2 Weeks ago, the Court of Justice of the European Union decided that, under specific circumstances, one can demand to be deleted from the Google search engine. It’s pretty amazing, isn’t it. The first amazing thing is, of course, the Internet. The name by itself is enough to explain it’s purpose. An international net, a virtual world wide web, that is spun from millions of invisible threads that link together and bring you from one place to another in a heartbeat. When we first started to use it – or better said “surf it”, we couldn’t believe the possibility it offered. Nothing was impossible, nothing was hidden anymore. The world opened itself for us like an oyster, revealing an undiscovered pearl of information. Honestly, when you think about it, what would we do without the Internet today. When students Larry Page and Sergey Pin started to study the mathematical properties of the Web in search of a dissertation theme, they most likely had no idea they stood at the beginnings of the first company that would become not only a virtual navigator, but a verb. And that is the second amazing thing. They founded their company Google in 1998 and housed their first computer in a protective shell of Lego blocks (and now you know where those colors come from). Apparently the World Wide Web was in dire need for a navigator. By the end of the first year Google had 60 million websites in its index, which for its founders, must have been astronomical, but compared to what Google is today, a fact that just makes you smile. The Internet and Google are unmistakably connected (no pun intended). Many even think that the two are one and the same. Though there are other search engines, Google is by far the biggest and most used of them. Everybody googles. We cannot imagine our lives without it. And now, all of a sudden, we think it is not ethical to be included in this network. Now we want out. And so the highest European court has decided that we can. And that is the third amazing thing.
Immediately after the ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union, Google made a form available that one can use to ungoogle oneself. Online of course. Most considerate of them. But just think about it. A company that deals with not just adding an unknown amount of websites every day but also checking and deleting websites because they infringe certain rules, how are they possibly going to deal with all those individual requests. Google deletes yearly 235 million webpages for copyright infringement. 235 million… The process to handle individual requests must be a logistic nightmare. Not to mention that once you are trapped in the web it seems like an impossible task to get out. And frankly, why should you. Let’s face it, the universal laws of privacy have slightly changed, people. Big Brother is no longer watching you. He simply follows every little trail you leave behind with your credit cards, mobile phones and Internet behaviour. Privacy as we once knew it no longer exists. But we got so much in return. Imagine all the white pages, yellow pages and phone directories in the world, together in one large volume and trying to find one simple thing that best addresses your needs. Good luck with that. Today it is just a matter of minutes, seconds even. Google made that happen. Don’t tell me you never googled some information about other people. Or tried to find those you went to school with so long ago. Or planned or responded to and event on Facebook, which is the world’s largest party planner. The world is an open book and everyone plays a role in its story. This is no longer the future. This is the now. So just let is go. Because do you really think that by ungoogling yourself you can hide? Think again. –BM-
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