Google recently helped police in Houston, Texas catch a sex offender after tipping the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) that it had located explicit pictures of children in a man’s email. Although the search giant’s efforts helped catch a criminal, they’ve also made some people wonder if the company regularly monitors its subscribers’ email accounts.
Google helped law enforcement arrest a man in Houston, Texas by sending a tip to National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). The search giant used information obtained from the suspect’s email account, according to a report from Business Insider. Already a registered sex offender, the man was previously convicted of sexually assaulting a child in 1994 and was recently caught after sending explicit images of a child via email.
The mess and uncertainty created by an European court ruling that individuals have a ‘right to be forgotten‘ by search-engines when sensitive information is deemed to be “outdated or irrelevant” just got worse. Regulators are meeting with Google today to express concerns about the way in which Google has chosen to implement the ruling, reports Business Insider.
Under particular scrutiny is Google’s decision to only remove results from its European search engines, such as google.co.uk, meaning anyone can easily access the hidden information by switching to the widely used google.com [...]
Another issue likely to be raised by the EU watchdogs is Google’s decision to notify the owners of the websites that have been removed from search results …
Google’s chief legal officer David Drummond has revealed in a Guardian comment piece some of the criteria the company is using to decide whether or not to act on ‘right to be forgotten‘ requests, and says that it is creating an independent advisory council to assist it in making these decisions.
[The criteria] include whether the information relates to a politician, celebrity or other public figure; if the material comes from a reputable news source, and how recent it is; whether it involves political speech; questions of professional conduct that might be relevant to consumers; the involvement of criminal convictions that are not yet “spent”; and if the information is being published by a government …
Earlier today members of the press started noticing that certain news articles were being removed from Google’s search results due to the company’s recent move to allow takedown requests following a UK court’s ruling that its citizens have the “right to be forgotten.” As various news sources played off the situation by re-running stories (and putting their subjects back in the limelight), Google has responded by restoring many of the missing links.
It’s possible the removals were unintentional anyway. Regarding the criteria for removal, the company originally stated:
When evaluating your request, we will look at whether the results include outdated information about you, as well as whether there’s a public interest in the information—for example, information about financial scams, professional malpractice, criminal convictions, or public conduct of government officials.
Last month, Apple quietly unveiled a new feature in iOS 8 that automatically scrambles an iOS device’s MAC address when it is searching for Wi-Fi networks. It made this move as a security precaution, as some marketing and analytics companies use the unique identifier to collect users’ location history to help clients “improve store layouts, determine timing for promotions and sales, measure the effects of advertising, and set staffing levels and store hours.”
If you have an Android smartphone, however, the Electronic Frontier Foundation claims there remains a high risk that your device is broadcasting your location history to anyone within Wi-Fi range of you. “Wi-Fi devices that are not actively connected to a network can send out messages that contain the names of networks they’ve joined in the past in an effort to speed up the connection process,” the EFF writes.
Well-known figures taking advantage of Europe’s ‘right to be forgotten‘ ruling, in which Google and other search engines are required to remove links to sensitive information deemed ‘out-dated or irrelevant’, are not quite getting the results they hoped for. Google is choosing to notify the media when links to stories are removed, and the British media is responding by running stories on the censorship – putting the subjects of the removed links back in the news once more … Read more
The WSJ is reporting that Google has begun removing search results following a European court decision that individuals have a right to require Google to remove links to information which is “outdated or irrelevant.”
Following the ruling – known as the ‘right to be forgotten’ – Google created a webpage application and announced that each would be evaluated by hand on a case-by-case basis, balancing the right to privacy against legitimate public interest. The company now says that it has begun acting on these requests … Read more
A ruling by Europe’s top court that individuals have a right to require Google to remove sensitive information from search results is unlikely to apply in the USA, according to a number of commentators quoted in an Associated Press piece.
But across the Atlantic, the idea that users should be able to edit Google search results in the name of privacy is being slammed as weird and difficult to enforce at best and a crackdown on free speech at worst …
Google is at odds with German regulators that are accusing the company of pooling customer information without consent. Mountain View’s practice of storing data from web search histories, video viewing habits and other activities into a single group, has caused officials to step in and review the firms operations.
Anyone who has followed Google over the past few years knows that it has had more than its fair share of privacy issues. The company’s had run ins with the UK government, US government, and others about privacy concerns, in addition to facing criticism over Google Glass. Microsoft has also mocked Google for its privacy issues as part of its “Scroogled” ad campaign. Now, a German activist group that calls themselves Peng Collective has launched a new website that parodies Google, its privacy issues, and apparent need to know everything about everyone.