UK MPs slam Google in privacy report

As we expected a committee of MPs has ordered Google to introduce an algorithm to remove search links found to be in breach of privacy – or face legislation.

The cross-party committee turned out to be jolly cross when a race-car boss moaned about the difficulty he faced in getting a video of him in fancy dress removed from the internet.

Google had told the committee it was not its job to monitor net content. However, the miffed party committee said that argument didn’t hold up. 

The report was penned by a committee of MPs and peers and was commissioned by the government to look into privacy and free speech after a series of high profile super-injunctions last year.

The report said that online firms needed to be brought in line with offline media when it comes to court injunctions.

After all, if a court gives an MP an injunction for using expenses to build himself a nice duck pond there is little point if it is ignored by the online media.

The report said that courts should be proactive in directing the claimant to serve notice on internet content platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. But it was Google that got the rubber hoses of MP’s attention.

The report said that when an individual has obtained a court order that certain material infringes their privacy and so should not be published, it was wrong that they should have to return to court repeatedly in order to remove the same material from internet searches.

Google had argued that while it could create algorithms to filter such results in the future, it was not desirable for it to proactively monitor the net.

However, the committee backed Mosley and said that 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.

If the search engine did not pull its finger then Parliament would write a law to force them to do so.

Google told the BBC that it could not see what all the trouble was about as Google “already removes specific pages deemed unlawful by the courts.”