Google to hold European 'right to be forgotten' debates to fine-tune law interpretation

Google has enlisted a panel of industry experts to hold a series of seven meetings on its behalf, starting this week, to debate and fine-tune the EU’s ‘right to be forgotten’ law.

The first event will be held in Madrid on Tuesday with attendees set to discuss how Google should best consider online freedom of speech and the individual’s right to privacy, when removing links from its search engine.

A further six events will be held throughout Europe’s capital cities to further define which of the thousands of monthly requests Google should censor.

In July, the search giant admitted that it had removed links to over half its 90,000 data removal requests – many of which were granted under the bill’s sub clause that information which is “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant” should be removed.

Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, who heads up France’s privacy watchdog, the national commission for computing and civil liberties (CNIL), told Reuters: “Google is trying to set the terms of the debate.

“They want to be seen as being open and virtuous, but they handpicked the members of the council, will control who is in the audience, and what comes out of the meetings.”

At the meetings, attendees will also discuss how national data protection agencies should handle data removal appeals after Britain saw 70 filed in the last few months.

The Google-appointed advisory council includes Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales; a former German justice minister and two academics, as well as the search engine’s general counsel David Drummond and chairman Eric Schmidt.

Last Friday, a shoplifter who had his offense removed from the net under ‘the right to be forgotten act’ gained fresh attention from local newspapers after they instead reported on the fact his story was censored by Google.

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