Approaches to privacy are becoming more disparate across continents as EU perspectives on a “right to be forgotten” have raised the hackles of Americans who believe that such efforts inevitably constitute censorship and a rewriting of history.
Lauren Weinstein provides his perspective on the issue. He writes, in part:
… what we’re seeing on various fronts are attempts to hold back technology in unreasonable and ultimately impossible ways, much as occurred at various other times throughout technological history (early battles over the printing press are particularly noteworthy on this score).
In the Spanish case, the issue in play is references to a critical article regarding a plastic surgeon who was (at one time) involved in a dispute, since settled, with a patient. He wants search engine listings pointing to that article to be deleted from Google, since that article comes up highly ranked in search results for searches on his name.
The fact, of course, is that the dispute did occur. It is real. It is history. And attempting to retroactively delete references to it not only will ultimately be useless — the Web with its many copies and mirrors is far less easily controlled than the print media of 1984 — but sets a terrible precedent for retroactive censorship — falsification, really — of historical reality.
Read his commentary on his blog.