Recently, the European Union passed controversial legislation that grants people the "right to be forgotten," which forces Google to remove links if requested. While good intentions may have gone into the arguments for this new law, it appears there can be serious unintended consequences as some critics have vocally predicted. Legitimate, honest journalism can be removed from Google's search results and practically struck from the public record. This history-erasing link removal amounts to internet censorship. Many people are finding this disturbing. There's already an example of potential abuse; Google had to stop displaying links in Europe to this BBC article about former Merrill Lynch CEO Stan O'Neal. The article is a factual piece of journalism from a respected organization, not unfounded libel. Business Insider notes, "O'Neal led the bank in the mid-2000s, a period when it became dangerously over-exposed to the looming mortgage crisis. When the crisis hit, Merrill's losses were so great the bank had to be sold to Bank of America. O'Neal lost his job, but he exited with a $161.5 million golden parachute."
Robert Peston, the BBC Economics Editor, says, "There is an argument that in removing the blog, Google is confirming the fears of many in the industry that the 'right to be forgotten' will be abused to curb freedom of expression and to suppress legitimate journalism that is in the public interest."
It appears O'Neal himself did not request the link to be removed, but rather someone who had simply commented on the post. Business Insider concludes their piece on the story with, "Right now, thousands of people probably think that Stan O'Neal is on some quixotic quest to make people forget that he was at the wheel when Merrill drove off a cliff. And there is no evidence that that's the case. But because the law exists, we have no idea what the truth is. That ought to worry everyone."
To be fair, while the Google is complying with the law, it had fought against its passage. First it happened in China, and now Europe is censoring Google. God Bless the USA, home of the free! Right? RIGHT??