How Google’s New “Right To Be Forgotten” Form Works: An Explainer

google-eu-featured Google has taken a big step forward in complying with the European Union's new "Right To Be Forgotten" that was established after a court ruling earlier this month. The company has created a new form allowing those in the EU to request takedown of URLs they dislike. Removals will only happen for EU-versions of Google, and there will be disclosure in Google's results when listings are dropped. How The Form Works [caption id="attachment_192887" align="alignright" width="353"] Google's Right To Be Forgotten Form[/caption] You'll find the new form here. It requires people to select one [...]


Google Co-Founder Sergey Brin: I Wish I Could Forget The “Right To Be Forgotten”

EU Google Tonight at the Re/Code conference in Southern California, Google co-founder Sergey Brin was interviewed on stage. He discussed many things, including the diverse range of "Google X" projects: indoor mapping (Tango), WiFi balloons (Project Loon), new prototype self-driving cars and more. Curiously the main interview, though wide ranging, didn't get into the recent European Court ruling on the Right to Be Forgotten (RTBF). During audience Q&A it came up in a single question, to which Brin jokingly and dismissively replied: "I wish we could just forget the ruling," Brin says. "But we're n [...]


Actress Sues Google For Indexing Porn Search Results Tied To Her Name

google-legal-cash-featured Maria Belen Rodriguez is an Argentina-born model, actress and TV personality who now lives and works in Italy. She successfully sued Google and Yahoo in 2006 in her native country, alleging that her likeness was wrongfully appropriated by porn sites and then indexed/republished or disseminated by search engines. There was an alleged sex tape involving Belen Rodriguez (in roughly 2011), which is either the source or a source of the porn-related search results tied to her name. Apparently the porn sites that have damaged her reputation were not sued originally. The precise legal claims [...]


Is Google’s European Antitrust Settlement In Jeopardy?

google-eu-featured Widespread dissatisfaction among public and political figures with the existing antitrust settlement between Google and the European Commission appears to be putting the settlement in danger. According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), the run up to this week's European Parliament elections saw an increase in "rhetoric against the settlement with Google." The article depicts an intense, behind the scenes lobbying effort by both sides: on the one hand Google is trying to bolster the settlement while other officials want to revisit it and potentially start over. The rhetoric and behavior als [...]


New “Open Internet Project” Seeks To Derail Google-EU Antitrust Settlement

google-eu-600 Frustrated by what it sees as the European Commission's capitulation to Google, a new group called the "Open Internet Project" (OIP) seeks to derail the current Google antitrust settlement or create a new investigation. A mixture of French and German publishers and companies are behind the initiative. The OIP claims to represent hundreds more European internet companies which argue, in essence, Google is too powerful and too much in control of what happens online. The group submitted a new competition complaint to the European Commission reasserting or reviving most of the complaints pre [...]


Google: The European Court Is Really Telling You To Be More “Relevant”

Google legal So, it finally happened. After years of people telling me that "Europe" will do nothing about Google and me saying that one day "Europe" will probably bite back, it did. "Europe" bit off a whole chewy chunk of Google and all other search engines in just one surprise and relatively unexpected verdict. The hysteria surrounding the case has reached all corners of the press. "Freedom of speech destroyed," they say. "Criminals are already asking for removal of their information," they say. Even Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia is distraught. But yes, this is a big deal. It has certainly left some mem [...]


Google “Mapping” Real World With Incredible Precision For Self-Driving Cars

google-self-driving-car-1323435948 A fascinating article in the Atlantic appeared this weekend. It's mostly about Google's self-driving cars and how they operate technically. But it's also about something much bigger: how Google is now effectively "crawling" the real world as it has crawled the web for years. The analogy or insight isn't mine it's the Atlantic's. But it's spot-on. With its multiple "real world" initiatives (Street View, Project Tango, Indoor Maps, Android location and others) Google is building a virtual representation of the real world that can be used for many and varied purposes, including offline ad t [...]


The Myths & Realities Of How Of The EU’s New “Right To Be Forgotten” In Google Works

EU Google Depending on what you read, a "Right To Be Forgotten" court ruling in the European Union this week means that now anyone can ask for anything to be removed from Google, which will soon collapse under an overwhelming number of requests. In reality, it's far more limited than it sounds, though the ruling does raise serious concerns. Here's a Q&A on how things really will work, as best we can tell. NOTE: Since this article was written, Google now has created a process for removals. See our follow-up story: How Google’s New “Right To Be Forgotten” Form Works: An Explainer Is i [...]


The Google State Of The Union: Strong Yet Vulnerable

google-bulb-logo-ceiling-1397043754 Earlier today, Google published its annual Founders' Letter. This is a kind of "Google State of the Union" missive that Google has published annually since it went public. Many bloggers picked up on the following remark in the document penned by Google CEO Larry Page: "[I]n many ways, we’re a million miles away from creating the search engine of my dreams, one that gets you just the right information at the exact moment you need it with almost no effort." Some people also commented on the glaring omission of any discussion of privacy -- an issue that has generated numerous problems for [...]


India Opens Second Google Antitrust Investigation Over AdWords

google-legal-cash-featured Google is in the midst of an antitrust, anti-competition investigation in India. Not long ago, the company was fined by the  Competition Commission of India (CCI) for not cooperating in that investigation: "not providing information and documents required." Now a separate anti-competition investigation has been opened with the CCI. In that investigation an individual, Vishal Gupta, has complained about suspension of an AdWords account: The complainant had alleged that several remote tech support companies, including his firm, had been suspended from the AdWords programme to promote Goog [...]


Google Readies For Flood Of Removal Requests After EU “Right To Be Forgotten” Ruling

bell-request-service-600 The floodgates have opened. According to a Reuters story, following Tuesday's European Court ruling establishing a  Europe-wide "right to be forgotten" (RTF), Google is preparing for an anticipated "flood" of removal requests across the 28 country jurisdiction. The ruling provided a right to individuals to request (and ultimately compel) removal of unflattering or undesired information about themselves from search results, even if the underlying content is legal and maintained online by a publisher. The European Court offered no tests or procedural guidance to determine what sorts of lega [...]


The “Right To Be Forgotten” – EU Court Gives People Ability To Delete Their Google Search Results

google-eu-featured The "right to be forgotten": a triumph of individual privacy rights or censorship? It's going to depend on how it plays out in specific circumstances. The Luxembourg-based European Union Court of Justice, Europe's "top court," ruled earlier today that Google can be compelled to remove information about individuals from search results as part of a new, EU-specific "right to be forgotten." The ruling will have no impact on US search results or those in other markets. However the ruling is significant in that it creates another chasm between the way that Google operates in North America and Eur [...]


Secret Contracts Keep Google In Control Of Mobile Search Argues Lawsuit

google-legal-cash-featured A would be class action lawsuit was filed last week against Google in Federal Court in California. The action seeks to resurrect some of the themes and arguments raised in the now settled FTC antitrust case against the company. While repeating familiar abuse of market power allegations against Google, the new civil case is focused on mobile search and Android devices rather than the desktop. The FTC investigation didn't look at Android. The complaint (embedded below) alleges violations of various antitrust and unfair competition laws. However at its factual core is the argument that Goog [...]


States Threaten Action If Google Doesn’t Delist “Illegal Sites”

google-legal-cash-featured According to the Washington Post, 24 state attorneys general are trying to pressure Google to discontinue ads and the indexing of sites they argue teach or enable criminal activity. In particular, they continue to pressure Google to eliminate advertising connected to the sale of illegal or fake prescription drugs. The attorneys generals' complaints were initially aired in a December 2013 letter to Google General Counsel Kent Walker and then a follow-up letter sent in February 2014. The December letter lists the following complaints and concerns: These issues include: (1) Google's moneti [...]


Report: Google Now Master Of Lobbying, Backroom Dealing

google-legal-law-featured An article in the Washington Post asserts that Google has now become a master lobbyist and behind-the-scenes manipulator in Washington. It details the company's increase in campaign contributions and outreach efforts to influence legislators. The message of the lengthy article is that Google is now buying influence and policy outcomes that favor the company. Source: Washington Post There are numerous concrete examples cited for the idea that Google has manipulated policy outcomes or bought influence through contributions to individuals, third party groups or academic institutions. [...]


Google Gets Another Street View Privacy Fine — In Italy

street-view-car-featured It seems like each European country is taking its turn fining Google for some privacy infraction. This time, it's Italy and involves Street View. Google has reportedly paid a roughly $1.4 million (1 million EUR) fine. According a story in Reuters, the issue this time was the failure to clearly mark Street View cars during Italian street photography in 2010: The fine announced on Thursday relates only to vehicles not being labeled clearly enough. The watchdog has also reported to Italy's judicial authorities that Google accidentally captured fragments of electronic communications as part of [...]


EU Antitrust Chief Says Google Settlement Essentially Done

google-eu-featured Amid criticism from politicians and Google's critics, EU antitrust chief Joaquín Almunia has essentially said that the current version of Google's antitrust settlement proposal is a done deal. While he didn't rule out changes definitively he seems to think complainants' criticisms have been addressed. The current proposal requires Google to give up considerable screen real estate and branding to vertical rivals. Google's opponents want another "market test" (time for criticism and study of the proposal's potential impact). They also don't want to pay Google for placement in contex [...]


EU Settlement Nearly Done, Google Antitrust Drama Shifts To India

Google legal Although the Google antitrust settlement in Europe isn't final it appears we're in the final minutes of the final act. There still may be a surprise or two in store but we mostly know how this story is going to end. Now it appears the Google antitrust drama is shifting to India, where an antitrust investigation against the company is ongoing. According to a report in the Times of India, that country's competition authority, the Competition Commission of India (CCI), has the power to impose a fine of up 10 percent annual revenues, averaged over a three year period. That could mean up t [...]


German Design Firm Claims Willful Patent Infringement Over Google Earth

Google Earth A German design firm is claiming that Google and Google Earth have infringed its patent (USRE44550 E1) and is seeking triple damages under the notion that the infringement was intentional or willful. The firm, ART+COM ("ACI"), makes the following claims: The development history of Google Earth indicates knowledge and infringement by key Google employees Google Earth "bears remarkable similarities to ART+COM's commercial system, which was developed nearly a decade prior to Google's introduction of Google Earth" The claimed patent and method for rendering geographical objects (Terravis [...]


Google Publishes Full Text Of EU Antitrust Agreement

google-eu-featured This afternoon on its European Blog, Google's General Counsel Kent Walker exposed the full text of the company's third-proposed and tentatively accepted antitrust settlement agreement with European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia. Almunia previously declined to make the full agreement available. The document, dated January 31, 2014, is quite long (embedded below) and contains extensive examples of how search results will look in Europe under the new agreement. There are the four areas that will see change or modifications, as summarized by Walker in his post: Changes to our A [...]


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