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Want To Go Off The Grid? Check Out New Feature From Google

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Yeah, I know, the words ‘Google,’ and ‘off the grid’ don’t really sound right together; but it’s happening, and we should be concerned.

What’s The Deal?

There’s no word on when, or if, this would ever hit the United States but it is happening now in the European Union.

Google has launched an online tool that allows people to request to be ‘forgotten’ from search results. Since they launched this service, in the first 12 hours they received more than 12,000 requests from users wanting to go off the grid.

 

Sounds Great! Why Are They Doing This?

This is a result of a European Court Justice ruling that found EU citizens have a ‘right to be forgotten’ online. This means Google has to remove links to search results that are ‘inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive in relation to the purposes for which they were processed.’

In other words, results that could damage a person’s reputation have to be removed. Am I the only one who is thinking about all those party pics that I put on Facebook in my early 20s?

 

Wait, Is It Really Possible To Go Off The Grid?

Well, for starters these search results are only being removed from European version of Google. Plus, who’s to say they won’t pop up somewhere else?

Mashable had an interesting editorial about how the internet never forgets. Read that here.

 

How about Google? What do they have to say?

In an interview with The Financial Times, CEO Larry Page expressed his concerns with regulating the internet, explaining it could hurt innovation. He explained that online censorship could be used negatively by other governments.

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

In other words, to quote the cliche`, it’s a slippery slope.

I for one would LOVE to have all the stuff from my early 20s wiped clean from the internet. I was at a very stupid age when sharing/ posting everything started up. I recently came across my old MySpace page from when I was 21, and immediately wanted to slam my head into my desk.

I look at this story about Justin Bieber that popped up on our parent site PopCrush. It features a video of him being a little ignorant racist when he was 15. He’s 20 now, yes he’s a HUGE d-bag, but can we really come down on him for something he said when he was 15? This is what this censorship is about, removing search results that are no longer relevant.

 

How Can This Be A Bad Thing?

With that said, I agree with Larry Page, we have to be careful with this. Print is struggling and network/ cable news has become a joke (I mean come on, I don’t turn the news on to see a viral video, that’s our job!) If I want a real, hard hitting story in 2014, I have to find a source online. A source that’s not swayed by money or a political agenda. The last thing we need is censorship to get in the way of good journalism.

 

I Know There’s A Moral To The Story

‘You want to be forgotten online? Don’t post anything you’ll regret later’ -Mashable

 

Final Thoughts

I would look at this as more of a positive if government didn’t get involved. It sounds like the EU means well with this. They are protecting their citizens. It’s the bigger picture that gets a bit more scary.

It comes down to us taking personal responsibility for what is posted online.

I guess if someone comes across that pic of me slamming that 40 ounce of Bud Light, in a sleeveless shirt at Michigan International Speedway when I was 22, it won’t be the end of the world.

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