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History lesson: A 2014 ruling granted European citizens the right to ask search engines to remove sensitive or outdated information from listings about their past.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.

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Google adds new privacy options

Image: Google

Google is bringing incognito mode to Google Maps and allowing users to auto-delete their YouTube history, its latest moves to expand its privacy options. Customers will also be able to ask the Google Assistant to delete various types of data.

Why it matters: The company has been under fire for the amount of data it collects and said at its spring I/O developer conference that it would offer users more privacy options.

Go deeperArrowOct 2, 2019

Law and Justice, Poland's ruling nationalist party, easily wins elections

Leader of the Law and Justice party Jaroslaw Kaczynski. Photo: JP Black/LightRocket via Getty Images

Poland's ruling Law and Justice party is set to extend its parliamentary majority after coming in first with 43.6% of the vote in Sunday's elections, according to an exit poll reported by AP.

Why it matters: The right-wing, populist Polish government has clashed with the European Union over issues related to the rule of law, with the EU passing a motion in 2017 censuring Poland for cracking down on judicial independence. While Law and Justice has maintained popularity thanks in part to a generous social welfare system and strong economic growth, the party's social conservatism and targeting of LGBT people have contributed to an increasingly polarized society.

Keep ReadingArrowOct 13, 2019

2 Proud Boys members sentenced for New York City brawl

Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes. Photo: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis/Getty Images

Two members of the far-right group Proud Boys were sentenced Tuesday to four years in prison following a "political street fight" with protesters in New York City last year, reports the New York Times.

Why it matters: New York state Supreme Court Justice Mark Dwyer told the court that the sentence was meant to send a message to others who might turn to violence over political differences. "I know enough about history to know what happened in Europe in the 30s," he told the court.

Go deeperArrowOct 22, 2019