Nowadays, people can freely go to the library to look for archived news about a person — but they cannot do it online. This is thanks to another absurd law from the minds of European bureaucrats. This new “Right to be Forgotten” privacy rule prevents people from going online to check news stories in the public domain that deal with the reputation, qualifications, and criminal records of potential employees, babysitters, and personal caregivers.
So now, thanks to E.U. bureaucracy, criminals and those who constitute a public menace can invoke the “Right to be Forgotten” rule to have their malfeasances deleted from websites simply by citing the fact that these bits of information humiliate them, or that the data was old and no longer in the public interest. In this case, the culprits are also the ones who get to decide what is in the “public interest.”
And this isn’t the first foolish privacy law to come out of the E.U. Previously, the E.U. created another law that helped corrupt politicians protect their illegal activities in defiance of the “public’s right to know.”
It seems that E.U. officials are working overtime to en-courage more members of the Union to exit it, U.K.-style. Just look at how they are treating the redistribution of migrants (they don’t do it) or the way they intransigently impose a fiscal rigor that prevents economic growth, not to mention their creation of tax havens in the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Malta, and Ireland, which are harmful to other E.U. members.
Let’s return, however, to the E.U.’s latest “stroke of genius,” the “Right to be Forgotten” rule, which went into effect in May 2018. In September, The New York Times — a known apologist for the “Politically Correct Police Force” (reminiscent of the Ministry of Popular Culture in fascist Italy) — clearly demonstrated its danger to society with a front-cover report from Pescara, a city in Italy’s Abruzzo region, using phrases like “curtailment of free press,” and “news can now have an expiration date.”
As an example, the Times examined the case of Alessandro Biancardi, a journalist from Pescara who edited the small online news website “Prima da Noi,” which covered corruption, court cases, and arrests, among other news.
In 2011, “Prima da Noi” became the first website in Italy to receive a court order to remove a true and verified news story by invoking the concept of the “Right to be Forgotten” — even before it officially became a law.
After complying with the court’s request, Biancardi pub-lished an article about the court order he received, and this article, in turn, prompted some 240 people that “Prima da Noi” had reported on to request that they be deleted from his website.
One of these individuals (whose story in “Prima da Noi” had been obtained from the police) even took Biancardi to court. Biancardi was ordered to remove the article, and also received a 10,000 euro fine. An appeal to the higher court was not accepted and, after spending 50,000 euro between lawyers and fines, Biancardi was forced to close “Prima da Noi” in September 2018, after 13 years of publication. At the time, the website was generating the equivalent of just $1,100 a month in advertising revenue.
It should be noted that search engines like Google, which earn millions with online newspaper content, continue to thrive.
(By Dom Serafini)
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