Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has kicked off a roadshow of debates in Europe about the region’s controversial “right to be forgotten” legislation, Betty Liu and Hans Nichols discuss in a Bloomberg report.
According to Nichols who is a Bloomberg international correspondent, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is taking hits from many different fronts in Europe. The “right to be forgotten” issue stems from a decision handed down in May by the European Court of Justice which ruled that every European has a right to be forgotten.
Company chairman Eric Schmidt kicked off the debates about the issue in Madrid today, the first of seven debates which will be held in Rome on September 10, then Paris on September 25, Warsaw on September 30, Berlin on October 14, London on October 16 and Brussels on November 4.
According to Nichols, the Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) chairman is conducting the debates with people from across Europe with the help of a panel of experts. This panel of experts the company calls its “Advisory Council” includes Google’s top lawyer David C. Drummond and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
Nichols said that Schmidt and company are basically trying to ask the people of Europe when is it right to have the right to be forgotten and when is it right to have people know about a certain information. Nichols added that the criticism about these debates is that Google is seen to be conducting mock trials about the “right to be forgotten” and is “putting its thumb on the side” of the public’s right to know.
Nonetheless, Nichols said that the world’s largest search engine is entrenched in Europe with a market share of over 90%. This is compared to its market share of over 67% in the U.S.
The strategy of the search and advertising giant with these debates, Nichols said, is either to get in front and take on these criticisms or to take this battle to the court of public opinion and encourage people who believe that the public’s right to know outweighs a person’s right to have potentially damaging information be blocked to speak up.
The “right to be forgotten” ruling in May means that every European can request for a particular search result provided that this results are already “outdated” or “irrelevant” to the person. However, after Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) notified members of the media such as the BBC about links to stories they have on their website having been deleted from certain search results, some argue that this ruling leads to the censoring of the media in the region.
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s investors includes Stanley Druckenmiller’s Duquesne Capital which reported 259,610 shares in the internet giant by the end of the first half of the year.