Google SVP Calls For Public To Join UK-Based Legal Battle

Google, as a company, has had obvious reasons to object to some tenets of the UK-born "Right To Be Forgotten" law set from the start, and now Senior Vice President and General Counsel Kent Walker is presenting two cases that could set major precedents, and is asking for members of the public to join Google in opposing two rulings that could endanger public access to lawful information. Specifically, one case that Walker is talking about is a group of individuals that are arguing that the law is meant to protect personal information, and should thus include protections for a person's political beliefs and criminal background, both of which are considered personal information under UK law. Another case is a debate over whether the UK's "Right To Be Forgotten" law should apply to Google results for all individuals worldwide, essentially forcing that law's mindset and implementation on the entire world's population. In a press release on the company's blog, Walker calls for members of the general public who care about information acess

The first case is arguably just as dangerous as the second. Should the first case pass and set a precedent, Walker alleges, it's entirely possible that such information could become unsearchable no matter how much public interest it may hold. This could mean that the beliefs or criminal record of a prominent politician, for example, would be hidden from the searching public. The second case, meanwhile, could not only restrict access to public information worldwide, but could set a precedent of individual nations being allowed to set laws that affect the entire world. Needless to say, the possibilities in that potential outcome are worrying.

Google has had a long history of working to comply with the Right To Be Forgotten law set despite the company's longstanding objections to its obfuscating nature. The company has removed around 800,000 search results in compliance with the law, among somewhere around 2 million removal requests. It is worth noting that relevant laws have been followed as they should with Google's current approach, according to data protection authorities and other relevant figures and organizations. Changes to relevant laws that could be made by these in-progress cases, however, could force Google to tighten their approach to compliance worldwide, and obfuscate information that was previous unrestricted.

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