King Canute

If you’re in the information search business, as Google is, your ability to search and report back on what you find is core.  So how do you navigate jurisdictions that want to selectively limit access to certain information on the web?  This even before control of ICANN gets controlled by a UN committee, to say nothing about net neutrality.

“Google Officials Debate Web Privacy in Europe,” Wall Street Journal, September 10, 2014 B4. Following the court decision applying the “right to be forgotten” to truthful information on the web, Google is in something of a bind.  So how to influence people while implementing the ruling, which apparently requires Google to take down search results that present accurate information about people, information that is stored outside of Google?  Not the information itself, mind you; just the search results.

What does that do to the value of a search of information known to be inaccurate and incomplete? If information is on the web but no one can find it, does the information still exist?

Would your risk assessment have identified the risk of future legal rulings that make your business model illegal?   Who owns information on the web?  Who controls what gets stored there and who can see what?  Why not go after the places where the information is stored?  Is Google just too big or too American? Maybe all the information will end up sitting on servers in the US (or elsewhere) and European regulators will be forced to paly Whack-a-Mole in tracking down workarounds that allow people in Europe to search information stored elsewhere.

The mind boggles.  I picture King Canute ordering the tides to recede.  He was an early European regulator, come to think of it.

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Filed under Business Case, Controls, Information, Internal controls, Legal, Ownership, Privacy, Requirements, Risk, Third parties

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