Tag: google

‘Right to be Forgotten’ EU ruling

No Comments
This week, an EU court ruled against Google and made a judgement that it and other search engine providers must accept requests by a person to remove links, specifically if that link is to data that “becomes outdated or inaccurate, even if that information was accurate when it was first published”.
Lies?

Obviously, some are calling this a huge victory for individual rights, whilst others are saying it amounts to censorship akin to Chinese filtered search results. And, both are right.

Let’s deal with the individual rights here – it means that if someone published information on you, say, being involved in a company that becomes unpopular due to a big legal case, and you subsequently leave the company, you can ask for the information about you to be removed as it is no longer accurate; you don’t work there any more. This can prevent a now inaccurate piece of information being used against you, say, in future job applications. The larger question is not in the accuracy test of the information, but in the ‘outdated’ bit. When does information become outdated? Isn’t history timeless in itself?

Privacy advocates insist this stops organisations and companies abusing customer data, and hands back power to the individual. But on the censorship angle, Google and co. have a point – do we get to have information removed from listings just because we don’t like what it says about us?

There are lots of angles here – some say that if you commit a crime and that is public record, you shouldn’t be able to have this information removed from listings in results for your name. Equally though, part of our justice system is that you serve your time and your conviction is spent, it should no longer count against you. Some say that this argument isn’t even relevant as the law doesn’t apply to these circumstances. It’s an interesting one particularly because I don’t think society has quite cracked the ‘forgiveness’ side of crime yet.

I think part of the problem is, no-one really understands what data this DOES apply to. The right of citizens to control their own data seems relevant to me only when it is data they have personally created. You should not, for example, be able to request removal of an article that embarrasses you, simply because it uses your name. This would be a massive censorship problem – for obvious reasons. But, if it’s data you personally created, shouldn’t you be in control of it already, such that removing it from listings isn’t required?

This uncertainty is all because it isn’t being made apparent who owns what data. Do you ‘own’ a tweet once you send it? Does Twitter? Who ‘owns’ a Facebook status update? If you ‘own’ them, then delete them, and issue takedown orders on those reproducing your work without permission. If you don’t own them, citizens should be made aware that when they submit these statuses, they surrender all ownership of them.

And that’s the crux of it for me – it’s about making sure that the customer data is safe at the end point, not the search engine. Compel the Facebooks and Zyngas and forums and YouTubes to stop selling data so freely, and stop caching old customer data after it has been deleted by the user. Force Google to remove only ‘cached snapshot’ pages on request, and tell citizens their issue is otherwise with the endpoint, which must ensure it’s information is up to date (otherwise libel?). Stop the sites that chronicle tweets from disrespecting tweet deletions, for example. A whole raft of proper measures can be taken to allow citizens the power to control their own ‘right to be forgotten’, because data they actually created is theirs. That, ultimately, makes much more sense that simply hiding results from listings, whilst not removing the data from the Internet.

TL:DR – you don’t have a right to remove pages just because they mention your name, or because you did or said something stupid, regardless of how outdated it is. You do have a right that data you created can be destroyed by you (you own it), and those not disrespecting that deletion should be compelled to do so (copyright?).

I don’t think the judgement will stand too long in its current form.

– Zuki

Share if you liked this post!

Living in the Nexus

No Comments

I recently purchased a new Asus / Google Nexus 7 tablet, and I’m writing this entry on it! It’s awesome, and at a great price, I recommend it to anyone considering a tablet – whilst it is smaller than the iPad, and with a slightly less good screen, its specs measure up well otherwise, and the price is ace. £160 or £200 (depending on storage space) and generous current offers from Tesco Direct for £20 off (see HotUKDeals.com). You even get £15 worth of Google Play credit, to spend on music, movies, books and apps.

As I already said, you get a 7 inch, HD screen, covered by Corning Glass (although jury is out on whether it is their ‘gorilla’ brand – some report yes, some report no but with a scratch-resistant coating, some report a so-called ‘gorilla glass v2’). Regardless, the screen is good, clear and durable – I can tell as I already dropped mine! (Actually I think it was a poltergeist – it was sitting on a flat desk yet slid off). As usual, it collects fingerprints like most touchscreens…
The processor, for those interested, is an awesome quad-core ARM Cortex A9 at 1.3GHz, running on an nVidia Tegra 3 platform. This gives it great power both at regular tasks as well as multimedia. It multitasks brilliantly, and thanks to this power as well as Project Butter, transitions are smooth and seamless. It just feels NICE to use, and as an Android user, I admit that has been a problem in the past – but not on the Nexus 7.

One side point, the original release was a bit of a mess, with many more preorders than expected. This high demand led to a bit of a nightmare for Google, with a considerable quantity of preorders arriving late, in some cases after the brick and mortar stores had received them. This is something that Google will need to improve upon if it continues to supply physical devices for sale on its Play Store. Some users who had preordered from the beginning ended up cancelling and walking into stores to get it there. It’s a heavy criticism, mitigated by the much higher preorder numbers than expected.

That aside – I can’t express how happy I am with it. It took all my current Android apps from my phone fine, it took my email accounts, my Facebook, Twitter. Chrome runs beautifully and looks just like my desktop. Battery life is fantastic – definitely the quoted 8 hours of moderate to heavy use it was quoted for. Streaming video and music works great. It feels nice in the hand, perfectly portable, with a nice rubberised feel to its back cover.

So, if you are considering a tablet, whether its for gaming, movies, reading, on-the-go documents, you could do worse than the Nexus 7 – and its worth having a play with while you look at that shiny iPad, and it is a fraction of the price, courtesy of Google selling it at cost.

Give it a look – you might find it to be just what you want!