Mar 16, 2017

'Right to be forgotten' online might come to U.S.

GuillermoJM via Flickr CC

A bill in the New York State Assembly would require search engines and online publishers to remove "'inaccurate', 'irrelevant', 'inadequate', or 'excessive'" content on individuals within 30 days of a removal request.

Recall, Europe's highest court ruled in favor of the "right to be forgotten" in 2014. It aimed to alleviate privacy concerns of an individual whose past financial troubles had been represented poorly online. The court ruled that search engines should place rights to privacy above the right of the public to find information.

Why this matters: The loser in the U.S., according to The Washington Post's Eugene Volokh, is freedom of speech under the First Amendment:

...the deeper problem with the bill is simply that it aims to censor what people say, under a broad, vague test based on what the government thinks the public should or shouldn't be discussing.

To put it in context, Volokh writes, "the bill contains no exception even for material of genuine historical interest; after all, such speech would have to be removed if it was 'no longer material to current public debate.'"

Plus, as Google's CEO Larry Page put it, this forces search engines like Google to arbitrarily decide what counts as private information and what doesn't.

Update: Google declined to comment.

Go deeper

South Korea and Italy see spikes in coronavirus cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus has spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting these are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the United States.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,446 people and infected almost 79,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel and Lebanon, while Iran reported its sixth death from the virus. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 Friday to 433 on Saturday and Italy's case count rose from 3 to 62 by Saturday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health

Bernie Sanders wins Nevada caucus

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders waves to supporters at a campaign rally on Friday in Las Vegas. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders is projected to handily win the Nevada Democratic primary caucus, becoming the clear frontrunner among 2020 Democratic presidential primary election candidates.

Why it matters: Nevada is the first state with a diverse population to hold a nominating contest, highlighting candidates' abilities to connect with voters of color — particularly Latino voters.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Heat wave melts 20% of snow cover from Antarctic island in days

The effects of February's record heat wave on Eagle Island in Antarctica. Photo: NASA

Antarctica's Eagle Island now has a side that's almost ice-free following this month's searing heat wave in the region, images released by NASA show.

Why it maters: "The warm spell caused widespread melting on nearby glaciers," NASA said in its report. It's the third major melt event of the 2019-2020 Southern Hemisphere summer, following warm spells in January and last November, according to the United Nation's World Meteorological Organization (WMO).