EU official celebrates online privacy ruling…by writing on Facebook
The EU’s court of justice issued a landmark ruling on digital privacy on Tuesday that could make life difficult for Google. The court decided in favor of a Spanish man who wanted to delete all records of a link to repossess his house that was published in a newspaper in 1998. Ruling that people have a “right to be forgotten,” the court ordered Google to remove the link from its search records.
Google has always insisted it won’t monitor or censor the internet, and that its role as an unbiased portal to all the world’s information is essential. It’s the same argument they used to keep from removing Dan Savage’s “Santorum” Google bomb in 2011.
The ruling will open the floodgates for take-down notices from people who want their information forgotten in all 28 European nations, creating not only a logistical nightmare for Google but essentially scratching the collective pool of objective shared knowledge from the record.
EU’s Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding celebrated the decision as a victory for online privacy. Apparently immune to irony, she published her post on…Facebook.
“The ruling confirms the need to bring today’s data protection rules from the ‘digital stone age’ into today’s modern computing world,” Reding wrote.
Facebook famously caches photos and personal data about its users in its servers forever, even after that data has been deleted for public consumption in Facebook’s privacy settings. And as we’ve seen over the last year, Facebook—along with the rest of the tech universe—can be easily compelled into sharing all that data with the likes of the NSA, say nothing of advertisers. Posting anything on Facebook under the auspice that you have some modicum of privacy or control over that data is an exercise in delusion.
The issue of digital privacy has been top of mind over the last year with the the NSA’s PRISM program exposed and the revelation that services like Snapchat that promise “ephemeral” communication aren’t actually ephemeral at all.
Back on the other side of the universe where people are talking sense, the CEO of Dstrux, a new service that promises emails that truly self-destruct, tells Quartz, “This is a very secure and private way of sharing, but it’s the very beginning.”
As the EU justice commissioner doesn’t seem to realize, when it comes to true online privacy we are pretty much still in a “digital stone age.”