Wednesday, September 25, 2019

“Google Wins Landmark EU Case Over 'Right to Be Forgotten' - Courthouse News Service” plus 3 more

“Google Wins Landmark EU Case Over 'Right to Be Forgotten' - Courthouse News Service” plus 3 more


Google Wins Landmark EU Case Over 'Right to Be Forgotten' - Courthouse News Service

Posted: 24 Sep 2019 05:24 AM PDT

The Google logo at the company's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

LUXEMBOURG (CN) – Google scored a major overseas victory Tuesday, as Europe's highest court ruled that the "right to be forgotten" online only applies inside the European Union.

The European Court of Justice handed down two rulings in disputes between the internet giant and the CNIL, short for France's Commission for Information Technology and Civil Liberties, over how Google complies with requests for link removals.

In one case, the CNIL ordered Google to delist information from global search results rather than merely within the European Union. Google refused to comply and was fined nearly $110,000, which it appealed.

"It's plain common sense that one country should not have the right to impose its rules on the citizens of another, especially not when it comes to lawful content," Google said in a 2016 blog post.

That case was heard last year in the Court of Justice, where Google was backed by Microsoft, Article 19, the Wikimedia Foundation and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, among others.

On Tuesday, the EU's top court ruled that "there is no obligation under EU law, for a search engine operator who grants a request for de-referencing made by a data subject … to carry out such a de-referencing on all the versions of its search engine."

The court held that the removal of links should apply across the European Union, but need not extend beyond the 28-nation bloc.

Google uses geoblocking to ensure that search results within the EU comply with a 2014 directive giving individuals the right to delete information about them that is no longer relevant.

"French authorities had no right to force their interests on Internet users in other countries, and allowing such worldwide restrictions in the interest of enforcing domestic law would lead many other countries to try to restrict Internet access," the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press said in a statement.

The second case addresses the question of whether Google should, in the public interest, remove sensitive content. The CNIL asked the court to look into four delisting complaints that the agency itself had refused to put to Google.

The websites in question involved a satirical photomontage of a female politician posted online under a pseudonym, an article referring to one of the interested parties as the public relations officer for the Church of Scientology, the announcement of an investigation of a male politician, and the conviction of another interested party for sexual assaults against minors.

In that case, the Court of Justice ruled Tuesday that the "right to the protection of personal data is not an absolute right" and "must be considered in relation to its function in society and be balanced against other fundamental rights."

"Where the operator of a search engine receives a request for de-referencing relating to a link to a web page on which such sensitive data are published, the operator must … [determine] whether the inclusion of that link in the list of results displayed following a search on the basis of the data subject's name is strictly necessary for protecting the freedom of information of internet users potentially interested in accessing that web page by means of such a search," the ruling states.

Google itself reports that it has had 846,327 requests to delist information to date, and around 45% of those are removed from its search results. But Dr. Roxana Radu, a researcher at the University of Oxford who works on internet regulation, said there is very little information "about how Google approaches the right to be forgotten."

Peter Fleischer, Google's senior privacy counsel, said he was happy with the court's decisions.

"Since 2014, we've worked hard to implement the right to be forgotten in Europe, and to strike a sensible balance between people's rights of access to information and privacy," he said in a statement.

These two cases are not the only disputes between CNIL and Google. Early this year, the agency fined Google nearly $55 million for "lack of transparency, inadequate information and lack of valid consent regarding the ads personalization."

Neither of Tuesday's rulings can be appealed.

Google has just been told it doesn't have to apply 'right to be forgotten' globally - INSIDER

Posted: 24 Sep 2019 02:22 AM PDT

  • Europe's highest court sided with Google in a landmark case Tuesday, ruling that the tech giant did not have to apply the "right to be forgotten" policy globally.
  • The decision came after a long and messy battle between Google and France's data-protection agency CNIL, which sought to make the policy globally applicable.
  • "Right to be forgotten" is the idea that private citizens can ask companies or websites to take down certain material about them that is considered to be "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive." It means people can ask Google to scrub search results containing sensitive information or details of their past crimes.
  • While supporters of privacy rights say "right to be forgotten" is an important tool to protect people online, Google argued that expanding this globally would impinge on freedom of speech.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Europe's highest court sided with Google in a landmark case Tuesday, ruling that the tech giant did not have to apply the "right to be forgotten" policy globally.

The ruling means Google has to scrub search results only from its European service when requested and not globally.

"Right to be forgotten" is the idea that private citizens can ask companies or websites to take down certain material about them that is considered to be "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive." The idea rose to prominence in 2014 when the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that individuals had the right to ask search engines, such as Google, to delist certain results about them.

The policy means Google must delete search results about people's personal information or their past crimes if requested. But it had applied only in Europe.

In 2015, France's data-protection agency CNIL ordered Google to remove global search listings of pages containing damaging or false information about a person. Google resisted, and the two parties have been wrapped up in a messy battle ever since.

Read more: Google is fighting a big, messy battle over whether expanding the 'right to be forgotten' amounts to censorship

While supporters of privacy rights say the right to be forgotten is an important tool to protect people online, Google argued that expanding this globally would impinge on freedom of speech.

On Tuesday, the European Court of Justice sided with Google. "There is no obligation under EU law, for a search engine operator who grants a request for de-referencing made by a data subject, as the case may be, following an injunction from a supervisory or judicial authority of a Member State, to carry out such a de-referencing on all the versions of its search engine," it said in a press release on Tuesday.

Peter Fleischer, the senior privacy counsel at Google, said: "Since 2014, we've worked hard to implement the right to be forgotten in Europe, and to strike a sensible balance between people's rights of access to information and privacy.

"It's good to see that the court agreed with our arguments, and we're grateful to the independent human-rights organizations, media associations, and many others around the world who also presented their views to the court."

Activists heralded the ruling as a victory for free speech.

Thomas Hughes, the executive director for the campaign group Article 19, said in a statement: "This ruling is a victory for global freedom of expression. Courts or data regulators in the UK, France, or Germany should not be able to determine the search results that internet users in America, India, or Argentina get to see.

"The court is right to state that the balance between privacy and free speech should be taken into account when deciding if websites should be de-listed — and also to recognize that this balance may vary around the world. It is not right that one country's data-protection authorities can impose their interpretation on internet users around the world."

The Problem With the State-Level Investigation of Google - The Atlantic

Posted: 24 Sep 2019 03:00 AM PDT

The battlefield is getting crowded. European antitrust enforcers have been fighting America's tech giants for years. In the U.S., both the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission are headed for the sound of the guns. And now the states have entered the fray. On September 9, 2019, 48 state attorneys general, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, launched an investigation into Google's potential violations of antitrust laws.

The revolution in high tech is confronting liberal democracies with some of the most difficult public-policy challenges since the Industrial Revolution, and the dawn of artificial intelligence promises far more to come. Antitrust enforcement will remain an important tool—particularly for protection against certain horizontal restraints on trade, such as price-fixing cartels. But in the current global free-for-all of antitrust enforcement against American's tech giants, how much good can state officials in the U.S. reasonably do? The answer is: for the public, not much, but for themselves, quite a lot.

A compelling antitrust case against Google might focus on one or two specific business practices that might constitute a restraint on trade under Section 1 of the Sherman Act. But an oceanwide fishing expedition for evidence of potential monopolization under Section 2 of the act will quickly become mired in a complicated economic analysis of supply chains that are changing by the day. And as the states' subpoena makes clear, they're pursuing the latter approach—focusing on Google's behavior in the market for online advertising.

A state case for showing that Google is guilty of monopolization will have to establish that Google has "monopoly power in the relevant market," and that it willfully acquired or maintained that power "as distinguished from growth or development as a consequence of a superior product, business acumen, or historic accident," under the precedent established by the Supreme Court in U.S. v. Grinnell Corp. in 1966.

A market analysis produced by Plum Consulting, in the U.K., that's largely critical of Google argues that defining the relevant market for online advertising is difficult for several reasons. First, these markets are multisided: Is the relevant market the market for advertisers, or is it the market for publishers that stand on the other side of Google's intermediation? Second, there are lots of different market segments, and they all overlap. Third, and most important, the market structure itself is changing at rapid speed.

Google has achieved astonishing success in both the web-browser and search-engine sectors. The firm controls well over 90 percent of global search-engine traffic, with much of the rest divided between Microsoft's Bing and Verizon's Yahoo. But nothing guarantees that Google will be able to maintain this position indefinitely, or even for very long. Already in the U.S., Amazon, with its treasure trove of high-quality data, has overtaken both Microsoft and Verizon in online advertising, and could rapidly become a compelling alternative to Google.

Has Google engaged in anticompetitive practices to achieve or maintain its monopoly position? It could theoretically do so in several ways, according to the Plum report, including by using network effects, economies of scale and scope, vertical integration, and data access to exclude competitors. But in each of these cases, as the Plum report concedes, the potential for abuse exists alongside enormous benefits to the public. For example, the public prefers a network with more advertisers and publishers on it, an example of a clearly beneficial network effect. Meanwhile publishers and advertisers are able to reach their target markets more easily and accurately, which means much greater bang for the buck. And paradoxically, the reduced transmission of raw data among different firms means that privacy and security may be more easily and accountably maintained by a Google than by multiple firms in a more fractured market.

As the famous antitrust cases against IBM and AT&T demonstrated, investigations of the dreaded monopoly power take little account of the technology industry's actual history, which in the modern era has been one of relentless disruptive innovation. The answer to Microsoft's supposedly fearsome "tying arrangement" of Internet Explorer to Windows was not antitrust litigation, but rather a disruptive innovation in the combination of search and browser, as Google soon showed. Netscape must be kicking itself.

Antitrust law consistently produces the very losses that it imagines it's protecting the public from. Consider this classic example from Robert Bork's 1978 book, The Antitrust Paradox. The basic danger of monopolies (and cartels) is that they may use their market power to reduce output and raise prices, thereby capturing profits well above competitive levels and imposing unfair losses on the public. Now suppose that through efficiency and innovation, a supplier of widgets has achieved 90 percent market share, and antitrust enforcers impose a settlement whereby no competitor in that market will be allowed to achieve more than 50 percent market share. Suppose the settlement is implemented, and the same efficiencies and innovations set in, and one of the competitors starts to approach market dominance. To avoid crossing the 50 percent threshold, it would have to reduce output. As a result, in a market cartelized by government action, prices must rise. Antitrust enforcement thereby creates, in the place of an imaginary monopolizer, a very real price-fixing cartel, and a price-fixing cartel of the worst kind: one whose otherwise-ephemeral cartel discipline is enforced by the government's own antitrust enforcers.

Those problems are daunting enough at the federal level, where antitrust enforcers at the FTC and Justice Department have acquired a respectable level of expertise. State antitrust enforcers, on the other hand, face all those problems with far less expertise—and infinitely greater incentives for opportunism.

State officials routinely use antitrust enforcement to shield their favored constituents from interstate competition. That is the long and dreary history of state attorney general investigations of proposed mergers inside their jurisdictions. They may not have any idea whether the proposed merger will benefit the public in the long run. But they know what their major campaign donors and key constituents want.

It's no accident that California and Alabama are the only two states that didn't join the Texas investigation. Alabama has bent over backwards to attract companies like Google, which recently built a large new data center there. As for California, if it wasn't home to Google's headquarters, it would almost certainly be leading this latest charge. California is one of the states most adept at shielding in-state producers from competition. The 1943 antitrust case of Parker v. Brown, which created an ill-advised exception to the Sherman Act for monopolies and cartels protected by state governments, upheld a California law that inflated its raisin producers' profits by foisting higher prices on consumers outside the state. (At the time, California produced 95 percent of the country's raisins.)

The second and even more licentious problem of state antitrust enforcement is that state AGs sometimes use litigation to shake down private industry for enormous amounts of cash, and the losses get passed on to consumers. The classic example is the 1990s tobacco settlement. In that case, the major tobacco companies agreed to restrict tobacco production, raise cigarette prices, and pass hundreds of billions of dollars to state coffers, so long as the states agreed to protect the newly minted cartel. The settlement, the George Mason University professor Michael Greve has argued, created "a national de facto tax, in excess of a quarter trillion dollars, that no legislator, state or federal, ever voted on," a tax that has been paid for almost entirely by consumers. The tobacco companies, meanwhile, made out like bandits.

The states' move against Google could benefit state officials enormously. Whether it will benefit anyone else is the paradox of Paxton's crusade.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.

Google Wins EU Court Fight Making It Harder to Be Forgotten - Bloomberg

Posted: 24 Sep 2019 12:53 AM PDT

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Google Wins EU Court Fight Making It Harder to Be Forgotten  Bloomberg

Google won a European Union court battle against plans to impose a global "right to be forgotten" in the latest landmark ruling over where to draw the line ...

“Google Wins Landmark EU Case Over 'Right to Be Forgotten' - Courthouse News Service” plus 3 more


Google Wins Landmark EU Case Over 'Right to Be Forgotten' - Courthouse News Service

Posted: 24 Sep 2019 05:24 AM PDT

The Google logo at the company's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

LUXEMBOURG (CN) – Google scored a major overseas victory Tuesday, as Europe's highest court ruled that the "right to be forgotten" online only applies inside the European Union.

The European Court of Justice handed down two rulings in disputes between the internet giant and the CNIL, short for France's Commission for Information Technology and Civil Liberties, over how Google complies with requests for link removals.

In one case, the CNIL ordered Google to delist information from global search results rather than merely within the European Union. Google refused to comply and was fined nearly $110,000, which it appealed.

"It's plain common sense that one country should not have the right to impose its rules on the citizens of another, especially not when it comes to lawful content," Google said in a 2016 blog post.

That case was heard last year in the Court of Justice, where Google was backed by Microsoft, Article 19, the Wikimedia Foundation and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, among others.

On Tuesday, the EU's top court ruled that "there is no obligation under EU law, for a search engine operator who grants a request for de-referencing made by a data subject … to carry out such a de-referencing on all the versions of its search engine."

The court held that the removal of links should apply across the European Union, but need not extend beyond the 28-nation bloc.

Google uses geoblocking to ensure that search results within the EU comply with a 2014 directive giving individuals the right to delete information about them that is no longer relevant.

"French authorities had no right to force their interests on Internet users in other countries, and allowing such worldwide restrictions in the interest of enforcing domestic law would lead many other countries to try to restrict Internet access," the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press said in a statement.

The second case addresses the question of whether Google should, in the public interest, remove sensitive content. The CNIL asked the court to look into four delisting complaints that the agency itself had refused to put to Google.

The websites in question involved a satirical photomontage of a female politician posted online under a pseudonym, an article referring to one of the interested parties as the public relations officer for the Church of Scientology, the announcement of an investigation of a male politician, and the conviction of another interested party for sexual assaults against minors.

In that case, the Court of Justice ruled Tuesday that the "right to the protection of personal data is not an absolute right" and "must be considered in relation to its function in society and be balanced against other fundamental rights."

"Where the operator of a search engine receives a request for de-referencing relating to a link to a web page on which such sensitive data are published, the operator must … [determine] whether the inclusion of that link in the list of results displayed following a search on the basis of the data subject's name is strictly necessary for protecting the freedom of information of internet users potentially interested in accessing that web page by means of such a search," the ruling states.

Google itself reports that it has had 846,327 requests to delist information to date, and around 45% of those are removed from its search results. But Dr. Roxana Radu, a researcher at the University of Oxford who works on internet regulation, said there is very little information "about how Google approaches the right to be forgotten."

Peter Fleischer, Google's senior privacy counsel, said he was happy with the court's decisions.

"Since 2014, we've worked hard to implement the right to be forgotten in Europe, and to strike a sensible balance between people's rights of access to information and privacy," he said in a statement.

These two cases are not the only disputes between CNIL and Google. Early this year, the agency fined Google nearly $55 million for "lack of transparency, inadequate information and lack of valid consent regarding the ads personalization."

Neither of Tuesday's rulings can be appealed.

Google has just been told it doesn't have to apply 'right to be forgotten' globally - INSIDER

Posted: 24 Sep 2019 02:22 AM PDT

  • Europe's highest court sided with Google in a landmark case Tuesday, ruling that the tech giant did not have to apply the "right to be forgotten" policy globally.
  • The decision came after a long and messy battle between Google and France's data-protection agency CNIL, which sought to make the policy globally applicable.
  • "Right to be forgotten" is the idea that private citizens can ask companies or websites to take down certain material about them that is considered to be "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive." It means people can ask Google to scrub search results containing sensitive information or details of their past crimes.
  • While supporters of privacy rights say "right to be forgotten" is an important tool to protect people online, Google argued that expanding this globally would impinge on freedom of speech.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Europe's highest court sided with Google in a landmark case Tuesday, ruling that the tech giant did not have to apply the "right to be forgotten" policy globally.

The ruling means Google has to scrub search results only from its European service when requested and not globally.

"Right to be forgotten" is the idea that private citizens can ask companies or websites to take down certain material about them that is considered to be "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive." The idea rose to prominence in 2014 when the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that individuals had the right to ask search engines, such as Google, to delist certain results about them.

The policy means Google must delete search results about people's personal information or their past crimes if requested. But it had applied only in Europe.

In 2015, France's data-protection agency CNIL ordered Google to remove global search listings of pages containing damaging or false information about a person. Google resisted, and the two parties have been wrapped up in a messy battle ever since.

Read more: Google is fighting a big, messy battle over whether expanding the 'right to be forgotten' amounts to censorship

While supporters of privacy rights say the right to be forgotten is an important tool to protect people online, Google argued that expanding this globally would impinge on freedom of speech.

On Tuesday, the European Court of Justice sided with Google. "There is no obligation under EU law, for a search engine operator who grants a request for de-referencing made by a data subject, as the case may be, following an injunction from a supervisory or judicial authority of a Member State, to carry out such a de-referencing on all the versions of its search engine," it said in a press release on Tuesday.

Peter Fleischer, the senior privacy counsel at Google, said: "Since 2014, we've worked hard to implement the right to be forgotten in Europe, and to strike a sensible balance between people's rights of access to information and privacy.

"It's good to see that the court agreed with our arguments, and we're grateful to the independent human-rights organizations, media associations, and many others around the world who also presented their views to the court."

Activists heralded the ruling as a victory for free speech.

Thomas Hughes, the executive director for the campaign group Article 19, said in a statement: "This ruling is a victory for global freedom of expression. Courts or data regulators in the UK, France, or Germany should not be able to determine the search results that internet users in America, India, or Argentina get to see.

"The court is right to state that the balance between privacy and free speech should be taken into account when deciding if websites should be de-listed — and also to recognize that this balance may vary around the world. It is not right that one country's data-protection authorities can impose their interpretation on internet users around the world."

The Problem With the State-Level Investigation of Google - The Atlantic

Posted: 24 Sep 2019 03:00 AM PDT

The battlefield is getting crowded. European antitrust enforcers have been fighting America's tech giants for years. In the U.S., both the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission are headed for the sound of the guns. And now the states have entered the fray. On September 9, 2019, 48 state attorneys general, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, launched an investigation into Google's potential violations of antitrust laws.

The revolution in high tech is confronting liberal democracies with some of the most difficult public-policy challenges since the Industrial Revolution, and the dawn of artificial intelligence promises far more to come. Antitrust enforcement will remain an important tool—particularly for protection against certain horizontal restraints on trade, such as price-fixing cartels. But in the current global free-for-all of antitrust enforcement against American's tech giants, how much good can state officials in the U.S. reasonably do? The answer is: for the public, not much, but for themselves, quite a lot.

A compelling antitrust case against Google might focus on one or two specific business practices that might constitute a restraint on trade under Section 1 of the Sherman Act. But an oceanwide fishing expedition for evidence of potential monopolization under Section 2 of the act will quickly become mired in a complicated economic analysis of supply chains that are changing by the day. And as the states' subpoena makes clear, they're pursuing the latter approach—focusing on Google's behavior in the market for online advertising.

A state case for showing that Google is guilty of monopolization will have to establish that Google has "monopoly power in the relevant market," and that it willfully acquired or maintained that power "as distinguished from growth or development as a consequence of a superior product, business acumen, or historic accident," under the precedent established by the Supreme Court in U.S. v. Grinnell Corp. in 1966.

A market analysis produced by Plum Consulting, in the U.K., that's largely critical of Google argues that defining the relevant market for online advertising is difficult for several reasons. First, these markets are multisided: Is the relevant market the market for advertisers, or is it the market for publishers that stand on the other side of Google's intermediation? Second, there are lots of different market segments, and they all overlap. Third, and most important, the market structure itself is changing at rapid speed.

Google has achieved astonishing success in both the web-browser and search-engine sectors. The firm controls well over 90 percent of global search-engine traffic, with much of the rest divided between Microsoft's Bing and Verizon's Yahoo. But nothing guarantees that Google will be able to maintain this position indefinitely, or even for very long. Already in the U.S., Amazon, with its treasure trove of high-quality data, has overtaken both Microsoft and Verizon in online advertising, and could rapidly become a compelling alternative to Google.

Has Google engaged in anticompetitive practices to achieve or maintain its monopoly position? It could theoretically do so in several ways, according to the Plum report, including by using network effects, economies of scale and scope, vertical integration, and data access to exclude competitors. But in each of these cases, as the Plum report concedes, the potential for abuse exists alongside enormous benefits to the public. For example, the public prefers a network with more advertisers and publishers on it, an example of a clearly beneficial network effect. Meanwhile publishers and advertisers are able to reach their target markets more easily and accurately, which means much greater bang for the buck. And paradoxically, the reduced transmission of raw data among different firms means that privacy and security may be more easily and accountably maintained by a Google than by multiple firms in a more fractured market.

As the famous antitrust cases against IBM and AT&T demonstrated, investigations of the dreaded monopoly power take little account of the technology industry's actual history, which in the modern era has been one of relentless disruptive innovation. The answer to Microsoft's supposedly fearsome "tying arrangement" of Internet Explorer to Windows was not antitrust litigation, but rather a disruptive innovation in the combination of search and browser, as Google soon showed. Netscape must be kicking itself.

Antitrust law consistently produces the very losses that it imagines it's protecting the public from. Consider this classic example from Robert Bork's 1978 book, The Antitrust Paradox. The basic danger of monopolies (and cartels) is that they may use their market power to reduce output and raise prices, thereby capturing profits well above competitive levels and imposing unfair losses on the public. Now suppose that through efficiency and innovation, a supplier of widgets has achieved 90 percent market share, and antitrust enforcers impose a settlement whereby no competitor in that market will be allowed to achieve more than 50 percent market share. Suppose the settlement is implemented, and the same efficiencies and innovations set in, and one of the competitors starts to approach market dominance. To avoid crossing the 50 percent threshold, it would have to reduce output. As a result, in a market cartelized by government action, prices must rise. Antitrust enforcement thereby creates, in the place of an imaginary monopolizer, a very real price-fixing cartel, and a price-fixing cartel of the worst kind: one whose otherwise-ephemeral cartel discipline is enforced by the government's own antitrust enforcers.

Those problems are daunting enough at the federal level, where antitrust enforcers at the FTC and Justice Department have acquired a respectable level of expertise. State antitrust enforcers, on the other hand, face all those problems with far less expertise—and infinitely greater incentives for opportunism.

State officials routinely use antitrust enforcement to shield their favored constituents from interstate competition. That is the long and dreary history of state attorney general investigations of proposed mergers inside their jurisdictions. They may not have any idea whether the proposed merger will benefit the public in the long run. But they know what their major campaign donors and key constituents want.

It's no accident that California and Alabama are the only two states that didn't join the Texas investigation. Alabama has bent over backwards to attract companies like Google, which recently built a large new data center there. As for California, if it wasn't home to Google's headquarters, it would almost certainly be leading this latest charge. California is one of the states most adept at shielding in-state producers from competition. The 1943 antitrust case of Parker v. Brown, which created an ill-advised exception to the Sherman Act for monopolies and cartels protected by state governments, upheld a California law that inflated its raisin producers' profits by foisting higher prices on consumers outside the state. (At the time, California produced 95 percent of the country's raisins.)

The second and even more licentious problem of state antitrust enforcement is that state AGs sometimes use litigation to shake down private industry for enormous amounts of cash, and the losses get passed on to consumers. The classic example is the 1990s tobacco settlement. In that case, the major tobacco companies agreed to restrict tobacco production, raise cigarette prices, and pass hundreds of billions of dollars to state coffers, so long as the states agreed to protect the newly minted cartel. The settlement, the George Mason University professor Michael Greve has argued, created "a national de facto tax, in excess of a quarter trillion dollars, that no legislator, state or federal, ever voted on," a tax that has been paid for almost entirely by consumers. The tobacco companies, meanwhile, made out like bandits.

The states' move against Google could benefit state officials enormously. Whether it will benefit anyone else is the paradox of Paxton's crusade.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.

Google Wins EU Court Fight Making It Harder to Be Forgotten - Bloomberg

Posted: 24 Sep 2019 12:53 AM PDT

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Google Wins EU Court Fight Making It Harder to Be Forgotten  Bloomberg

Google won a European Union court battle against plans to impose a global "right to be forgotten" in the latest landmark ruling over where to draw the line ...

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