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Jimmy Wales agrees with many ‘right to be forgotten’ sentiments

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has admitted he agrees with many of the sentiments from the controversial “right to be forgotten” ruling, despite having slammed it as “deeply immoral”.

The entrepreneur told Tech City News the European Court of Justice ruling resulted in a “blunt instrument”, but that pushing search engines like Google to “take certain things down” might be feasible with “some kind of public oversight”.

It comes after Wales joined Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Lila Tretikov to deliver a strongly-worded statement against the ruling, at the launch of Wikipedia’s annual Wikimania conference in London.


Wales highlighted that the ECJ’s current ruling forces companies like Google to make decisions on what links are removed, instead of leaving it to public bodies or the courts.

We need some transparency in this process; we need judicial oversight.

Right now, in the current situation, Google’s under pressure to not even tell publishers what they’re doing – I mean, that’s just wrong.

Naming and Shaming

Wales defended Wikimedia’s decision to publish links to Wikipedia that Google has removed, but said he would not support newspapers in naming and shaming individual people.

We don’t want to name and shame anybody.

We do this reluctantly because we think that the public policy point here is incredibly important – that access to newspaper articles, that access to public records is a critical, democratic right.

If we’re going to start tampering with that we need a [much] more serious approach than this.