UK committee believes the “right to be forgotten” ruling is unreasonable

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And so the saga continues … In the short time since the EU ruled that individuals have the right to be forgotten when sensitive information found in search results is considered “outdated or irrelevant,” we’ve seen what is probably best described as the makings of a damn good sitcom. We first had the amusement of deleted links being reported by the media, bringing the stories back into the limelight. We then had Google describing the impossible position in which it has been placed, being asked to make “difficult and debatable judgments” based on “very vague and subjective tests.”

Demands for search engines to remove personal data from the web to respect people’s “right to be forgotten” are unreasonable, a group of peers says. The Lords Home Affairs EU Sub-Committee also said it was wrong to give search engines such as Google the job of deciding what should be removed. It said the UK must ensure that updated EU regulations protected accurate material in the public domain. The government said there should not be an “unfettered right” to delete data. The European Court of Justice ruled in May that links to irrelevant and outdated data should be erased on request from searches , sparking a fierce debate about censorship of material and right to privacy. Search giant Google has received more than 70,000 requests to block links in response to the ruling, which was based on Article 12 of the EU’s directive on the protection of personal data, which was drawn up three years before the company even existed. In a new report, the cross-party committee warned of the danger of trying to “enforce the impossible”, saying the judgement had resulted in material being blocked on the basis of “vague, ambiguous and unhelpful” criteria which did not reflect the current state of information technology.

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