‘Right to be forgotten’ mess gets messier as European regulators complain about Google’s approach

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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ruling that individuals have a ‘right to be forgotten‘ by search-engines when sensitive information is deemed to be “outdated or irrelevant” just got worse.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 …

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Google reveals ‘Right to be forgotten’ criteria and announces advisory panel

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 …

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Android’s stock data-wipe tool doesn’t fully delete your personal files, can allow easy recovery

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Before selling a used smartphone, most users take the time to erase personal data contained on the devices to prevent anything from falling into the hands of strangers. Most smartphones come with an option for doing this built right into the operating system, but a newly-discovered flaw in how Android handles the process could allow anyone to recover your personal information, including text messages, social media data, and a lot more.

How much more, exactly? According to researchers at security software maker Avast who purchased 20 smartphones from eBay, they were able to recover over 40,000 photos, 750 emails and text messages, and even a completed loan application. A few hundred contact entries were also pulled from the phones, and the original owners of four of the devices were found using the recovered information. That’s not even the worst part…

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Some links suppressed under Google’s ‘right to be forgotten’ initiative start reappearing in search results

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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.

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EFF warns that Android might be broadcasting your location history, Google investigating possible changes

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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.

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‘Right to be forgotten’ by Google back-firing hilariously as media run stories on the censorship

Google sets up data removal webform

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