The insistence of European government censors that there exists a “right to be forgotten” has always been wrong-headed as a matter of principle. And, as a matter of practice, nothing demonstrates the idea’s insidiousness better than this blog post from the BBC headlined: “List of BBC web pages which have been removed from Google's search results.”
Just read the first four items:
- Heiress killed in fit of jealousy.
- Judges decide over ball game case.
- Man jailed for raping woman as she slept at house in Livingston.
- Hacker cleared over abuse message.
All significant news stories of unquestionable public interest, none dating back further than June 2005 and the newest being only three years old, yet all stricken from Google search thanks to the wave of a censorious government’s pen. (Yes, Google may bear some responsibility for making bad calls, but the company is being asked to do the impossible.)
There are 175 more stories on the list, give or take. And, remember, we’re talking about the BBC here, not some rag-tag message board.
The “right to be forgotten” is a terrible idea being badly executed.
As Americans, we can only hope it stays on the other side of the Atlantic.