Sep 25, 2019

The EU's top court confines the continent's "right to be forgotten"

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The uniquely European "right to be forgotten" will be limited to that continent, per a ruling by the European Union's top court on Tuesday.

Driving the news: Google has won a major case in Europe over the EU's "right to be forgotten," meaning the search giant will not be forced to filter search results for Europeans outside of the region.

  • The New York Times this week told the story of Italian journalist Alessandro Biancardi, who refused to pull an article about a fight between 2 brothers just because one of them wanted it removed.

History lesson: A 2014 ruling granted European citizens the right to ask search engines to remove sensitive or outdated information from listings about their past. The French government wanted the ruling to be applied globally.

  • Google has been a frequent target, telling the Times it has received more than 3.3 million requests to delete search results, including news items, criminal convictions and posts from social media. Per the Times, Google has removed the items in 45% of cases, while either rejecting or fighting the remainder of the requests.

Between the lines: Many people inside and outside of Europe question the wisdom and legitimacy of the right to be forgotten.

  • "Nobody will ever convince me that a law forcing you to delete truthful news can exist," Biancardi told the Times.

What's at stake: The debate balances two important ideas — the understandable human desire to be able to start afresh against society's interest in keeping an accurate record of people's actions in the past.

Our thought bubble: The well-intentioned law aims to keep people's mistakes from living forever online. But at a time where we are having enough trouble learning the lessons of history, giving anyone the right to erase the past might cause more problems than it solves.

Go deeper

Tech trend bleeds megacities, boosts heartland

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The top U.S. megacities boasting the highest economic growth and biggest talent-attracting companies may start losing people to other cities, thanks to the remote-work wave brought on by the coronavirus.

Why it matters: With more people finding long-term flexibility to work from anywhere, they have less reason to live in the most expensive cities like New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle. That could create a wave of rising-star cities that have already begun to attract people looking for a better quality of life.

Coronavirus still has a foothold in the South

Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Overall, new coronavirus infections in the U.S. are on the decline. But a small handful of states, mainly clustered in the South, aren't seeing any improvement.

The big picture: Our progress, nationwide, is of course good news. But it's fragile progress, and it’s not universal. Stubborn pockets of infection put lives at risk, and they can spread, especially as state lockdowns continue to ease.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5 a.m. ET: 5,707,163 — Total deaths: 355,956 — Total recoveries — 2,361,612Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5 a.m. ET: 1,699,933 — Total deaths: 100,442 — Total recoveries: 391,508 — Total tested: 15,192,481Map.
  3. Public health: CDC issues guidelines for reopening officesFauci says data is "really quite evident" against hydroxychloroquine.
  4. States: California hospitals strained by patients in MexicoTexas Supreme Court blocks mail-in expansion to state voters.
  5. Business: MGM plans to reopen major Las Vegas resorts in June — African American business owners have seen less relief from PPP, Goldman Sachs says.
  6. 1 🎶 thing: Local music venues get rocked by coronavirus.
  7. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 58 mins ago - Politics & Policy