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Btw, Andrew, what is the difference in antitrust legislation and persecution between Europe and the US?

I wasn't aware that there is any big divide, or actually that there can be any big dispute in terms of underlying principles.


I'm very much in favor of the European - or I'd rather put: Continental - approach that protection of individuals may take higher priority than freedom of speech. And I do support the application of this principle to online content and activities.

But as far as the recent ECJ decision is concerned, I can only say: What the heck?

They declared that EU citizens still have a claim to some (limited) level of control over material about themselves publicly available online, in particular over whether it is (still being) published. Fine, so far I can follow and I endorse the idea. Looking for an analogue to the offline world, which is often helpful, we find this would correspond to banning a newspaper or TV show from dispersing a certain information, claim, or picture in the future. Nobody can change past issues of a newspaper retroactively, but old online sources are still considered here, too; I agree because leaving them on a web server somewhat resembles issuing a new edition of that old paper every day (even if the online material it is, in fact, a newspaper article obviously published long ago).

But where does this stop? How do you define what you can request to be deleted/unlinked?
Why doesn't the Court stress the underlying principles that may lead to such a decision even in a press release? I'm pretty sure the BGH or BVerfG would have done so.
Moreover, I see that search engines (in case there is a plural to that word) also bear some responsibility; but how come we now focus on Google rather than the actual publisher or the respective material?
What about way-back machines/internet archives?

Sadly, this is not the first time that the ECJ causes more uncertainty than it contributes to a reliable legal framework. Does this indicate a cultural difference between German understanding of law and the majority within the current composition of the court, or are the judges just doing a lousy job?

I'm very concerned that strategic requests for deletion will soon become an industrial machinery, just like wiki manipulation has.

And on a completely unrelated note, I still wonder what Gerhard Schröder's natural hair color might be.

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