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Right to be forgotten “not workable” says Wikipedia founder

Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia, expressed his doubts regarding the recent EU Right to be Forgotten ruling during his appearance on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday.

The ruling states that any individual has the right to apply to Google to remove search result information that may be “irrelevant, outdated, or otherwise inappropriate”.

Wales, who is an adviser on a panel at Google concerning privacy, said the ruling was “not workable”, mainly because of the internet’s inherent global make-up. So for example, if something is censored in the EU, it won’t be censored in the US. Furthermore, other search engines have not been restricted in the same way. He also expressed his shock at how broad the ruling was and his concerns over the type of data that could be taken down.

When asked about the cost to internet companies and the inevitable rise in legal cases, he responded with warnings over newspaper sites and the damage such a ruling could have on their profits and, more importantly, the effect it may have on the freedom of the press. He further stated the he will “encourage [Google] to be very transparent about what they are no longer linking to”, hopefully negating many of the less favourable aspects of the EU ruling.