BBC Pages Censored by the EU

List of BBC web pages which have been removed from Google’s search results by Neil McIntosh.

From the post:

Since a European Court of Justice ruling last year, individuals have the right to request that search engines remove certain web pages from their search results. Those pages usually contain personal information about individuals.

Following the ruling, Google removed a large number of links from its search results, including some to BBC web pages, and continues to delist pages from BBC Online.

The BBC has decided to make clear to licence fee payers which pages have been removed from Google’s search results by publishing this list of links. Each month, we’ll republish this list with new removals added at the top.

We are doing this primarily as a contribution to public policy. We think it is important that those with an interest in the “right to be forgotten” can ascertain which articles have been affected by the ruling. We hope it will contribute to the debate about this issue. We also think the integrity of the BBC’s online archive is important and, although the pages concerned remain published on BBC Online, removal from Google searches makes parts of that archive harder to find.

The pages affected by delinking may disappear from Google searches, but they do still exist on BBC Online. David Jordan, the BBC’s Director of Editorial Policy and Standards, has written a blog post which explains how we view that archive as “a matter of historic public record” and, thus, something we alter only in exceptional circumstances. The BBC’s rules on deleting content from BBC Online are strict; in general, unless content is specifically made available only for a limited time, the assumption is that what we publish on BBC Online will become part of a permanently accessible archive. To do anything else risks reducing transparency and damaging trust.

Kudos for the BBC for demonstrating the extent of censorship implied by the EU’s “right to be forgotten. The “right to be forgotten” combines ignorance of technology with eurocentrism at its very worst. Not to mention being futile when directed at a search engine.

Just to get you started, here are the links from the post:

One caveat: when looking through this list it is worth noting that we are not told who has requested the delisting, and we should not leap to conclusions as to who is responsible. The request may not have come from the obvious subject of a story.

May 2015

April 2015

March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

December 2014

November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

August 2014

July 2014

One consequence of this listing is that I will have to follow the BBC blog to catch the new list of deletions, month by month. The writing is always enjoyable but it’s one more thing to track.

The thought does occur to me that analysis of the EU censored pages may reveal patterns of what materials are the most likely subjects of censorship.

In addition to the BBC list, one can imagine a search engine that only indexes EU censored pages. Would ad revenue sustain such an index or would it be pay-per-view?

It would be very ironic if EU censorship resulted in more publicity for people exercising their “right to be forgotten.” Not only ironic, but appropriate at well.

PS: You can follow the BBC Internet Blog on Twitter: @bbcinternetblog.

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