German government to create 'cyber courts' for right to be forgotten cases

E-commerce

by Ben Sullivan| 28 May 2014

Interior Ministry says it does not want Google to automatically delete search results.

The German government is considering setting up 'cyber courts' that will decide in disputes between Google and people wanting their information deleted from the search engine.

An interior ministry spokesperson said that outcomes of such conflicts should not be decided by a Google alrgorithm.

The move follows the EU Court of Justice ruling on the 'right to be forgotten', a landmark case where it was decided citizens in the EU have the right to have their information deleted from Google search results.

The cyber courts (as phrased by the FT) would prevent Google automatically taking down search results, and will put people in charge of the decisions. The ministry said that if search providers, such as Google, introduced automatic information takedown, public information would be at risk.

In a statement, the ministry said: "Politicians, prominent figures and other persons who are reported about in public would be able to hide or even delete reports they find unpleasant."

A Google spokesperson said that the European court's ruling would need "thorough examination". Google is said to be already investigating a case by case system for information removal rather than an automatic system.

Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt reacted angrily to the right to be forgotten ruling, describing it as "wrong".

Responding to the ruling, Schmidt said: "There's many open questions. A simple way of understanding what happened here is that you have a collision between a right to be forgotten and a right to know. From Google's perspective that's a balance.

"Google believes having looked at the decision, which is binding, that the balance that was struck was wrong."

The search engine has reportedly been overwhelmed by takedown requests, and are now in need of an "army of removal experts", according to Reuters.


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