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Friday, 17 October 2014

BBC Pious Over Right to be Forgotten

The BBC has announced that it is to maintain a public list of pages removed from its website under the recent European "right to be forgotten" ruling.

Last year, in response to the controversial European High Court ruling, Google introduced a system that allowed individuals to request the removal of obsolete personal data from the search engine's rankings. Since the ruling in May 2013 Google has received more than 18,000 requests from Britons and deleted more than 35% of the relevant entries from its search engine results.

The ruling has attracted widespread criticism after it emerged that thousands of convicted criminals had requested the removal of search engine results highlighting their past misdeeds.

David Jordan, the BBC's Director of Editorial Policy and Standards, told a public meeting, hosted by Google, that the Corporation felt some of its articles had been wrongly hidden.

He criticised the "lack of a formal appeal process" after links have been taken down, noting one case where news of the trial involving members of the Real IRA was removed from search results, even though two of the accused were subsequently convicted.

Here at the TV Licensing Blog we are strong defenders of the free press and the right to publish. It comes as somewhat of a surprise that the BBC, which obstructs information requests and covers up scandal at every turn, is taking the moral high ground on the issue of keeping information in the public domain.

It's a shame the BBC hasn't been so forthcoming about its own internal sex scandals and corruption.


TheKnightsShield said...

"It's a shame the BBC hasn't been so forthcoming about its own internal sex scandals and corruption."

As they say, "and there it is", proof positive of the BBC's hypocrisy. They'll hide their own "dirty laundry", but, when it comes to someone elses... oh, no, can't do that. Surely there is some way that they can "have their cake and eat it" without compromising other people's privacy? But, no, they're the "beloved" BBC, a corporation through and through. I've often wondered why people have said throughout history that "you can't trust corporations", now I know. :( Unfortunately, this is one corporation that we are practically forced to support. At what point do we, the funders of said corporation, have a say in how they operate? How is it fair that we have to pay them to remain in business but they wont do as WE ask?! It's a simple concept really, offer a "service" for a fee and give people a choice in how you operate. Do the BBC do this?! NO!! They never have and never will

Richard said...

People do not have the right to have pages removed from the Web (although of course libel laws still apply, and they might have the same effect), but they do now have the right, it seems, to block search engines from doing some reporting. This can never work, because people can just do what the BBC did - list the pages concerned. In this case, I think the BBC acted rightly. You can't hide information on the Web, because it is in the nature of information that it gets copied. And trying to hide information merely draws attention to it ('the Streisand Effect'). Privacy is important, but freedom of speech is also important.
It is not the Web, but society, that needs to change. We need to become more forgiving of people who've screwed up publicly in the past, not least because there isn't anyone amongst us who hasn't screwed up privately and been lucky that it never got out. (For example, lots of people reading this will have driven over the speed limit without getting caught.)
It is my view that the BBC can occasionally do the Right Thing, even if on this occasion it happens to be accidental.