back to article EU privacy A-Team tells Google: Get a grip and obey OUR laws

The EU's advisory panel on privacy and data protection has warned Google to comply with Europe's laws in an unusually strongly worded statement. The Article 29 Working Party vowed to investigate if Google refused to abide by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling – Google Spain v Gonzalez et al – that decreed Google was not …

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Can they not deport that damn idiot Wales that has been running around everywhere whining on behalf of Google?

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They have been inserting little memes in everybody's mind. So Google's shills can shriek there whenever they're inclined

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Holmes

Punishment

What punishment could the EU impose on Google that would be meaningful? Google makes something like $24M a day so even a billion-dollar fine would have little impact.

Unless the EU holds senior Google officials legally accountable the EU is really just pissing in the wind.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Punishment

Absolutely. If there's no massive price tag attached to it, Google will just carry on delaying it, pay the petty fine at some point, and then carry on with business as usual.

Option two is holding individuals in the company to account, personally. Shouldn't companies of that size have a dedicated person who deals with privacy and data protection? That sounds very much like somebody to turn to in order to exert some pressure.

Option three is to ban the company from any government contracts within the EU. Just like it happened in Sweden about a year ago.

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Re: Punishment

10% revenue is a tough fine.

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Re: Punishment

Are the Bing and Yahoo officials included in that? If it is just Google then it is blatant discrimination and the ruling should be overturned on that ground.

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LDS
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Re: Punishment

Well, EU forced MS to remove IE and Media Player from Windows, and open the API. I guess if it really wishes it, the proper "incentives" could be found easily. A billion dollar find would have not a so small impact, even for something big as Google. The board surely will complain about the missing billion... and there could be other non-monetary "incentives" to adopt.

In Italy, under the Personal Data Protection Law, local Google execs may face jail in some situations, for example.

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Re: Punishment

BillG - But what's their profit margin on that? I'm willing to bet that it's less than 10% which is what they could be fined.

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Re: Punishment

Perhaps Google should stop their services to EU residents and instead re-direct all their traffic to EU sites so people know where to complain....

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"Reg sources familiar with the Article 29 Working Party tell us that after it wrote to Google in 2012 reminding the company that its privacy policy broke EU law, Google failed to reply."

"They're vast, timeless, and if they're aware of us at all, it is as little more than ants, and we have as much chance of communicating with them as an ant has with us. We know, we've tried, and we've learned that we can either stay out from underfoot or be stepped on." - G'Kar.

Google probably thought that quote was about them, and that the A29WP were therefore like ants, and could just be ignored.

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Paris Hilton

Have an upvote. G'Kar was very much a philosopher.

Although I also like Londo's, "do you know what this is? Hmm? No, I can see you do not. You have that vacant look in your eyes, which says hold my head to your ear, you will hear the sea!"

Paris? Because Google seems to have about as good an understanding of EU privacy law as Paris.

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Vic
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> I also like Londo's, "do you know what this is? Hmm? No, I can see you do not ... "

Londo got some excellent lines. My favourite is probably :-

Ah, arrogance and stupidity all in the same package. How efficient of you.

Vic.

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Rol
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Hey Google

No representation, without taxation.

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Oh Thank You Rubbish EU

Would this be the same damned EU that has just ensured that I will not be able to use the bank branch I have used for the past 22 years and that I will in future have to travel into the nearest town to conduct my business. (OK Gorgon Brown also helped to secure that fiasco.)

A great contribution to global warming and progress in reverse gear.

Will this also mean we can no longer trace all those dodgy builders, surgeons (we will bury you faster than a safe surgeon) and the like, due to having their crimes forgotten?

The rubbish EU dedicated to making the world less safe and comfortable.

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Re: Oh Thank You Rubbish EU

Like you I long for the time when UKIP takes command of Britain, and we can make Great Britain safe for Google to break the law at will.

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Re: Oh Thank You Rubbish EU

To the thumbs down funny bunnies.

Can I have your contribution to my increased travel bill now that I have to travel to another town to go to the bank?

No?

I guessed that would be your answer.

Who will allow me to find out about dodgy surgeons, not you either I guess.

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Re: Oh Thank You Rubbish EU

Nothing to do with EU. You must be reading Daily Mail or UKIP press releases.

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Re: Oh Thank You Rubbish EU

@Richard Jones 1:

"That ECJ ruling means individuals can request the removal of old and out of date links that are not in the public interest from web search engine results pages."

Which part of that sentence did you not understand? (Hint: I've highlighted the bit you appear to have missed.)

So, no, if you've been convicted of medical malpractice and banned from ever performing surgery again, you do NOT get to demand that information be wiped out. Because it is in the "public interest" for it to be available. This is something Mr. Wales also appears to have misunderstood.

It's not about offering a blanket "Oh! Me! Me! Forget me!" form to fill in. Google can't rely entirely on automation for checking such requests. If they're doing just that and deleting links that should not have been deleted, that's Google's fault, not the EU's.

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Re: Oh Thank You Rubbish EU

Sorry Mage do you know anything? I read neither the UKIP they are your level of delusion nor Daily mail which is probably too high brow for you anyway, I also avoid the Gruniad or however that dopey paper misprints its name this week.

I did read the letters from the bank telling me the good news that the EU was downgrading my financial experience.

The bank was bounced into buying a lame duck outfit by Gorgon Brown. The Brussels perverts rewarded them by forcing the sale of branches to 'encourage competition' - perhaps they meant in fuel supply for the extra travel?

So sorry to burst your delusion; my inconvenience is a mash up between Gorgon Brown and the EU plain and simple minded.

Is that clear enough to overcome your bigoted view? Otherwise keep drinking 'federal grade silly juice' as dispensed by the Belgium based despots.

Thank god I have had already my back operation: I would not want to have to stick a pin in the map and come up with some secret hiding failure for a surgeon who could not even speak English.

Good luck to anyone who thinks that is a move forward.

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Re: Oh Thank You Rubbish EU

UKIP is a newspaper these days?

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Re: Oh Thank You Rubbish EU

"UKIP is a newspaper these days?"

I thought it was a sleeping pill.

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Rule of law.

Ah yes, another megacorp that thinks laws are for the little people, and only the little people. Name a megacorp, and it's the same damn story in countries around the world. Best of the luck to the rule of law in Europe on this one.

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"... vowed to investigate if Google refused ..."

That would have me trembling in fear.

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Anonymous Coward

I have an idea

Someone should develop an app that does differential searches between Google in Europe and Google elsewhere.

If someone wants to cover up previous financial failings, that is the first thing that should be seen about them. The same goes for a whole load of other reasons.

I think it would be almost mandatory for financial undertakings but would also be good for people working with children & vulnerable adults, security and all sorts of other fun reasons...

If it works, it could be quickly updated for other places, perhaps our Aussie and US friends might want it?

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just

blackhole 5.0.0.0/8, should get you their undivided attention.

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So Small

Governments seem all big and serious if you're stuck on the ground with them. But when you view them at altitude from a Commerce Airship in full battle dress and powered by 100% green money fuel, it really puts government authority in perspective.

It's pretty fundamental business knowledge that you don't give serious attention to governments until they actually do something. You can't act proactively. It's no different than dealing with a childhood school bully, being blackmailed or having an affair. Your acknowledgement of their demands, and your acquiescence to them, establishes the framework for any future engagements.

At this point I should probably say that I'm in absolutely no way supporting Google's blatant disregard for the rules. I think they should follow the rules, that's just proper corporate citizenship. But being a proper corporate citizen isn't a requirement in being a successful corporate citizen.

Continuing from the last bit of that paragraph, business recognizes both outstanding, as well as nonexistent, good corporate citizenship as perfectly legitimate and valid behaviors. But it's really, really hard to mix those things effectively. You always look like a kissass or an out of touch lunatic with little regard for society (a landmine manufacturer that donates heavily to an amputee charity for example).

So, if you've made the decision to not be a good corporate citizen then all your meaningful actions must stem from that decision, or you become either the kissass or the lunatic. From that perspective, it's insane to capitulate to a government.

The crux of all this, however, is that governments create the 'Regulatory Management Policies' that private companies use to further their mission of 'damn the people torpedoes, full speed ahead. Governments all over the world engage in bullying companies that do business inside their borders, regardless of the location of a company's global headquarters. Sometimes the bullying is 'justifiable', sometimes it's not, but like with any bully, it's nearly impossible to separate the 'bully government' from the benevolent government: They're simply bullies.

But they're bullies that can actually do something tangible to the bullied, if only they have the wherewithal to do so. The question at hand is does the regulator have the stones to back up their threats? Almost inevitably the answer is a great big no. Simpleminded politicians, and a generally ignorant population, believe that actually doing something will cost jobs and hit tax revenue. Which is bullshit, and radically out of line with the responsibilities a publicly held company has. Pulling out of a profitable market is probably the fastest way possible for a CEO and a Board Chairman to lose their jobs. Companies know that too, but they also know governments are fairly toothless.

So until upright politicians with the will do actually do something are elected into office the view from the good airship Commerce isn't going to change.

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Paris Hilton

I don't get it

I thought Google were actually following the law to the letter by having put up this application form for removing embarrassing links from their results (though obviously actual removals will take some time to be approved). So what are they doing wrong?

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Re: I don't get it

Different issue - you are thinking of the "right to be forgotten", the article is referring to broader EU data protection and privacy legislation.

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Re: I don't get it

Well, there's this thing that, in the UK, is called 'contempt of court'. Its what happens when during a court case a company or individual does an impression of a teenager asked to tidy his or her room. The 'grounding' that can happen when the actions taken are seen as insufficient can be, again, in the UK, rather serious. Up to 10% annual turnover, if i recall. EU rules probably differ, but given that Google doesn't actually seem to be taken this stuff seriously:

- no reply to official letters

- attempting to use media representation to fudge the issue

- government lobbying to attempt to take out the knees of the officials involved

- I'm sure there are others...

They're looking rather like trying to get around the court rather than engage with it. That's never going go over well...

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Re: I don't get it

They are also dumping money into lobbying to have the law overturned. Good money bought those laws, so anyone trying to get them reversed is automatically suspect!

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Re: I don't get it

Their fault is that they haven't done it yet. In fact, I suspect that the drones are unhappy that Google do it instantly by pressing a button on receipt of the court judgement.

They have compounded their sin by pointing out this was a bad idea and even more by announcing their intention to appeal.

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Rol
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Re: I don't get it

If Google declares sod all revenue within the Uk, I guess a 10% penalty isn't much of a threat.

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Re: I don't get it

"So what are they doing wrong?"

Whining like a spoiled brats. Getting their shills like Jimmy Wales to run from news outlet to news outlet crying about censorship (there is none) and how some 200 year old parchment wouldn't allow this to happen. Except it does and he's probably so misinformed on the issues 'cos he's reading handouts from Google along with hies shite wikipedia. In the US they have the Fair Credit Reporting Act which penalizes anyone that regulates credit-reporting agencies from disclosing 10 year old data.

There are costs associated with any business activity. Google thinks that those costs should be borne by society, individuals, minority groups, hell fuck anyone but Google.

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They have been inserting little memes in everybody's mind. So Google's shills can shriek there whenever they're inclined

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The EU is nothing but a bunch of unelectable power hungry kleptomaniacs who like to bribe us with our own money. Good for nothing but submitting dodgy accounts, re-running referendums when they don't get the desired result, deposing elected leaders of sovereign states, and hounding honest market traders to an early grave.

The best thing Google could do at this point is to refer them to the reply given in the case of Arkell vs. Pressdram.

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The EU power structure does have (IMHO) fatally flawed power structures and ambition, but nonetheless, there are some people in positions of authority who do their jobs properly. Guarding the rights of European citizens is taken very seriously indeed, and rightly so.

The global corporations that simply view people as nothing more than wallets to be emptied and product to be monetised should be *made* to behave in a civilised way, if they want to carry out their operations in civilised countries.

There's a lot wrong with the EU, but on this they're spot on.

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I take it you don't bank in Cyprus.

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Privacy is good...

The ability of someone to remove past, errors from public view is not always a good thing.

If a 30 year old wants a link to 20 year old ASBO removed, that is one thing. If another adult wants links to a previous bankruptcy removed, that is not.

If someone wants reference to adult criminal convictions removed. That request needs to be documented and linked to make reference to it easier.

Privacy is a must but public safety is even more important to me.

I would also like permanent record about what politicians and parties say. They will want to use this to cover up their actions.

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Anonymous Coward

Ah, thanks to the EU, the internet became safe & secure again, and now we can all rest...

Not! ... This is all very well and good... But the EU needs to get its finger out and ensure we can opt-out of tracking. I don't use Google services anymore, but its impossible not to email someone who has gmail.com, or has a website that redirects there. Therefore, its impossible to avoid being scanned, and impossible to avoid being added to Google's global contact database! My idiot friends use phone apps that share their entire contact db with google, WTF? Wake Up people!

The EU also needs to stop Google devouring data from Google Analytics and server side scripts and Super Cookies. There is no protection form this and AdBlock etc won't cut it, as your browser and OS and IP will still betray you.... Instead you have to go full Tor, cleanse your browser, and even then nothing is certain as we've learned in recent months!

Snowden and the lesser known whistle-blowers before him, have done us a great service. Because the Sheeple have been forced to wake up from sleepwalking us to 1984. But change will only come about through money! Companies and individuals must boycott the big internet firms and telcos... There is a huge market opportunity waiting for somebody smart here. I'm certainly willing to pay more to give the finger to Google and Facebook and Vodafone etc...

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Re: Instead you have to go full Tor

Or you can use Ixquick.

Apparently, they're Danish. They say they don't log your IP. I'm inclined to believe them until proven otherwise.

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Re: Instead you have to go full Tor

If you use Tor you have to go through them; Google outright reject search requests once they detect your tor exit node

luckily if you have Orbot (Tor) on Android like me, you can replace your google search widget with "Start page" or something (Looks like it's through ixquick) and everything continues as usual

If you have root access to your phone Orbot is so simple and wonderful to use

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Just a flight of fancy

"Google responded by appointing a committee of five "independent" advisors, two of whom have already called for the law to be changed."

Typical corporate American arrogance. I hope the EU response to that involves sex and travel.

But as previous commentards have already pointed out, the EU does have some clout here - forcing Microsoft to decouple IE from Windows was a small but notable victory.

If it really turned nasty, Google could find itself being blocked from Kenmare to Krakow, with all their local execs admiring the inside of European slammers. The top brass might just shrug that off - but when their crap peddlers customers start asking why 750 million people now can't see their adverts, it might be a very different story.

There are ways round a block, of course - I don't doubt that 99% of Reg readers are sufficiently savvy to work around one - but the vast majority of MyTwitBook lusers wouldn't have a clue where to begin. And that vast majority makes up the target audience for the crap peddlers - not the greasy scruff like us who know how to block adverts.

Google need to take this very seriously.

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Re: Just a flight of fancy

Or it could just stop providing services to anyone in Europe - I'm sure that would go over real well with the electorate and businesses.... Because there isn't enough hatred of the EU in Europe already...

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Re: Just a flight of fancy

Yes, they could do that - but as that would mean deliberately dropping the biggest chunk of disposable income on the planet, it would be a textbook case of cutting off their nose to spite their face.

But I wouldn't put that past them, given their attitude to date.

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Why do we expect Google to be the arbiter of these requests anyway? Sure, have them put up the request pages, but the requests should be routed to WP29 or equivalent Brussels' practitioners of tetrapyloctomy. The decisions would be binding unless google wanted to appeal it at their cost to some specified court. Make google pay for it if you want, although I'd rather see a hefty charge for the request (hardship waivers available, naturally) with a full refund if granted.

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