Lost in the splinternet: Left unchecked, the growing maze of barriers on the internet will damage economies and hamper political freedom

Posted in: Governance at 04/11/2016 12:54

Free-speech advocates were aghast -- and data-privacy campaigners were delighted -- when the European Court of Justice (ECJ) embraced the idea of a digital "right to be forgotten" in May 2014. It ruled that search engines such as Google must not display links to "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant" information about people if they request that they be removed, even if the information is correct and was published legally.

The uproar will be even louder should France's highest administrative court, the Conseil d'√Čtat, soon decide against Google. The firm currently removes search results only for users in the European Union. But France's data-protection authority, CNIL, says this is not enough: it wants Google to delete search links everywhere. Europe's much-contested right to be forgotten would thus be given global reach. The court will hear the case on December 2nd and may hand down a verdict by January.

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