UK MPs are proposing that an algorithm to remove search links found to be in breach of privacy is made mandatory. This following ex-Formula One boss Max Mosley’s complaint about not being able to get a video off the Internet. Mosley is pushing for the new technology to be initiated in the UK which result in a form of censoring content from the UK web using public.
Some key areas of the new Privacy and Injunctions Report highlight how information could be censored from media consumers such as this extract from the report on newspapers publishing stories that would reveal facts about people, most likely big names and celebrities, and how they would have to go about retrieving consent for content. This would impact how stories are told if published at all.
“If a newspaper is intending to publish a story which concerns the private life of an individual then the subject of the story should be notified in advance unless there are compelling reasons not to. Although this should not be a statutory requirement, it should be included in the media regulator’s code of conduct. The courts, when awarding damages in privacy cases, should take into account any unjustified failure to pre-notify.”
If you think that newspapers are something you could live without then perhaps you should take note of one of the proposed rules of the new act:
“…The law must apply equally to all forms of media: print, broadcast and online” – Privacy and Injunctions Report 2012
This would make for a highly censored media -both online and offline- that would allow people in high places to remain off the public radar. This could range from anything as fickle as football players’ scandals to government officials’ backhand dealings being censored from the public’s news sphere.
Google bears brunt
Max Mosley’s complaint about wanting to have a rather compromising video removed from the Internet, specifically comes across in a ‘no-names-mentioned’ but ‘rather-specifically-implied’ comment in the report on how privacy should be respected by the Internet search engines:
“Where an individual has obtained a clear court order that certain material infringes their privacy and so should not be published, we do not find it acceptable that he or she should have to return to court repeatedly in order to remove the same material from Internet searches,” the report said…”
The committee took Mosley’s complaint to heart saying:
“Google and other search engines should take steps to ensure that their websites are not used as vehicles to breach the law and should actively develop and use such technology. We recommend that if legislation is necessary to require them to do so, it should be introduced,” the report concluded.
“In response, Google told the BBC: “Google already removes specific pages deemed unlawful by the courts. We have a number of simple tools anyone can use to report such content, which we then remove from our index.” (via BBC News)
If this report is to become a reality, people’s privacy may be less of an issue but news and influential information could ultimately be kept from the public both online and offline..