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This piece by GNI Independent Chair Mark Stephens originally appeared in The Guardian:
Last week's judgment by the European court of justice allowing anyone to demand that a search engine should remove unwanted information from its index – even if it is accurate, lawful, and publicly available elsewhere – is a dangerous step in the wrong direction.
Since the ruling an ex-politician seeking re-election, a man convicted of possessing child abuse images and a doctor seeking to remove negative reviews from patients, are reported to be among the first to send takedown notices to Google. Privacy is a universal right that must be protected, but this overreaching judgment is far more likely to aid the powerful in attempts to rewrite history, than afford individuals more influence over their online identities.