Print 8 comment(s) - last by Reclaimer77.. on Feb 27 at 8:47 AM

The court is looking to figure out whether Google is the "controller" of search results or just the "host"

Google has been under the microscope in Europe due to privacy issues many times, and now it will attempt to defend itself once again in an ongoing case in Spain.

A Spanish man filed a complaint against Google over a year ago regarding sensitive information he uncovered about himself in a Google search. After searching his name in Google's search engine, he found a newspaper announcement from several years prior, which revealed that a property he once owned was up for auction because he failed to pay social security contributions.

The man felt Google should have to delete this private information from search results, and the Audiencia Nacional (a top court in Spain) ruled that the information should indeed be removed. However, Google challenged the ruling, saying that this opens up Pandora's Box allowing any information a user doesn't find suitable to possibly be challenged and deleted.

The case was referred to the Court of Justice in March 2012.

Now, Google will have the chance to defend its reasoning before Spain's data protection authority and Europe's highest court this week. The court is looking to figure out whether Google is the "controller" of search results or just the "host." Also, it hopes to determine if Google can be subject to EU privacy laws if it's based in California.

Google has had other privacy problems in Europe lately. Last year, Google consolidated 60 privacy policies into one -- allowing the company to combine user data across several services like Gmail, YouTube and Google+. This strategy is especially useful when selling advertisements. However, European data regulators demanded that Google change its privacy policy by this summer because it puts users at "high risk."

Google is also in the midst of antitrust issues in Europe.
Earlier last month, Google managed to escape a nearly two-year U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigation without paying any fines, but the EU said it didn't plan on going easy on Google the way he FTC did. Joaquin Almunia, Europe's antitrust chief, recently said that Google is providing search results that promote its own services instead of fairly showing those of competitors.

Source: Reuters

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By Argon18 on 2/26/2013 7:22:01 PM , Rating: 2
There's more to it than that. Google censors search results, and also ranks them artificially. Users are more likely to click on results near the top, rather than results that are 3 pages deep, so manipulating the ranking is a powerful way to direct traffic to/from specific sites. Google is not a benevolent servant!!

By Reclaimer77 on 2/26/2013 8:25:03 PM , Rating: 2
It's not artificial, it's logical. It goes by relevance! We WANT the most relevant searches to be on the first page. Duh?

Google is not a benevolent servant!!

Neither are they some force of evil bent on world domination.

By Suedoise on 2/26/2013 10:26:45 PM , Rating: 5
Unfortunately, quite a lot of that "relevance" is governed by how much money Google can squeeze out of a third party that wants to get higher on that list.

They stopped being a transparent search provider long ago. The top results are sorted by "relevance to Google income", not by "relevance to search".

By Reclaimer77 on 2/27/2013 8:47:11 AM , Rating: 2
sounds like more anti Google BS to me. If you don't like the way they do things you're certainly entitled to using a different search provider. Nobody's stopping you.

"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein

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