Over the last two years, Google has received almost 430,000 requests for links to be removed, according to its transparency report. (The French have made the most requests.) Google has approved 43 percent of the European requests.
This volume of activity has raised concerns that Google has essentially become Europe’s largest privacy regulator, as it handles more requests than almost all of the region’s national authorities have individually.
The Europeans might benefit from thinking things through a bit more.
Another interesting quote:
Other national privacy officials in Europe are also taking a stance against Google. That includes Spain, where officials have demanded the company not inform websites when links to web pages are removed from certain online searches, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity because discussions with the regulator were continuing. Google has made a practice of informing websites when links are removed, which critics contend is an effort to rally support against Europe’s privacy ruling.
I’m a bit appalled by a democracy wanting to keep the implications of government actions secret. Even if Google’s intent is to rally opposition to RTBF, there is a public policy need for citizens to be educated about the implications of RTBF. The citizenry might come to believe that RTBF, as implemented, impedes free speech too much. Maybe they won’t, but shouldn’t they have that information to make that decision on their own?