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EU right to be forgotten ruling is “unworkable”, says House of Lords

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The House of Lords has stated it believes the EU’s right to be forgotten ruling is “unworkable and wrong”.

The European Union ruling states that search engines could be requested to remove links to irrelevant, outdated or incorrect information, but the House of Lords believes it is wrong.  

The Lord Home Affairs EU Sub-Committee said that the criteria needed to remove links is “vague, ambiguous and unhelpful” and that it should not be the search engine’s job to police the online content.

“It is wrong in principle to leave search engines themselves the task of deciding whether to delete information or not, based on vague ambiguous and unhelpful criteria,” said Baroness Prashar, chair of the cross-party committee. “We think there is a very strong argument that, in the new regulation, search engines should not be classed as data controllers, and therefore not liable as ‘owners’ of the information they are linking to.”

“We also do not believe that individuals should have a right to have links to accurate and lawfully available information about them removed, simply because they do not like what is said.”

The committee also outlined that the right to be forgotten legislation was based on an interpretation of a data protection directive issued by the EU in 1995.

This directive was around for three years before Google even existed. So the House of Lords believes neither the law nor the implementation of it has taken the “incredible advancement of technology” that has happened since into account.

Google has been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of requests it has had since the legislation was passed, with over 70,000 take down requests since May.

The UK is currently seeking to overturn the ruling, aguing that there should be no unrestricted right to take down data links.

The law has already been widely criticised for its damage of freedom of speech policies.

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