship.

Ironically, the reason the new stories are being written is that the old ones were removed — one man petitioned Google to remove links to stories about a “minor criminal offense” that he’d committed nearly 10 years ago in 1998. When Google agreed (a move the firm now surely regrets), a number of publications picked up the story as newsworthy, leading to a new slew of articles about the individual and mentions of his crime. This is why you don’t kick the hornet’s nest, kids.

In explaining the ICO’s decision, Deputy Commissioner David Smith said, “Google was right, in its original decision, to accept that search results relating to the complainant’s historic conviction were no longer relevant and were having a negative impact on privacy. It is wrong of them to now refuse to remove newer links that reveal the same details and have the same negative impact.” The ICO agrees that Google should evaluate the removal of links based on whether they have, as the tech giant says, “a matter of significant public importance.” Still, there clearly exists some difference of opinion when it comes to what actually qualifies as “significant.”

Smith continued, “Let’s be clear. We understand that links being removed as a result of this court ruling is something that newspapers want to write about. And we understand that people need to be able to find these stories through search engines like Google. But that does not need them to be revealed when searching on the original complainant’s name.”

From the day of the ruling, Google has 35 days to comply with the ICO’s orders, though they certainly have the opportunity to appeal. And if things go the way they have across the rest of Europe, it’s likely that this will be a long, drawn-out battle impacting free speech and anti-censorship. 


Get ready to say goodbye to some IFTTT support in Gmail by March 31

If This Then That, the popular automation service, will drop some of its support for Gmail by March 31. The decision comes as a response to security concerns and is aimed to protect user data.
Movies & TV

MoviePass returns to unlimited movies plan, but with plenty of restrictions

Troubled subscription-based movie service MoviePass is making headlines on a daily basis lately, and not in a good way. Here's a timeline of events for the company once described as Netflix for movie theaters.

Delete tracking cookies from your system by following these quick steps

Cookies are useful when it comes to saving your login credentials and other data, but they can also be used by advertisers to track your browsing habits across multiple sites. Here's how to clear cookies in the major browsers.

Google hit with another fine by the EU, this time for $1.7 billion

Google has been fined for the third time by the EU, this time for breaching antitrust laws by requiring third-party websites using its search function to prioritize its ads over competitors.

Edit, sign, append, and save with six of the best PDF editors

Though there are plenty of PDF editors to be had online, finding a solution with the tools you need can be tough. Here are the best PDF editors for your editing needs, no matter your budget or operating system.

Firefox 66 is here and it will soon block irritating autoplay videos

Do web advertisements have you frustrated? Mozilla is here to help. The latest version of the browser will soon block autoplaying videos by default and will also help make web page scrolling smoother.

Patreon is having another go at changing the way it charges creators

Patreon messed up pretty badly the last time it tried to change its payment system. Now it's having another go, though this time the changes mainly affect future sign-ups rather than its current community of creators.
Movies & TV

No TV? No problem. Here's how to watch the Final Four online

Whether you want to watch the Big Dance on your phone or on your smart TV, we have the lowdown on all the ways to watch March Madness you can handle. Grab your foam finger and some nachos.

Pinning websites to your taskbar is as easy as following these quick steps

Would you like to know how to pin a website to the taskbar in Windows 10 in order to use browser links like apps? Whichever browser you're using, it's easier than you might think. Here's how to get it done.

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. But with so many subreddits to choose from, exploring them can be overwhelming. Here are some of the best subreddits to get you started.

Confused about RSS? Don't be. Here's what it is and how to use it

What is an RSS feed, anyway? This traditional method of following online news is still plenty useful. Let's take a look at what RSS means, and what advantages it has in today's busy world.

Don’t be fooled! Study exposes most popular phishing email subject lines

Phishing emails are on the rise and a new study out by the cybersecurity company Barracuda has exposed some of the most common phishing email subject lines used to exploit businesses. 

How much!? British Airways glitch results in $4.2M quote for family vacation

Website errors sometimes cause flight prices to display at way below the correct price. But British Airways recently experienced the opposite issue when it tried to charge a family more than $4 million for a vacation in Mexico.

Want to save a webpage as a PDF? Just follow these steps

Need to quickly save and share a webpage? The best way is to learn how to save a webpage as a PDF file, as they're fully featured and can handle images and text with ease. Here's how.