Reflecting on the Right to be ForgottenReflecting on the Right to be ForgottenGlobal Privacy Counsel
What if links to stories about someone’s past—stories about defrauding an international business or about medical tourism malpractice—were removed from Google search in your country, not because of your local laws but because someone was able to use the laws of another country. How would you feel about that?
That question may seem simplistic. But it goes to the heart of a very important debate that is taking place now in Europe, initially between some Data Protection Authorities and, next year, in court. At stake: whether Europe’s right to be forgotten—which allows people in EU countries to request removal of certain links from name search results—should reach beyond the borders of Europe and into countries which have different laws.
Google believes it should not. That’s why, for much of the last year, we’ve been defending the idea that each country should be able to balance freedom of expression and privacy in the way that it chooses, not in the way that another country chooses.
To be clear: we are not disputing that Google should comply with the right to be forgotten in Europe. We have worked diligently to give effect to the rights confirmed by the European Court of Justice. We have delisted approximately 780,000 URLs to date and have granted fast and effective responses to individuals who assert their rights.
We have also worked efficiently with Data Protection Authorities when they are asked to review (the small number of) cases that are appealed to them. Our approach to delisting takes into account the criteria set out by the European Court, as well as guidance from each country’s regulators and courts. And from the outset, we have delisted links on all European versions of Google Search simultaneously. So links would no longer appear on Google.de, Google.fr and Google.be, and so on.
But some Data Protection Authorities argued that people could still find delisted links by searching on a non-European version of Google such as Google.com. So in March 2016, in response to the concerns of a number of Data Protection Authorities, we made some changes. As a result, people using Google from the same country as the person who requested the removal can no longer find the delisted link, even on Google.com, Google.co.kr, or Google.com.mx.
But one Data Protection Authority, the French Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés (the CNIL), has ordered Google to go much further, effectively instructing us to apply the French balance between privacy and free expression in every country by delisting French right to be forgotten removals for users everywhere. Ultimately, we might have to implement French standards on Google search sites from Australia (google.com.au) to Zambia (google.co.zm) and everywhere in between. And any such precedent would open the door to countries around the world, including non-democratic countries, to demand the same global power.
We agree with the CNIL that privacy is a fundamental right—but so too is the right to free expression. Any balance that is struck between those two rights must be accompanied by territorial limits, consistent with the basic principles of international law. Aside from anything else, it’s plain common sense that one country should not have the right to impose its rules on the citizens of another, especially not when it comes to lawful content.
We are not alone in this view. A wide range of organisations from all over the world have also expressed fears about the CNIL's decision and its impact on freedom of speech, press freedom and the right to access information on the Internet, including The Wikimedia Foundation, The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, The International Federation of Library Associations, and The Article 19 Coalition of Human Rights organizations.The right to be forgotten can sometimes seem complex, and discussions about jurisdiction online certainly are complicated. But this issue is simple: should the balance between the right to free expression and the right to privacy be struck by each country—based on its culture, its traditions, its courts—or should one view apply for all? The right to be forgotten can sometimes seem complex, and discussions about jurisdiction online certainly are complicated. But should the balance between the right to free expression and the right to privacy be struck by each country - based on its culture, its traditions, its courts - or should one view apply globally?
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A few readers have asked my opinions of the Amazon Store Card, a retail card issued by Synchrony Bank. You can only use it to buy things at Amazon.com – note the lack of a logo from Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express. This is a separate product from the Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card (3% back at Amazon), which is a credit card issued by Chase that you can use anywhere that Visa is accepted. The key benefits of the Amazon Store Card are:
- 5% Back for Amazon Prime members. Amazon Prime members are automatically upgraded to the Amazon Prime Store Card and can earn 5% back on all Amazon.com purchases.
- No annual fee.
There are also financing offers, that come with the card, similar to retailer cards from Home Depot or Lowe’s.
- No interest if paid in full within 6 months on any purchase totaling $149 or more. Interest will be charged to your account from the purchase date if the promotional balance is not paid in full within 6 months. Minimum monthly payments required.
- No interest if paid in full within 12 months on any purchase totaling $599 or more. Interest will be charged to your account from the purchase date if the promotional balance is not paid in full within 12 months. Minimum monthly payments required.
- No interest if paid in full within 24 months on select items sold by Amazon.com. Items sold by third parties do not qualify. Interest will be charged to your account from the purchase date if the promotional balance is not paid in full within 24 months. Minimum monthly payments required and may pay off purchase before end of promo period.
- 12 Month Equal Pay Offer: 0% APR until paid in full. 12 equal monthly payments required.
As with those home improvement offers, you have to watch out for the balloon interest payment at the end. If you don’t pay in full, you will get charged back-dated interest starting back from the purchase date and not the end of the promo period. This credit line charges a variable interest rate based on the Prime Rate. The current Variable purchase APR is 26.24%. Yikes.
Commentary. So why don’t I mention the Amazon Store Card all the time? My rule of thumb is that “hard credit check” can reliably net me at least $500 in value, usually from “try me! try me!” credit card incentives. It is very rare that I shop at any specific place enough to get $500 in savings. For example, it would take $10,000 of Amazon purchases at 5% back to net me $500 in cash back.
At the same time, 5% rotating category credit cards often have Amazon or a place that sells Amazon gift cards as an eligible category. Other cards like the American Express Blue Cash Preferred offer 6% back at grocery stores (that sell Amazon gift cards) or Chase Ink Business cards offer 5% back at office supply stores (that sell Amazon gift cards). Basically, there are other ways that I can stock up on Amazon gift cards at 5% off without having this card.
If you are a loyal Prime member that spends a lot of money at Amazon and prefer simplicity, then this card can make sense. The 5% off is automatic with your bill, and you get to easily track how much your Amazon habit is costing you. You’ll also want to be the type that either pays your bills in full or is great at navigating the fine print on financing opportunities. 26% APR interest is scary.
© MyMoneyBlog.com, 2016.