Jeff Jarvis, I think for a moment you have to stop being a First Amendment hawk and think to yourself, gee: why is Europe so hot on this right-to-be-forgotten thing. Because it cannot be dismissed as simply anti-free speech zealotry, but of real consequences to Europe serving as the testing ground for “Big Data” and algorithms — in the form of census data being tabulated and indelibly inked upon the arms of Jews as well as the Stasi and KGB meticulously keeping news clippings to keep tabs on dissidents.
Bear in mind, of France’s Jewish population in WWII, 75% survived in spite of the Nazi occupation. Why? Because they were not only forgotten, but a very brave and well respected martyr of the Resistance destroyed the machines which tabulated census data.
Was that censorship? Maybe, but the 75% of French Jews who survived WWII would not be that moved.
Yes, Jeff, the press should be free to investigate public individuals and even “private” individuals on occasion, and perhaps the EU has overreached. But take a look around: the sheer volume of information being collected about all of us by people without any intent of using it for journalistic purposes is becoming deeply disturbing.
We have allowed an unregulated system for consumer data where, for example, drugstores have the right to charge you a price that is much higher than the one you get by submitting your purchase information into their database, where it’s matched against god knows how many other databases (tracking your vehicle, your rent, etc.)
This is not benign inquiry. It’s already proven to be capable of abuse in housing discrimination and the like. It may only be a time before one is served a subpoena based solely off one’s dining preferences — after all, who eats the halal menus on an airplane is a good way to determine who is one of those “heebeejabees” that needs to lose his job.
And frankly, given the sheer volume of doxing incidents — almost every one of which was abetted by a “data broker” like Axciom or Lexis — I think we have to all ask ourselves whether press freedom is served by publishing the names and addresses of every journalist, or whether it’s perhaps preferable to have journalists who can do their job without living in such fear.