We received notification this week that Google has delisted our entire right to be forgotten tag page, based on (of course) a right to be forgotten request under the GDPR in the EU. To be clear, this only applies when someone searches the name in question — which was not shared with us. I am… perplexed about this. I understand that some people may not want us talking about their ongoing efforts to rewrite history and hide their past. However, you would think that if these articles don’t actually talk about their historical scams that are very much a part of the public record, and instead focus on their very current and ongoing abuse of the “right to be forgotten” process, they should be allowed to remain up.
The very fact that the tag being delisted when searching for this unnamed individual is the “right to be forgotten” tag shows that whoever this person is, they recognize that they are not trying to cover up the record of, say, an FTC case against them from… oh, let’s just say 2003… but rather are now trying to cover up their current effort to abuse the right to be forgotten process.
Anyway, in theory (purely in theory, of course) if someone in the EU searched for the name of anyone, it might be helpful to know if the Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection once called him a “spam scammer” who “conned consumers in two ways.” But, apparently, in the EU, that sort of information is no longer useful. And you also can’t find out that he’s been using the right to be forgotten process to further cover his tracks. That seems unfortunate, and entirely against the supposed principle behind the “right to be forgotten.” No one is trying to violate anyone’s “privacy” here. We’re talking about public court records, and an FTC complaint and later settlement on a fairly serious crime that took place not all that long ago. That ain’t private information. And, even more to the point, the much more recent efforts by that individual to then hide all the details of this public record.
And of course, plenty of our right to be forgotten stories don’t mention this particular individual at all — so it seems pretty silly to then have them all blocked, but this is the future the EU apparently wanted. Just the fact that the tag itself was around “right to be forgotten” probably should have tipped off the Google reviewer that perhaps this was not a legit request, but hey, the EU’s gotta EU and I won’t goolnick around and complain about whatever decisions the company makes.