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Google's Schmidt lashes out at ECJ's 'right to be forgotten' ruling

Claims firm gets enough takedown requests already
Thu May 15 2014, 14:16
Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt

GOOGLE CHAIRMAN Eric Schmidt has hit out this week's 'right to be forgotten' ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ), blasting the decision as "wrong".

Earlier this week the European Court of Justice ruled that web users have a right to be forgotten, saying that internet search engines can be held responsible for sensitive personal information in results and must remove it if requested.

The ruling means that firms like Google could be required to remove links referring to people if they have objected to it, meaning that individuals can legally force search providers to do so if information is erroneous, misleading or no longer relevant.

Eric Schmidt is not happy about this, not one bit. Speaking at a Google shareholder meeting on Wednesday, he called the ruling "a collision between the right to be forgotten and the right to know".

"From Google's perspective, that's a balance," Schmidt said. "Google believes, having looked at the decision which is binding, that the balance that was struck was wrong."

Google SVP of corporate development and chief legal officer David Drummond added, "We think it went too far, and didn't consider adequately the impact on free expression, which is absolutely a human right."

Reuters reported on Thursday that following the ECJ ruling, Google has been inundated with requests to remove links from its search results.

Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia fame has Schmidt's back too, and also lashed out against the ruling.

"I suspect this isn't going to stand for very long," Wales told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"If you really dig into it, it doesn't make a lot of sense. They're asking Google... you can complain about something and just say it's irrelevant, and Google has to make some kind of a determination about that." µ


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