Google has acted as judge, jury and executioner in the wake of Europe’s right to be forgotten ruling. But what does society lose when a private corporation rules public information?
Nine months after the European ruling, it is clear that Google’s implementation has been fast, idiosyncratic, and allowed the company to shape interpretation to its own ends, as well as to gain an advantage on competitors and regulators forced into reactive mode. It avoided a broader and much deeper reflection on digital public space, information sedimentation, and the exploration of collaborative solutions between public and private actors – such as a joint request service across different search engines, with processes for getting confidential advice from publishers and public officials.
Recent amendments to the Access to Public Information Act (APIA), led to the establishment of an Open Data Portal, where all public-sector organizations are obliged to store information. The access to the Open Data Portal is free. On the 20th June 2016, the Council of Ministers adopted an Ordinance on the Standards for the Re-use of Public-sector Information and its Open Format Publishing, which obliges all state officials to stick to specific open data format requirements and to publish machine-readable data in the Open Data Portal.
A U.S. judge on Monday ruled that Microsoft Corp's LinkedIn unit cannot prevent a startup from accessing public profile data, in a test of how much control a social media site can wield over information its users have deemed to be public.