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Old 08-11-2011, 12:50 PM   #1
luqmaninbmore
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Google in Fight over "Right to be Forgotten" in Europe

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/10/wo...rgotten&st=cse

This is a difficult one. On the one hand, I can clearly see how the obfuscation of information will be used to benefit the elites and corporations by covering up their crimes. On the other, I can also see this as a push back against the commodification of every thing: every public space, every bit of personal information.

An interesting quote:

"The deputy director of the agency, Jesús Rubí, pointed to the official government gazette, which used to publish every weekday, including bankruptcy auctions, official pardons, and who passed the civil service exams. Usually 220 pages of fine print, it quickly ended up gathering dust on various backroom shelves. The information was still there, but not easily accessible.

Then two years ago, the 350-year-old publication went online, making it possible for embarrassing information — no matter how old — to be obtained easily.

Mr. Rubí said he doubted that anyone meant for the information to haunt citizens forever: “The law obliges us to put this info in the gazette. But I am sure that if the law was written today, lawmakers would say O.K., publish this, but it should not be accessible by a search engine.”
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Old 08-11-2011, 01:43 PM   #2
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If I understand correctly, when Stieg Larsson of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" fame died, his long-term live-in girlfriend was utterly screwed out of book royalties, because she didn't have legal status as his wife. They never legally married because to do so would effectively make their home address a matter of public documentation (on the marriage license), and he regularly received threats from Neo-Nazi groups.

I mention this because this issue of not wanting to be locatable isn't just a Google/Internet issue, although that definitely broadens the scope by a huge factor. It's a major pickle -- you don't want your home address to be easy to locate by someone who wants to do you harm, HOWEVER, if that someone knows your legal name, it's laughably easy to track you down, internet or no internet...
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Old 08-11-2011, 02:10 PM   #3
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I agree with the Europeans, a lot of this stuff is not our business. I shouldn't be able to type in someone's name and get every address and phone number that they've ever had. It's getting out of control.
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Old 08-12-2011, 06:02 AM   #4
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... when Stieg Larsson of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" fame died, his long-term live-in girlfriend was utterly screwed out of book royalties, because she didn't have legal status as his wife.
Of course he could (and should) have simply willed it to her... All that it takes in most jurisdictions is a piece of paper and half an hour of your time.
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Old 08-12-2011, 12:12 PM   #5
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Of course he could (and should) have simply willed it to her... All that it takes in most jurisdictions is a piece of paper and half an hour of your time.
The books didn't take off until after his death -- they hadn't realized he would become an international bestseller. The bulk of the profits have accrued to his estate, which she doesn't have a legal right over -- his family does. They have disenfranchised her, apparently out of greed. It's a rather sad story.

Most people don't will "all profits after my death that are accrued as my intellectual property" specifically to someone because they don't really expect to be a posthumous hit author.
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Old 08-12-2011, 12:31 PM   #6
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Of course he could (and should) have simply willed it to her... All that it takes in most jurisdictions is a piece of paper and half an hour of your time.
However, when he died, his novels were unpublished. He had just been a journalist who wrote in his spare time. For most people, it wouldn't be that big of a deal. He hadn't attempted to get them published until right before he died, wasn't seen as well off in life, so it only became a fight after the money started rolling in posthumously. Also, the will he made when he was 23 was invalidated under the claim it wasn't officially witnessed.
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Old 08-12-2011, 12:34 PM   #7
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However, when he died, his novels were unpublished. He had just been a journalist who wrote in his spare time. For most people, it wouldn't be that big of a deal. He hadn't attempted to get them published until right before he died, wasn't seen as well off in life, so it only became a fight after the money started rolling in posthumously. Also, the will he made when he was 23 was invalidated under the claim it wasn't officially witnessed.
This is another point: wills can and will be contested when massive amounts of money are involved, alas.

But I only bring up Larsson to illustrate the larger point which is that privacy is (unfortunately) really more of a mythic ideal than a realistic option. I think instead of going after Google to remove people, we're going to have to institute stronger protections -- take abusers and threats seriously under the law and prevent employers from firing employees for actions not done on company time, etc.
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Old 08-12-2011, 01:23 PM   #8
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The books didn't take off until after his death -- they hadn't realized he would become an international bestseller.
That's the joy of universal succession, isn't it? It wouldn't matter. Details depend on your jurisdiction, obviously, but if you're married and/or have kids (and made no will to the contrary) the law makes them your heir.

If you're not married, however, the task of naming one (an heir, that is) falls on you. Simply having lived together with someone for some time, especially in countries where common law marriages don't exist, is not sufficient.

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Most people don't will "all profits after my death that are accrued as my intellectual property" specifically to someone because they don't really expect to be a posthumous hit author.
There's no need to. You heir(s jointly) assume(s) the exact same legal position you had at the time of your death. Not that I am intrinsically familiar with Swedish inheritance laws, of course.

The bottom line is this: It might make sense from a purely financial point of view (think death duties), but you don't have to marry somebody in order for them to become your heir.

Last edited by rogue_librarian; 08-12-2011 at 01:25 PM.
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Old 08-12-2011, 02:01 PM   #9
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That's the joy of universal succession, isn't it? It wouldn't matter. Details depend on your jurisdiction, obviously, but if you're married and/or have kids (and made no will to the contrary) the law makes them your heir.

If you're not married, however, the task of naming one (an heir, that is) falls on you. Simply having lived together with someone for some time, especially in countries where common law marriages don't exist, is not sufficient.
Yes. I know that. Larsson knew it. He was neither stupid nor careless. He and his girlfriend (of 30 years) had equitably owned their belongings and they had an "improperly witnessed" will, with the risk of losing a few possessions to his family -- not usually a big deal. They didn't know he was going to be a famous and very rich man once he was dead.

If they weren't married because the marriage license as a public document would have allowed Neo-Nazis to learn their home address, then it stands to reason that they wouldn't have an impregnable will for the same reason. Apparently he DID have a will, but his family went to court and had it broken.

Quote:
Initially it appears that Gabrielsson had no idea just how contentious the battle over the author’s hugely valuable estate would be — Larsson did not make a properly witnessed will, apparently because it would have required putting their address on record — and that Larsson’s father and brother would inherit it.

So incendiary is the dispute now that there have even been moves to change Sweden’s inheritance laws.
http://entertainment.timesonline.co....cle7113874.ece

Also, we're trying to solve the problem of a dead guy when I only brought the example to point out that this privacy issue is bigger than Google.

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Old 08-12-2011, 02:32 PM   #10
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Old 08-12-2011, 03:42 PM   #11
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... they had an "improperly witnessed" will, with the risk of losing a few possessions to his family -- not usually a big deal.
It looks as though you need two witnesses to draw up a Swedish will. That's a shame, of course (in my country you can do it all by yourself, as long as you write it all by yourself, by hand), but not exactly an insurmountable obstacle.

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... it stands to reason that they wouldn't have an impregnable will for the same reason.
I don't see how having two witnesses signing your testament magically gives away your name or address or any other such info, but then I am not a lawyer. Oh, wait, I am, but not a Swedish one it's true, so I rest my case.
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Old 08-12-2011, 04:47 PM   #12
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It looks as though you need two witnesses to draw up a Swedish will. That's a shame, of course (in my country you can do it all by yourself, as long as you write it all by yourself, by hand), but not exactly an insurmountable obstacle.

I don't see how having two witnesses signing your testament magically gives away your name or address or any other such info, but then I am not a lawyer. Oh, wait, I am, but not a Swedish one it's true, so I rest my case.
Now, I may not be totally accurate, but my understanding of the process is that in Sweden when something is witnessed for a legal document, it is entered into public record as proof, and that as part of that record is means of contact for the people involved for verification that they're who they claim to be (so there isn't a bogus witness, or for going after those who bore false witness).
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Old 08-13-2011, 01:46 AM   #13
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Now, I may not be totally accurate, but my understanding of the process is that in Sweden when something is witnessed for a legal document, it is entered into public record as proof, and that as part of that record is means of contact for the people involved for verification that they're who they claim to be (so there isn't a bogus witness, or for going after those who bore false witness).
Yes. This is my understanding -- that is why a legal will was no more an option than a legal marriage license. This is one of the things that people are agitating to change in the law if I understand correctly.
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