EU court ruling on Internet searches: What are the implications?

Freedom of speech and the rights of Internet searchers are being debated, as Google is under order from the Court of Justice of the European Union to comply with requests from Europeans to remove specific Internet search results. Henry Blodget, CEO and editor-in-chief of Business Insider, said Wednesday on "CBS This Morning" that the implications of this are potentially very broad.

"It's redefining freedom of speech," Blodget said. "I think we instinctively hear it, we say, 'Oh, that's great.' We all have things we would love to be forgotten. On the other hand, think of the rights of searchers. You're looking at things that are actually material to you that you may not be able to find on other people or businesses or what have you. So it's potentially very serious."

Currently the ruling only applies to Europe since it is based on a European law.

The Internet privacy ruling claims people have the "right to be forgotten," and citizens can request to have information removed if it's shown to be outdated or irrelevant. The search operator must examine the request on merit.

"The devil will be in the details in terms of how it's worked out. ... It's basically like saying in a library, you can have books that people don't like the topics, but you've got to take the cards out of the card catalog," he said.

The ruling would not only turn aside 25 years of Internet searching, but it would also "oddly" allow for the information to stay on the Internet, Blodget said.

"It's just that you won't be able to find it. It's still there, and it's lawful, correct information. It just happens to be information that people don't like," he said.

In a statement Google said, "This is a disappointing ruling for search engines and online publishers in general. ... We now need to take time to analyze the implications."

  • Jean Song

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