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We all know the old saying about the road to **** being paved with good intentions. The EU is busy building a three-lane highway that it leads to a particularly dark place. Three EU Directives recently approved of under judicial review have wide-ranging impact on the internet, affecting global commerce as well as free-speech.
Although each of these Directives speak to different aspects of the internet, the commonality — and perhaps the biggest problem — is that all of them push the notion of extraterritoriality. Put more simply, the EU is trying to flex its censorship muscles around the world.
Issues - Right - Forgotten - General - Data
The three issues are the “Right to Be Forgotten,” the “General Data Protection Regulations” (GDPR), and recently announced anti-hate speech regulations. Each of these doctrines have some degree of moral merit. Given the widespread abuse of the internet, it’s easy to be sympathetic to many people who suffered that abuse.
Unfortunately, the EU has decided to redesign the information superhighway with a series of landmines, speed bumps and exit ramps to Speech Jail.
Doctrine - Years - Core - Purpose - Individuals
This doctrine has been around for several years. Its core purpose is to protect individuals from having old (and ostensibly no longer relevant) information about them made available to the public.
The most famous RTBF case is Google Spain SL, Google Inc. v. AEPD and Mario Costeja González. In 2010, a minor businessman of no public import found that a Google search would bring up a link to a 1998 newspaper public notice that stated he was in arrears in property tax. Although the tax issue had long been settled, that news was never reported.
González - Complaint - Spain - Data - Protection
González filed a complaint with Spain’s Data Protection Authority (each EU nation has one) who ruled that the old news about his tax arrears served no public interest, and interestingly, did not demand removal of the story from...
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