It appears that the EU’s well-meaning right to be forgotten is being used by those who want to re-write history without them.
Geoff Brigham, General Counsel for the the Wikimedia Foundation said he had been getting notes saying that certain links to Wikipedia content would no longer appear in search results served to people in Europe. Among the articles removed from search results are an image of a young man playing a guitar, a page about the former criminal Gerry Hutch, anda page about the Italian gangster Renato Vallanzasca.
As of July 18, Google has received more than 91,000 removal requests involving more than 328,000 links; of these, more than half of the URLs processed have been removed. More than fifty of these links were to content on Wikipedia.
Wikipedia said that the WMF has created a dedicated page where we will be posting notices about attempts to remove links to Wikimedia under this authority. The Wikimedia projects provide informational, educational, and historic value to the world. Their content should not be hidden from Internet users seeking truthful and relevant information.
Wikipedia’s founder Jimmy Wales said the EU’s “right to be forgotten” laws where being used to censor history.
“History is a human right and one of the worst things that a person can do is attempt to use force to silence another,” he said. “I’ve been in the public eye for quite some time. Some people say good things, some people say bad things … that’s history, and I would never use any kind of legal process like to try to suppress it.”