Google urged to filter breaches of privacy
LONDON: A cross-party UK parliamentary committee has urged the British government to consider introducing legislation that would force Google to censor its search results to block material that a court has found to be in breach of someone`s privacy.
In a report published on Tuesday, the joint House of Commons and House of Lords committee looking into the issue of privacy and free speech said Google should proactively monitor its search results, highlighting evidence given by Max Mosley, the ex-Formula One boss who said he had spent at least 500,000 British pounds in 23 countries attempting to remove traces of a video filmed covertly by the now-defunct News of the World newspaper from the internet.
Google was criticised by the committee for its “totally unconvincing” objection to requests to filter its search results. The search giant argued that such a policy could threaten the unfettered flow of information online.
The committee, which was set up by the British prime minister in May last year, warns against a new privacy law and sets out recommendations for an “enhanced” press regulator.
In its report, the committee reserves its most pointed language for internet companies — such as Google, Facebook and Twitter — which the committee said had presented numerous challenges to the rule of law in the UK.
“Google and other search engines should take steps to ensure that their websites are not used as vehicles to breach the law and should actively develop and use such technology,” the committee said. “We recommend that if legislation is necessary to require them to do so it should be introduced.”
The committee gave a clean bill of health to high court privacy injunctions, but said they should routinely apply to websites such as Twitter and Facebook as well as newspapers. They urged the attorney general to be more willing to launch contempt of court claims against internet users if they are suspected of breaching privacy injunctions online.
By arrangement with the Guardian