Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Remembering is more important for Google than the right to forget

Lately much has been made about whether Google must observe the right to be forgotten, meaning delete outdated information. The European Court of Justice has ruled the communications giant must.

“There’s no more practical obscurity with search engines,” Laura Handman, a first amendment lawyer said.

The half-life of an Internet item may be longer than plutonium.

Even Gatsby, in his day, was never able erase all his past data, meta, or otherwise.

There will be paper files somewhere, or someone will have downloaded it elsewhere.

All the court ruling can possibly do is make it less convenient to get the information.

It is truly the definition of a Don Quixote mission with no rules of engagement.

And some people want help remembering things past and present.

Of much more concern than “le droit à l’oubli” or right to oblivion, is the right to be remembered, when the issue is whether Google will continue to provide for free the vast array of services from Gmail to Google Voice to Google Earth to free blogs.

Soon they will be offering Google Self Drive. What it the service stopped in the middle of a drive.

Currently the only charges consumers are likely to have to pay to Google are to download music and movies from Google Play or YouTube.

And it is not only Google. In a cartoon this week in the New Yorker, a new arrival at the pearly gates is told that or his experience to really “be heavenly” he will have to upgrade to the premium service.

One measure of how powerful Google is can be seen in Apple stores. Staff, when asked how to solve a problem, frequently type in a query in the Google search engine.

Some people have been storing their emails in Gmail for a decade. It would be very difficult, if not impossible, for most people to save these emails elsewhere if Google decided to end the free service.

Not included in things that might be missed are the imaginary products “Google Trust,” a data insurance; “Google Bee,” your own personal drone; “Google Hug, a crowd-sourced hug matching service, and “Google Bye,” an online profile for the afterlife.

Much has been made of the unofficial Google motto, “Don’t be evil."

But will it be remembered?


New York Times

Stanford Law Review


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