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Google Australia's dishonest criticism of EU right to be forgotten

Chris Keall at the NBR writes Google Australia-NZ takes dim view of EU right to be forgotten ruling (no longer online).

Google's local operation objects the way the European court decision ruling the search company must drop "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant" data from its results when a member of the public requests it,

Keall quotes Google Australia's spokesperson Johnny Luu who says:

“This is a disappointing ruling for search engines and online publishers in general."

It would be disappointing if it simply means crooks and rat bags can make search engines, news sites and others take down material they don't like. And that could happen.

But there's another issue here. Google is appalling when it comes to responding to legitimate requests to correct incorrect or defamatory information.

Google deliberately blocks ordinary people from speaking to the company. There is no-one to call, no-one to discuss things with. Google barely has any physical presence in New Zealand and what is here exists mainly to sell advertising through the company's Irish subsidiary thus avoiding tax.

Unless you want to buy something, the company is just a brick wall. It's even like that when people have legitimate complaints or questions about Google products and services - just look at Google's own user forums packed with unanswered queries - often about very basic, easy-to-solve issues.

Google's brick wall and intransigence where algorithms, not humans make key decisions is a terrible state of affairs. Google is a huge, powerful influence in many spheres of modern life, it's about time the company took some responsibility.

The European Union's ruling may be flawed, but Google only has itself to blame when the only way ordinary citizens can negotiate with the company is through high-powered courts.