Elaine Edwards reports:
Google has refused to remove search results that show the names of newly naturalised Irish citizens in the State’s official gazette, because of the Government’s “ongoing choice” to make the information public.
Concerns were expressed by a migrant rights body and by digital rights campaigners recently when it emerged the details of thousands of citizens, including their full addresses and whether they are minors or adults, are being published on Iris Oifigiúil.
Read more on Irish Times.
I think Google has a strong case here, since the government is knowingly/intentionally publishing the data lawfully, and hasn’t sought to block indexing via robots.txt. So why shouldn’t Google index it?
Then again, when the law was passed in the 1950s that requires publication, did anyone anticipate the Internet or Google search results? Maybe it’s time for the government to re-think what they were trying to accomplish back then and whether they can achieve that goal without indexing in Google. In any event, I see this one as being on the government, not Google.
Update: Daragh O’Brien points out that it is not the 1956 act that authorizes publication, and since neither that act nor 2011 SI explain any necessity for it. Daragh blogged about this whole issue last month, here. Daragh’s comments reinforce my sense that this is not Google’s fault or responsibility, and is on the government to address.