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February 12, 2015 3

The Right to Be Forgotten Has No Place in the U.S.

right-to-be-forgottenThe right to be forgotten—the right of Inter­net users to request that search engines remove links to out­dated or embar­rass­ing infor­ma­tion about them­selves from search results—is once more in the head­lines in Europe. Recently, fol­low­ing up on a pre­vi­ous Euro­pean Court of Jus­tice rul­ing that indi­vid­u­als have the right to ask search engines to remove links to “inad­e­quate, irrel­e­vant, or no longer rel­e­vant” infor­ma­tion about them­selves online, Euro­pean reg­u­la­tors and judges have called for Google and other search engines to apply the Right to Be For­got­ten around the world, regard­less of which coun­try the search engine serves and where the search takes place. How­ever, the Advi­sory Coun­cil that Google appointed to look into the issue has rec­om­mended that Google limit its response to European-directed search ser­vices, such as google.fr (used in France) and google.de (used in Ger­many) and not extend it out­side the Euro­pean Union. That Coun­cil, in a new report, found that there is “a com­pet­ing inter­est on the part of users out­side of Europe to access infor­ma­tion via a name-based search in accor­dance with the laws of their coun­try, which may be in con­flict with the delist­ings afforded by the rul­ing.”  ADL agrees with their recommendation.

Last Novem­ber the Anti-Defamation League adopted a pol­icy posi­tion that “indi­vid­u­als should not have the right to have links to old and/or embar­rass­ing infor­ma­tion about them­selves removed from Inter­net search results.” Doing so is tan­ta­mount to tak­ing a scalpel to library books, allow­ing peo­ple to tear from pub­lic record things about them­selves from the past that they sim­ply do not like. The Right to Be For­got­ten could allow, for exam­ple, a white suprema­cist to erase all traces of his his­tory of big­oted rhetoric before run­ning for pub­lic office, deny­ing the pub­lic access to make a fully informed decision.

The Inter­net has pro­vided the largest and most robust mar­ket­place of ideas in his­tory, open­ing lines of com­mu­ni­ca­tion around the world. As the Inter­net brings the world closer, how­ever, coun­tries must be cog­nizant of the impact that their laws and reg­u­la­tions have in other parts of the world. In the United States the First Amend­ment pro­vides much stronger pro­tec­tions for free speech than the laws do in Europe. Amer­i­cans, and search engines based in the United States, should con­tinue to respect the laws and found­ing prin­ci­ples of our coun­try, deny­ing the right to be for­got­ten here.


El Dere­cho a Ser Olvi­dado No Tiene Lugar en Esta­dos Unidos

El dere­cho a ser olvi­dado —el dere­cho de los usuar­ios de Inter­net a solic­i­tar que los motores de búsqueda elim­i­nen de los resul­ta­dos de búsqueda los vín­cu­los a infor­ma­ción desac­tu­al­izada o ver­gonzosa sobre sí mis­mos— está una vez más en los tit­u­lares europeos. Recien­te­mente, a con­se­cuen­cia de un fallo ante­rior de un tri­bunal de jus­ti­cia europeo según el cual los indi­vid­uos tienen el dere­cho de pedir que los motores de búsqueda elim­i­nen los enlaces a infor­ma­ción en línea “inade­cuada, irrel­e­vante o no per­ti­nente” sobre sí mis­mos, los jue­ces y reg­u­ladores europeos han pedido a Google y otros motores de búsqueda aplicar el dere­cho a ser olvi­dado alrede­dor del mundo, inde­pen­di­en­te­mente del país del bus­cador y de donde se real­iza la búsqueda. Sin embargo, el Con­sejo Asesor que designó Google para inves­ti­gar el tema, ha recomen­dado que Google lim­ite su respuesta a los ser­vi­cios de búsqueda enfo­ca­dos a Europa especí­fi­ca­mente, como google.fr (uti­lizado en Fran­cia) y google.de (usado en Ale­ma­nia), y que no la aplique fuera de la Unión Euro­pea. El mismo Con­sejo, en un nuevo informe, encon­tró que hay “un interés con­flic­tivo de parte de los usuar­ios fuera de Europa por acceder a la infor­ma­ción medi­ante una búsqueda basada en el nom­bre de con­formi­dad con las leyes de su país, que pueden estar en con­flicto con la opción de elim­i­nación ofre­cida por la sen­ten­cia”. La ADL está de acuerdo con su recomendación.

En noviem­bre pasado la Liga Antid­ifamación adoptó una posi­ción política según la cual “las per­sonas no deberían tener el dere­cho a que los enlaces a infor­ma­ción vieja o ver­gonzosa sobre sí mis­mos sean elim­i­na­dos de los resul­ta­dos de búsqueda en Inter­net”. Hac­erlo equiv­al­dría a aplicar un bis­turí a libros de la bib­lioteca, per­mi­tiendo a la gente arran­car de los archivos públi­cos cosas sobre sí mis­mos que sim­ple­mente no les gus­tan. El Dere­cho a Ser Olvi­dado podría per­mi­tir, por ejem­plo, que un supremacista blanco bor­rara todos los ras­tros de su his­to­ria de retórica intol­er­ante antes de pos­tu­larse para car­gos públi­cos, negando al público la posi­bil­i­dad de tomar una decisión com­ple­ta­mente informada.

Inter­net ha pro­por­cionado el mer­cado más grande y robusto de ideas en la his­to­ria, abriendo líneas de comu­ni­cación alrede­dor del mundo. Sin embargo, a medida que Inter­net acerca al mundo, los países deben ser con­scientes del impacto que sus leyes y reg­u­la­ciones tienen en otras partes del mundo. En Esta­dos Unidos, la Primera Enmienda pro­por­ciona garan­tías a la lib­er­tad de expre­sión mucho más fuertes que las leyes en Europa. Los esta­dounidenses y los motores de búsqueda con sede en Esta­dos Unidos deben seguir respetando las leyes y prin­ci­p­ios fun­da­cionales de nue­stro país, negando el dere­cho a ser olvidados.

 

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September 24, 2012 0

“Zionism” Blamed for Anti-Islam Film At Protests in Houston, Los Angeles and Washington D.C.

Protests held in Hous­ton, Los Ange­les and Wash­ing­ton D.C. last Fri­day and Sat­ur­day accused Zion­ists of hav­ing a hand in the pro­duc­tion of the anti-Islam film, Inno­cence of Mus­lims.

The ral­lies, which were spon­sored by the Mus­lim Con­gress, a Shi’a orga­ni­za­tion founded in 2005, also fea­tured plac­ards and slo­gans accus­ing the Amer­ica and other West­ern nations of har­bor­ing dou­ble stan­dards regard­ing what con­sti­tutes free­dom of speech.

Sign at Mus­lim Con­gress protest in Houston

Pro­test­ers at the Hous­ton rally, which was co-sponsored by the Islamic Edu­ca­tion Cen­ter (IEC), a Houston-based Shi’a mosque and pri­vate school with a record of employ­ing stereo­typ­i­cal anti-Semitic nar­ra­tives in its pub­li­ca­tions, held a ban­ner that read: “Insult of Islam = Free­dom of Speech? Inquiry on Holo­caust= Anti­semitism? Dou­ble Stan­dards!” Pro­test­ers also chanted slo­gans blam­ing Zion­ists for the film’s pro­duc­tion and held posters with “Yes to Moses, Yes To Jesus, Yes to Muham­mad, No to Zion­ism” writ­ten on them.

Although they were billed as “peace­ful protests” to “honor Divine Prophets, includ­ing Abra­ham, Moses, Jesus and Muham­mad,” a Mus­lim Con­gress press release issued after the events called the film “a by-product of a cul­ture cre­ated by … war-profiteers, and the Zion­ist lobby.”

The same release included a res­o­lu­tion call­ing for lim­its on free­dom of speech and asked for “all Amer­i­cans of faith [to] stand together against the plans of the Zion­ist to dis­unite us, as the Zion­ists respect nei­ther Judaism, Chris­tian­ity or Islam.”

The Mus­lim Con­gress has reg­u­larly fea­tured anti-Semitic speak­ers such as Abdul Alim Musa of the extrem­ist As-Sabiqun group and Moham­mad al-Asi at its annual conventions.

Sim­i­lar to the protest in Hous­ton, pro­test­ers in front of the Los Ange­les Fed­eral Build­ing held up posters denounc­ing the film and blam­ing the vio­lence seen in sev­eral Mid­dle East­ern coun­tries on Zion­ism. One poster read, “Yes to Torah, Yes to Bible, Yes to Quran, No to Zionism.”

PressTV, the Iran­ian government’s pri­mary medium for pro­mot­ing anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­ries to English-speaking coun­tries, described the Los Ange­les protest as a reac­tion to the anti-Islam film pro­duced “thanks to Jew­ish dona­tions total­ing USD five million.”

The false claim that the film was the work of an “Israeli Jew” ini­tially spread when the film­maker said in inter­views that his project had 100 Jew­ish back­ers who had invested $5 mil­lion to pro­duce it. It was later revealed that the film was cre­ated, pro­duced and pro­moted by sev­eral Chris­t­ian anti-Muslim activists con­nected to a net­work of anti-Muslim organizations.

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