Dear Google: Open Letter from 80 Academics on ‘Right to Be Forgotten’

Dear Google: Open Letter from 80 Academics on ‘Right to Be Forgotten’

In this Aug. 26, 2014 photo, the shadow of a migrant is seen on the wall of a train depot in the town of Chahuites, Mexico, which has decided to protect and aid migrants passing through. Town officials say they do not allow federal police raids on migrants to happen in their small municipality. Local police, tasked with protecting migrants passing through town, stood watch along the tracks near migrants resting and sleeping outdoors. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
(AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)




(The Guardian) — It is one year since the European Court of Justice ruled that citizens have the right to request that Google remove links to information about them if these are out of date, misreprentative or irrelevant. But some of the world’s most expert academics claim that Google has not been transparent enough in how it is responding to requests for delisting, and 80 academics from around the world have written to the corporation demanding more transparency about its processes.

Here is the full text of the open letter, also published on Medium today:

What we seek

Aggregate data about how Google is responding to the more than 250,000 requests to delist links, thought to contravene data protection laws, from name search results. We should know if the anecdotal evidence of Google’s process is representative: What sort of information typically gets delisted (e.g., personal health) and what sort typically does not (e.g., about a public figure), in what proportions and in what countries?

Why it’s important

Google and other search engines have been enlisted to make decisions about the proper balance between personal privacy and access to information. The vast majority of these decisions face no public scrutiny, though they shape public discourse. What’s more, the values at work in this process will/should inform information policy around the world. A fact-free debate about the RTBF is in no one’s interest.