European lawmakers changing the rules for internet search engines

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP)–Lawmakers in Europe are changing the rules for internet search engines. 22News found out what kind a of affect that is having and how people here in Western Massachusetts are reacting to it.

If you “Googled” your name do you know what would show up? Now, Europe’s highest court has decided that people there can have some say over those search engine results.

“Would I want to control that? Yes, I’d be very interested in being able to do that. I’d like that ability,”     Greg White, from Northampton, said in reaction to having that kind of a law here in the states.

Here’s how it works, when you type in your name into a search engine site, like Google, as list of links to other websites your name or your picture is on will show up.  But under Europe’s new law, if someone doesn’t like what links pop up under their name, they can request to have those taken down and the search engine has to comply.

Those who oppose the law argue that could lead to online censorship and encourage ex-convicts to delete things like newspaper articles about their past arrest or give political candidates a way to wipe their past clean.

But others, like internet user Gabrielle Chait, say having a law like that in the states could be beneficial to get rid of information on the internet that may not be accurate.

“For at least a personal privacy standpoint. Everyone should be able to have the agency to control what others see especially if some of that information might not be totally true,” Chait said.

Europe’s new law applies to all search engines in that region, and has no immediate impact on the way the search engines show their results in countries outside of Europe.

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