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Consumer group asks FTC for the "right to be forgotten" by Google

2015-07-07 10:14 by
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Google's failure to offer U.S. users the ability to request the removal of search engine links from their name to information that is inadequate, irrelevant, no longer relevant, or excessive is an "unfair and deceptive" practice, Consumer Watchdog said in a complaint today to the Federal Trade Commission.

In Europe where the Internet giant has removed 41.3 percent of such links when requested, this is known as the "Right To Be Forgotten." More accurately this ability is the "Right To Relevancy" or "Privacy By Obscurity" for the digital age, said Consumer Watchdog.

Google's recent announcement that it would honor requests to remove links from its search results to so-called "revenge porn" – nude or explicit photos posted without the subject's consent – shows that Google could easily honor Right To Be Forgotten requests in the U.S., Simpson said.

Not offering Americans a basic privacy tool, while providing it to millions of users across Europe, is also an unfair practice, the complaint said. Acts or practices by a business are unfair under Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act if they cause or are likely to cause substantial injury to consumers that consumers cannot reasonably avoid themselves and that is not outweighed by countervailing benefits to consumers or competition.

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