Horrid to be back from the summer holidays; however, I could not resist this topic as a subject of a quick blog (even on a late Friday afternoon which is “a good time to bury a blog”).
As is well known, some newspapers are keeping lists of stories when Google tells them that their handiwork is being de-linked following the ECJ Judgment on “the right to be forgotten”. The Daily Telegraph is one such newspaper (see references).
However, I could not resist its headline “Google removes link to Telegraph story on deceased pensioner”. The first page goes as follows: “A Telegraph article reporting on how a pensioner lay dead inside her home for six months before her body was discovered is the latest link taken down by Google”.
The story continues “The link has been taken down as part of a European Court of Justice ruling which forces the search engine to take down links to "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant" information”.
The Daily Telegraph (DT) does not tell its readers why the link has been put down – perhaps it should (especially now). To my mind, all such reports should state why the link has been removed and this can be done as the objector can usually be protected from identification (e.g. "individual making a comment or who is incidental to the story"). In addition, the DT should tell its readers that they cannot assume the subject of any de-linked story has objected.
Now, I am not going to insult readers by explaining how a ECJ judgment that relates to the processing of personal data is unlikely to apply to the above DT story. All I note is that in this case, the deceased pensioner clearly has not objected and I can’t see why any other person quoted in the story will object (e.g.the coroner; readers can look at the link and judge for themselves; see references). So why de-link?
I think there is an unhealthy alliance developing between the press who are opposed to Leveson and Google who are opposed to this judgement. Indeed, there are those who believe that Google are acting as “agent provocateurs” on the ECJ judgment.
The company takes down a link, tips of the press that their story is not scanned by its search engines, with the result that the newspaper sounds off in its Editorial columns (see Sunday Times reference below). The objective is to make everyone think that the ECJ Judgment is rubbish when this is not the case.
Now there is a counter argument. Google has embraced the ECJ Judgment so much that it has decided to extend the protection of the ECJ Judgement to the dead. Alternatively, Google is so keen to oppose the judgement, that the Daily Telegraph article provides evidence of its over enthusiasm. I will leave the reader to make a choice of which motive they prefer.
Personally, I am waiting to see if the Daily Telegraph retraction receives the same prominence as the publicity it has given to this case.
Pssssst! I think I know what prominence will be given .
Daily Telegraph story about Google removing the link: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/google/11060606/Google-removes-link-to-Telegraph-story-on-deceased-pensioner.html
Complete Daily Telegraph list of missing stories and the ECJ Judgement: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/google/11036257/Telegraph-stories-affected-by-EU-right-to-be-forgotten.html
Press and Google misrepresent European Court’s Google judgement (including Sunday Times): http://amberhawk.typepad.com/amberhawk/2014/05/press-and-google-misrepresent-european-courts-google-judgement.html