elasto wrote:You are talking about US laws. Pretty obviously we are talking here about European laws and, not only are the laws different, as cultures we have quite different priorities.
Yes, I was referring to US law there. I had said as much, but then I deleted the line...
Obviously the US and Europe have different laws here, however it is still relevant to discuss what the right
laws are. And in this case the EU is clearly in the wrong, they are effectively trying to legislate the weather. It's not simply a matter of priorities, they are legislating something that is unenforceable, but will be expensive for the affected companies to (attempt to) comply, will be open for flagrant abuse, and will make it more difficult for the average citizen to access information that is public.
In the US
Afaik anyone can walk into a court and discover the name of the rape victim. So it is 'public knowledge'. However it is disallowed for that information to be disseminated.
, I don't know if a rape victims name is necessarily disclosed publicly in court (it is possible to have private court sessions). The media as a matter of courtesy
does not usually publish the names of rape victims, but the Supreme Court has repeatedly struck down laws that mandate this.
Likewise, if a minor commits a criminal act, enough people may know about it that it is 'public knowledge'. However they are not allowed to disseminate it. In all cases we are talking about a level of knowledge something in between public and private, which used to be manageable, but in this post-search world is much less so.
Whereby "manageable" you mean that wealthy people or organizations could afford access, but the average citizen could not. The internet has brought equality to this area, this is a Good Thing. If you find the current situation unacceptable, then it has always been unacceptable, you just didn't realize it. But instead of trying to rollback the clock to an even more flawed system, fix the system.
elasto wrote:In the case of financial, medical or criminal matters, there is a reason why there are highly controlled databases which people are forced to seek information through: And one of those reasons is it allows the controlled expiry of information once the probability of it causing unfair prejudice outweighs its usefulness.
Right, because that information is private. The databases are tightly controlled in order to keep it private.
No it's not. Bankruptcy information is published - deliberately so so that any party owed money can come forward. But after a period of time it is expunged from the record: For example, banks are no longer allowed to consider it. It was public but then it becomes private. If they can do a discrete Googling then all checks and balances to ensure fairness become pointless.
Bankruptcies are a matter of public record, yes. But most financial information is not. In the US you have to give permission for someone to access your credit report. You can't just go to the credit agencies and ask for some random person's credit history. Bank information is private. Taxes are also private (I believe), unless you're a publicly traded corporation.
Medical information is private, though I believe doctors may be able to access it in emergencies without your permission. But they need a legitimate reason.
Criminal records are public, in the US.
IANAL, so I'm not a hundred percent sure on any of this, but it's my understanding. The key point though is that once something has been made public it cannot be made private again, and no amount of legislation in the world can change that. The best you can do is legislate that the information cannot be used for certain purposes, ex: Bankruptcies more than 10 years old are still public information, but cannot be considered for evaluating credit risk (I think this would be a bad law, btw, but it is realistic and much more enforceable).