Google has made it easier than ever to erase your online footprint when it comes to things like your personal information, or non-consensual images (i.e. revenge porn). Except it didn’t really happen.
This is an important thing for many people. NordVPN (Opens in a new tab) He released survey results where respondents from Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom showed that they actively wanted to remove things like financial information or details about dating and sexual habits from the web.
I’m sure the results would be similar if the company had asked people in the US, Germany or any other country. Even people who claim they have nothing to hide have Something They want to hide.
However, the sad truth of this is that it doesn’t do what you want it to do. Even in places like the European Union where Google is forced to remove user data, this kind of policy doesn’t actually remove anything but search engine traffic. The thing(s) you want to erase will still be there, and you can’t do much about it.
How it all works – spider web
You may have heard the term Spider Web Before. If you haven’t done so or if you’re not quite sure what you mean, the concept behind it is actually pretty simple. Google and other web companies that can act as search engines have software that crawls the web to find content. Crawl and the web, of course, coined the term spider — it has nothing to do with our eight-legged friends.
When a spider finds something, it indexes the information into the data center, and those data centers are where companies like Google pull in search results. Let’s say you want soccer results. The media outlet or media feed publishes the results on the web, and spiders find them and index them. so when hold your phone And search, results are delivered on the search page.
Of course, it’s more complicated when it comes to methods, and publishers can opt out of spiders indexing their content, but that’s the general idea behind it all, and it’s good for a basic understanding.
Google, Microsoft, or Meta do not control any content that is not hosted on their platform. No, we’re not going to get into the sink of Section 230 arguments here, because none of that is viable.
Google (let’s stick with Google as an example here to make things easier) can only work on the things it controls. Google can remove an offer from its streaming platforms. Google can delete an app from the Play Store. Google can delete the search result.
However, Google cannot delete the actual content.
Nothing is actually forgotten
In case it wasn’t clear from all the spider talk, Google only removes the link to the content You want to be removed in a Google search when you petition the company, using your right to be forgotten.
It’s very easy to do – you visit it This Google page Filling out a form, and unless you’re some kind of public figure or information that you want to ‘delete’ is something that should still be publicly available, Google will use the Big Control + X and make it disappear from search results.
In fact Removing content can be more difficult.
This is not impossible and it should not be impossible. No one has the right to see your nude photos unless you post them yourself. No one has the right to know about your health unless you tell them yourself. No one has the right to know your sexual preferences unless you choose to make them public.
Most importantly, no one has the right to know anything harmful about children under the minimum age established by law under any circumstances.
Courts can remove these kinds of things if the people who run the website don’t do so voluntarily. Personally, I prefer the DDoS-to-freaking-oblivion approach to any website out there for sharing private information about people who don’t want to share it.
Fortunately, I have no authority over anything outside of my office. In either case, the information will be removed, as well as personal information that a court may find harmful or defamatory (Opens in a new tab).
It’s better than the alternative
I don’t want Google or any other company to have the ability to remove things from the web. I think the status quo, where Google removes input from search results, is the only power any search company should be allowed to have. I also don’t think Google will ever have that kind of power no matter how much they want it to be.
I think it is very important for everyone to know that the complete right to be forgotten does not mean what you think it means. There is an old saying: the Internet never forgets.