The United Kingdom is making waves in the world of privacy rights. This started in May 2014 when the European Union’s top court gave its citizens the right to request that search engines remove links with outdated or irrelevant personal information when searching ones name.
In August 2015, the United Kingdom’s Information Commisioner’s Office even demanded Google Inc. take down links related to news stories that that shed light on one of the first cases that Google granted removal on - in essence removing links about stories related to removing the links in the first place. According to the Wall Street Journal, this is called the Streisand Effect, alluding the 2003 Barbara Streisand case in the U.S. Streisand sued to get removal of images on the Internet of her home in California which caused even more publicity and spurred people to search for the images.
Much like the current case at hand, Google’s initial grant to remove links related to the complainant’s name, spurred on news stories about this removal egging on social and privacy activists to make a buzz about it. The concern here is how far these acts to preserve one’s privacy will go. One of the first cases that Google granted removal of involved a petty crime conviction. The person involved was perturbed that this information, which they found out-dated, would still show up in search engine results. Many wonder how this will affect name searches of more serious criminals. It very well may be that this is the new line where privacy and the public’s right to know is drawn.
How do you feel about your privacy on the internet? Leave a comment below!