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Technoprogressive? BioConservative? Huh?
Quick overview of biopolitical points of view

whats new at ieet

IEET Fellow Evan Selinger, referenced in New York Times

What is Transhumanism? – the 3 Supers

Beyond The People’s Climate March

Multitask Humanoid Control with a Brain-Computer Interface

Cell-mediated Delivery of Nanoformulated Antioxidants for Treatment of Neurodegenerative Disorders

Transhumanism - Considering Ideas From Existentialism and Religion

ieet books

A History of Life-Extensionism in the Twentieth Century
Ilia Stambler

Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies
Nick Bostrom

Virtually Human: The Promise—-and the Peril—-of Digital Immortality
Martine Rothblatt

Intelligence Unbound: The Future of Uploaded and Machine Minds
Russell Blackford and Damien Broderick eds.


instamatic on 'Is Anarchy (as in Anarchism) the Golden Mean of the future?' (Sep 17, 2014)

instamatic on 'Transhumanism - Considering Ideas From Existentialism and Religion' (Sep 17, 2014)

spud100 on 'Transhumanism - Considering Ideas From Existentialism and Religion' (Sep 16, 2014)

dobermanmac on 'Can Brain Implants Make Us Smarter?' (Sep 15, 2014)

dobermanmac on 'Genetically Engineered Ethical Super Babies?' (Sep 15, 2014)

ANB2015 on 'MMR Vaccines and Autism: Bringing clarity to the CDC Whistleblower Story' (Sep 14, 2014)

PhilOsborn on 'Do Cognitive Enhancing Drugs Actually Work?' (Sep 13, 2014)

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Transhumanism and Marxism: Philosophical Connections

Sex Work, Technological Unemployment and the Basic Income Guarantee

Technological Unemployment but Still a Lot of Work…

Hottest Articles of the Last Month

Enhancing Virtues: Self-Control and Mindfulness
Aug 19, 2014
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Enhancing Virtues: Caring (part 1)
Aug 29, 2014
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An open source future for synthetic biology
Sep 9, 2014
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On Steven Pinker’s “The Better Angels of our Nature”
Aug 31, 2014
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IEET Fellow Evan Selinger, referenced in New York Times

New York Times

The NY Times picked up on IEET Fellow Evan Selinger’s concerns over the cognitive and characterological downside to using predictive consumer technology, including the new form of texting available on Apple’s iOS8.

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What is Transhumanism? – the 3 Supers

Adam Ford
Three dominant areas of Transhumanism: Super Intelligence, Super Longevity and Super Well-Being.

Within each of the three areas the main intuitions surrounding each area are swiftly brought forward and examined – so, for example, the fact that ageing kills 100,000 people every day yet it is seen as justified and natural, unlike any other killer of this magnitude.


On Super Wellbeing

David Pearce’s main focus is Super Well-being (or Superhappiness).

"there is nothing to stop intelligent agents from identifying the molecular signature of experience below hedonic zero and eliminating it altogether — even in insects…I tentatively predict that the world’s last unpleasant experience in our forward light-cone will be a precisely datable event — perhaps some micro-pain in an obscure marine invertebrate a few centuries hence." - David Pearce
"If we get things right, the future of life in the universe can be wonderful beyond the bounds of human imagination: a “triple S” civilisation of superlongevity, superintelligence and superhappiness." - David Pearce

On Super Intelligence

"Even if one cares most passionately about one of the other two “supers”, superlongevity and superhappiness might not best yield to direct attack. Full-spectrum superintelligence could potentially deliver both. For what it’s worth, I’m much more cautious about the prospect of digital sentience (and hence the possibility of mind-uploading) than most of my transhumanist colleagues owing to the phenomenal binding problem.

Needles to say, I could be hopelessly wrong." - David Pearce


This was the topic of a popular video on Transhumanism released by BIOPS last year.

“Humanity is in an increasingly symbiotic relationship with technology. As it becomes more central to our daily lives, technology is having an ever-greater effect on the human condition, and this trend seems set to continue. Careful consideration and informed debate on a societal scale is essential, as the risks may well outweigh the rewards. We exist to bring that conversation about sooner, rather than too late.” - Biops

Transhumanism (abbreviated as H+ or h+) is an international cultural and intellectual movement with an eventual goal of fundamentally transforming the human condition by developing and making widely available technologies to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities. Transhumanist thinkers study the potential benefits and dangers of emerging technologies that could overcome fundamental human limitations, as well as the ethics of developing and using such technologies. They speculate that human beings may eventually be able to transform themselves into beings with such greatly expanded abilities as to merit the label “posthuman”.

David Pearce (born 3 April) is a British philosopher. He promotes the idea that there exists a strong ethical imperative for humans to work towards the abolition of suffering in all sentient life. His book-length internet manifesto The Hedonistic Imperative outlines how technologies such as genetic engineering, nanotechnology, pharmacology, and neurosurgery could potentially converge to eliminate all forms of unpleasant experience among human and non-human animals, replacing suffering with gradients of well-being, a project he refers to as “paradise engineering”.

“Humanity is in an increasingly symbiotic relationship with technology. As it becomes more central to our daily lives, technology is having an ever-greater effect on the human condition, and this trend seems set to continue. Careful consideration and informed debate on a societal scale is essential, as the risks may well outweigh the rewards. We exist to bring that conversation about sooner, rather than too late.” - David Pearce

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Science, Technology & the Future:


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Beyond The People’s Climate March

Dennis Trainor, Jr

Dennis Trainor, Jr. of Acronym TV in conversation with Timeka Drew, a grassroots organizer with the Global Climate Convergence. In one week the Peoples Climate March in New York, organized by, is expected to draw as many as 200,000 people. The march is to take place only days before a special UN meeting called by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to discuss the November 2015 U.N. Climate Conference in Paris. Christopher Hedges has called this march a “last gasp of climate change liberals;” and “a climate themed street fair.” Our only hope, according to Hedges, “comes from radical groups descending on New York to carry out direct action, including Global Climate Convergence and Popular Resistance.”

Climate march,, People’s Climate March, Climate change, Global warming, Extreme weather, Global Climate Convergence, Timeka Drew, Dennis Trainor Jr, ATV, Acronym TV, 2014 elections, U.S. Elections, System Change not climate change,

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Multitask Humanoid Control with a Brain-Computer Interface


We present our approach to design a brain-computer interface (BCI) that allows the user to perform multitask humanoid control. We efficiently integrate techniques from computer vision and the task-function based control together with the brain-computer interface into an immersive and intuitive control application despite the well-known shortcomings of BCI. This approach is assessed in a user experiment involving 4 subjects who successfully controlled the HRP-2 humanoid robot in a scenario involving both grasping tasks and steering. The user experiences and the interface performances are presented and give a rich insight into future research that can be made to improve and extend such interface.

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Cell-mediated Delivery of Nanoformulated Antioxidants for Treatment of Neurodegenerative Disorders

Winthrop Rockefeller Institute

Elena V. Batrakova talks about “Cell-mediated Delivery of Nanoformulated Antioxidants for Treatment of Neurodegenerative Disorders” at the 2014 Nanotechnology for Health Care Conference put on by the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute.

Dr. Batrakova mentors graduate students and teaches in Innovative Drug Delivery (PHSC851).

Research Activities/Interests:
The main focus of Dr. Batrakova’s research is development of developing a cell-mediated active delivery of therapeutic polypeptides to the brain for treatment of Parkinson’s Disease using inflammatory-response cells as vehicles. Dr. Batrakova is also devoted to the development of a new drug delivery polymer-based system of chemotherapy to treat multi-drug resistant (MDR) tumors, and CNS disorders.

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Alex Nichols

Transhumanism - Considering Ideas From Existentialism and Religion

by Alex Nichols

“Immortality formulas” are often our biggest motivators in our life endeavors. There are similar concepts that philosophers, theologians, and transhumanists have pushed forward. All of which support different means of enhancing ourselves as a way of life. The core of transhumanist values seem to view death as a disease to be overcome, and that science will produce the means to conquer it.

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Marshall Brain

Why and How Should We Build a Basic Income for Every Citizen?

by Marshall Brain

What are our goals as a species? This, to me, is the most important question we can ask ourselves as human beings. Another way to say it: What is the meaning of our existence as a species? We never seem to directly ask ourselves these two questions in a collective way, which seems very odd to me. Because if we were discussing these questions openly, collectively and consistently, I believe we would live in a very different society.

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Rick Searle

Can Machines Be Moral Actors?

by Rick Searle

Ethicists have been asking themselves a question over the last couple of years that seems to come right out of science-fiction. Is it possible to make moral machines, or in their lingo, autonomous moral agents -AMAs? Asking the question might have seemed silly not so long ago, or so speculative as risk obtaining tenure, but as the revolution in robotics has rolled forward it has become an issue necessary to grapple with and now.

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John Danaher

Are hierarchical theories of freedom and responsibility plausible?

by John Danaher

In order to be responsible for your actions, you must be free. Or so it is commonly believed. But what exactly does it mean to be free? One popular view holds that freedom consists in the ability to do otherwise. That is to say: the ability to choose among alternative possible futures. This popular view runs into a host of problems. The obvious one being that it is inconsistent with causal determinism.

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David S. D'Amato

Is Anarchy (as in Anarchism) the Golden Mean of the future?

by David S. D'Amato

My Center for a Stateless Society colleague Roderick Long once described full anarchy as the golden mean, not a form of zealotry or extremism, but a middle way “between mandating what should be optional and prohibiting what should be optional.” Professor Long’s point is not mere framing or spin, attempting to pitch anarchism to an audience indisposed to considering the position or its arguments; rather, it contains an important insight about what it is that anarchists actually want for the future, hinting at our philosophy’s tolerance of experimentation and its essential pluralism.

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Giulio Prisco

Living, intelligent patterns in Conway’s Life

by Giulio Prisco

Conway’s Game of Life, a cellular automaton devised by the British mathematician John Horton Conway in 1970, is a rich mental laboratory to think about our own universe.

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Maria Konovalenko

Hollywood Must Turn Its Head to Personalized Longevity Science instead of Anti-Aging Pseudoremedies

by Maria Konovalenko

This attention-worthy article in The Hollywood Reporter signals that Hollywood people are ready and willing to do something about their longevity. The article mentions hormone replacement therapy, different check-ups and other things available in California, however completely misses 99% of what actually can be done about aging – science.

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Andrew Maynard

MMR Vaccines and Autism: Bringing clarity to the CDC Whistleblower Story

by Andrew Maynard

Anyone following the Twitter #vaccinesNOVA hashtag on the evening of Wednesday September 10 would have seen their stream seemingly overwhelmed by the #CDCWhistleblower hashtag.

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Singularity 1 on 1: Practopoiesis Tells Us Machine Learning Is Not Enough!

Singularity 1 on 1

Nikola Danaylov of Singularity 1 on 1 talks with Danko Nikolic (Brain and mind scientist at Max-Planck Institute for Brain Research, Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies) who works on physiology resulting in the theory of practopoiesis and the phenomenon of ideasthesia.

Podcast: Play in new window | Download

If there’s ever been a case when I just wanted to jump on a plane and go interview someone in person, not because they are famous but because they have created a totally unique and arguably seminal theory, it has to be Danko Nikolic. I believe Danko’s theory of Practopoiesis is that good and he should and probably eventually would become known around the world for it. Unfortunately, however, I don’t have a budget of thousands of dollars per interview which will allow me to pay for my audio and video team to travel to Germany and produce the quality that Nikolic deserves. So, I’ve had to settle with Skype. And Skype refused to cooperate on that day even though both me and Danko have pretty much the fastest internet connections money can buy. Luckily, despite the poor video quality, our audio was very good and I would urge that if there’s ever been an interview where you ought to disregard the video quality and focus on the content – it has to be this one.

During our 67 min conversation with Danko we cover a variety of interesting topics such as: his personal journey into psychology and cognitive science; writing a manual for the mind; practopoiesis, AI and learning how to learn; consciousness and free will; the Penrose-Hameroff Quantum Theory of consciousness; the brain-mind distinction; the Human Brain Project, whole brain simulation and mind uploading

As always you can listen to or download the audio file above or scroll down and watch the video interview in full.

To show your support you can write a review on iTunes or make a donation.

Who is Danko Nikolic?

The main motive for my studies is the explanatory gap between the brain and the mind. My interest is in how the physical world of neuronal activity produces the mental world of perception and cognition. I am associated with the Max-Planck Institute for Brain Research, Ernst Strüngmann Institute, Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies, and the University of Zagreb.

I approach the problem of explanatory gap from both sides, bottom-up and top-down. The bottom-up approach investigates brain physiology. The top-down approach investigates the behavior and experiences. Each of the two approaches led me to develop a theory: The work on physiology resulted in the theory of practopoiesis. The work on behavior and experiences led to the phenomenon of ideasthesia.

The empirical work in the background of those theories involved simultaneous recordings of activity of 100+ neurons in the visual cortex (extracellular recordings), behavioral and imaging studies in visual cognition (attention, working memory, long-term memory), and empirical investigations of phenomenal experiences (synesthesia).

The ultimate goal of my studies is twofold. First, I would like to achieve conceptual understanding of how the dynamics of physical processes creates the mental ones. I believe that the work on practopoiesis presents an important step in this direction and that it will help us eventually address the hard problem of consciousness and the mind-body problem in general. Second, I would like to use this theoretical knowledge to create artificial systems that are biologically-like intelligent and adaptive. This would have implications for our technology.

A reason why one would be interested in studying the brain in the first place is described here: Why brain?

Related articles

Tagged as: Danko Nikolic, Practopoiesis


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Michael Jeffers

Advent of the Cybernetic Legionnaire

by Michael Jeffers

An important question regarding human enhancement in the military is how the deployment of modified soldiers will redefine the ethical limitations on how combatants may be treated. The provisions of the Geneva Conventions and other bodies of international law prohibiting torture generally rest on certain assumptions about the human condition, such as pain thresholds, sleep requirements, and other forms of fragility.

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Maria Konovalenko

Biology and Biology of Aging Resources (6 videos)

by Maria Konovalenko

We have prepared a list of resources that can help understand biology of aging. We tried to find easy to grasp information sources and compiled a list of lectures, audio courses, popular science books and articles on biology in general and biology of aging in particular. The selected resources probably don’t exhaust the whole picture of aging science, but they shed light on the main ideas and research directions in this area.

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Peter Rothman

Book Review: Virtually Human by Martine Rothblatt

by Peter Rothman

“Virtually Human explores what the not-too-distant future will look like when cyberconsciousness—simulation of the human brain via software and computer technology—becomes part of our daily lives.” by Martine Rothblatt Ph.D., MBA, J.D.

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Leo Igwe

Religion that causes violence

by Leo Igwe

For sometime now, humanists have preoccupied themselves with what I call the 'debate of the mind'. Atheists and skeptics have articulated excellent, awakening, enlightening and ground breaking ideas, debating the existence of god, debunking miracles, and questioning dogmas. Humanists have written best selling books. And indeed, some non theists have best selling ideas. But there is a tendency for humanists to focus so much on the debate of the mind or to be contented with the victories they have recorded, forgetting that the debate of the mind is not the entire debate, forgetting that there is another important debate. That is the debate of the heart.

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A Debate on the Right to be Forgotten

Panel: Emma Llansó, Director, Project on Free Expression, Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) (@ellanso); Judith Rauhofer, Lecturer in IT Law, University of Edinburgh; Mike Godwin, Senior Policy Advisor, Internews (@sfmnemonic); Moderator: Wendy M. Grossman, Writer (@wendyg).

(From Wikipedia)

Google Spain SL, Google Inc. v Agencia Española de Protección de Datos, Mario Costeja González (2014) is a decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). It held that an internet search engine operator is responsible for the processing that it carries out of personal information which appears on web pages published by third parties.[1][2][3][4]

The outcome of the ruling is that an internet search engine must consider requests from individuals to remove links to freely accessible web pages resulting from a search on their name. Grounds for removal include cases where the search result(s) "appear to be inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant or excessive in the light of the time that had elapsed."[5]:92 If the search engine rejects the request, the individual may ask relevant authorities to consider the case. Under certain conditions, the search engine may be ordered to remove the links from search results.

The decision confirms a so-called right to be forgotten mooted in the proposed General Data Protection Regulation, due to take effect in late 2014, although the Court did not explicitly grant such a right, depending instead on the data subject's rights deriving from Articles 7 (respect for private and family life) and 8 (protection of personal data) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.[6]




In 1998 the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia published two announcements in its printed edition regarding the forced sale of properties arising from social security debts. The announcements were published on the order of the Spanish Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and their purpose was to attract as many bidders as possible. A version of the edition was later made available on the web.[7]

One of the properties described in the newspaper announcements belonged to Mario Costeja González, who was named in the announcements. In November 2009, Costeja contacted the newspaper to complain that when his name was entered in the Google search engine it led to the announcements. He asked that the data relating to him be removed, arguing that the forced sale had been concluded years before and was no longer relevant. The newspaper replied that erasing his data was not appropriate since the publication had been on the order of the Spanish Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.

Costeja then contacted Google Spain in February 2010, asking that the links to the announcements be removed. Google Spain forwarded the request to Google Inc., whose registered office is in California, United States, taking the view that this latter was the responsible body. Costeja subsequently lodged a complaint with the Spanish Data Protection Agency (Agencia Española de Protección de Datos, AEPD) asking both that the newspaper be required to remove the data and that Google Spain or Google Inc. be required to remove the links to the data. On 30 July 2010, the Director of APED rejected the complaint against the newspaper but upheld the complaint against Google Spain and Google Inc., calling on them to remove the links complained of and make access to the data impossible.

Google Spain and Google Inc. subsequently brought separate actions against the decision before the Audiencia Nacional (National High Court of Spain). Their appeal was based on:[8]

  1. Google Inc. was not within the scope of the EU Directive 95/46/EC (Data Protection Directive) and its subsidiary Google Spain was not responsible for the search engine
  2. there was no processing of personal data within the search function
  3. even were there processing, neither Google Inc. nor Google Spain could be regarded as a data controller
  4. in any event, the data subject (Costeja) did not have the right to erasure of lawfully published material

The Audiencia Nacional joined the actions and stayed the proceedings pending a preliminary ruling from the CJEU on a number of questions regarding the interpretation of the Data Protection Directive. These questions fell into three groups. In essence they concerned:

  1. the territorial scope of the Directive
  2. the legal position of an internet search engine service provider under the Directive, especially in terms of the Directive's material scope and as to whether the search engine could be regarded as a data controller
  3. whether the Directive establishes a so-called right to be forgotten

All of these questions, also raising important points of fundamental rights protection, were new to the Court. Because new points of law were involved, the opinion of an Advocate General was sought by the Court.


Written proceedings followed by an oral hearing were held on 26 February 2013, at which, besides the parties, the governments of Austria, Greece, Italy, Spain and Poland and the European Commission gave their opinion. Advocate General Niilo Jääskinen gave his opinion on 25 June 2013, after which judgment was given on 13 May 2014.

Advocate General's Opinion

The purpose of an Advocate General's Opinion is to advise the Court on new points of law. It is not binding on the Court. In this case the Advocate General was Niilo Jääskinen from Finland.[8][9]

Advocate General Jääskinen made frequent reference in his Opinion to the fact that the Data Protection Directive predates the Google era (it dates from 1995 and is due to be replaced in late 2014 by the General Data Protection Regulation). On the first set of questions the Advocate General found that Google's business model brought Google Inc. and Google Spain within the scope of the Directive.[10]:64-68 On the second set of questions concerning the material scope of the Directive, the Advocate General held that Google could not be regarded as a data controller: Google's search activities involves the processing of personal data, but Google does not thereby become a data controller for the content of the material when the processing is carried out in a haphazard, indiscriminate and random manner. In the Advocate General's view the sense of the Directive is that "the controller is aware of the existence of a certain defined category of information amounting to personal data and the controller processes this data with some intention which relates to their processing as personal data". [10]:B 76-83

In the event that the Court did not agree with his finding that Google is not a data controller, the Advocate General considered the third set of questions relating to a right to be forgotten. He held that the rights of freedom of information and expression took precedence over any such right to erasure, and urged the Court not to allow case-by-case resolution of such conflicts as that would likely lead to the "automatic withdrawal of links to any objected contents or to an unmanageable number of requests handled by the most popular and important internet search engine service providers."[10]:133


The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that an internet search engine operator is responsible for the processing that it carries out of personal data which appear on web pages published by third parties, upholding a right of erasure.[11][2][12]

The Court considered the material scope of the Directive first. The Court rejected Google's submission, supported by the Advocate General, that it could not be regarded as a data controller within the scope of the Data Protection Directive, adopting a literal interpretation of article 2(b), giving definitions, of the Directive and relying on Lindqvist.[5]:21-41[13]:25

Regarding the territorial scope of the Directive, the Court observed that Google Spain is a subsidiary of Google Inc. on Spanish territory and, therefore, an 'establishment' within the meaning of the directive.[5]:48-49 The Court rejected Google Inc.'s argument that it was not carrying out its data processing in Spain, holding that the promotion and selling of advertising space by its subsidiary Google Spain was sufficient to constitute processing within the meaning of the Directive.[5]:50-57 To have ruled otherwise would have been to undermine the effectiveness of the Directive and the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals that the Directive seeks to ensure.[5]:58 The Court thus endorsed the Advocate General's view that Google Inc. and Google Spain should be treated as a single economic unit.[10]:66-67

Concerning the obligations and duties of the operator of a search engine, the Court held that in the present case Article 7(f) of the Directive, relating to legitimacy of processing, requires a balancing of the opposing rights and interests of the data subject (González) and the data controller (Google), taking into account the data subject's rights deriving from Articles 7 (respect for private and family life) and 8 (protection of personal data) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.[5]:73-74 Article 14(a) of the Directive, relating to the data subject's rights, allows the data subject, at least in the cases covered by Articles 7(e) and 7(f), to object at any time on compelling legitimate grounds relating to his particular situation to the processing of data relating to him, save where otherwise provided by national legislation.[5]:76 Article 12(b) of the Directive, relating to the data subject's right of access to the data, allows the data subject to request erasure of the data. Such request may be made directly of the controller, who must then duly examine the merits of the request. If the request is not granted, the data subject may then direct the request to a supervisory authority or the judicial authority so that it carries out the necessary checks and orders the controller to take specific measures accordingly.[5]:77

Regarding the question relating to the so-called right to be forgotten, the Court noted that Google Spain, Google Inc., the Greek, Austrian and Polish Governments and the Commission considered that this question should be answered in the negative.[5]:90 The Court held, however, that the processing of data which is "inadequate, irrelevant or excessive" (i.e. not merely inaccurate) might also be incompatible with the Directive. [5]:92 In such cases, where the data is incompatible with the provisions of article 6(1)(e) to (f) of the Directive, relating to data quality, the information and links in the list of the results must be erased.[5]:94 It is not necessary that the information is prejudicial to the data subject.[5]:96


The ruling balances the right to privacy and data protection in European law with the legitimate interest of the public to access such information, and it does not mandate that information is instantly removed upon request. It distinguishes between public figures and private persons. The Court stressed that internet search engines profile individuals in modern society in an ubiquitous manner, in a way that could not otherwise have been obtained formerly save only with the greatest difficulty.[5]:80 The data subject's rights must therefore in general override "as a rule, not only the economic interest of the operator of the search engine but also the interest of the general public in finding that information upon a search relating to the data subject’s name", but that would not be the case if the role played by the data subject in public life is such "that the interference with his fundamental rights is justified by the preponderant interest of the general public in having, on account of inclusion in the list of results, access to the information in question".[5]:97

Google subsequently published an online form which can be used by EU citizens or EFTA nationals to request the removal of links from its search results if the data linked is "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive in relation to the purposes for which they were processed".[14][15] On 31 May 2014, the first day of the service, Google received over 12,000 requests from people asking the company to remove certain links about them from its search results.[16]


  • In a Guardian piece, Julia Powles remarks that the ruling provides an essential platform for public debate as the European Commission considers reform of the Directive in its upcoming General Data Protection Regulation.[17][12]
  • Guy Vassall-Adams of Matrix Chambers characterizes the judgment as profoundly harmful to the operation of the internet and a betrayal of Europe's legacy in protecting freedom of expression:[18]

    The court’s reductionist approach is to require that all published information must have a specific public interest justification. This approach is profoundly erroneous and stems in large part from failing to keep in mind the private/public distinction. Most of what is published on the internet has no specific public interest justification and there is no specific public interest which could relate to most pieces of biographical information about an individual. Facebook is an extremely valuable resource for freedom of expression and information sharing, but most of the “personal data” published there be it banal or wacky would not avail itself of any specific public interest defence. The point is that it shouldn’t have to; there is an inherent value in the free circulation of information and ideas which the court has completely overlooked.

    —Guy Vassall-Adams, Matrix Chambers
  • German Professor Niko Härting wrote a summary of the worries about undervaluing the importance of freedom of information and communication, as well as the dangers of abuse of such a system, stemming from this decision;[19]

    “Privacy by default” will encourage politicians, celebrities and other public figures to put their lawyers on track when they find inconvenient information online. And as the use of a search engine like Google is essential for finding information, the elimination from the results of search engines will provide a convenient and essential tool to suppress information.

  • A piece on drew attention to the fact that Google's classification as a "data controller" could be appropriate regarding Google's collection and use of aggregated and personal data for advertising and other commercial purposes, but that the information presented by an automated service in the form of results from a search engine might not be as easily designated as "controlled" or "processed" data;[20]

    [...]the problems which really result from the court’s ruling stem from the designation of Google and other search engines as “data controllers”, as this is setting the threshold for “processing” or “controlling” of information rather low. Without any active “processing” of the information, beyond simply how it interacts with the automatic systems behind the search engine, it is hard to see how companies such as Google should be expected to exercise quality control over such information. It is also very important to keep in mind that Google’s formula for generating search results is a totally different topic from Google Adwords and Google’s processing of actual personal data for advertising reasons. That sort of data processing is only used for targeted ads and the like, and it is not this “data controlling” about which we talk when we discuss search results from Google’s search engine. Popular dissatisfaction with companies like Google who collect and benefit from the use of personal data and preferences might have lead some to confuse Google’s data gathering for advertising practices with the workings of the algorithms used to automatically generate search results.

See also


  1. "EU court backs 'right to be forgotten' in Google case". BBC News. 13 May 2014.
  2. "Press release No 70/14 (Judgment in Case C-131/12)". CJEU.
  3. David Streitfeld (13 May 2014). "European Court Lets Users Erase Records on Web". New York Times. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
  4. Julia Powles (15 May 2014). "What we can salvage from 'right to be forgotten' ruling". Retrieved 16 May 2014.
  5. "Judgment of the Court in Case C‑131/12 (Costeja)". CJEU.
  6. Baldry, Tony; Hyams, Oliver. "The Right to Be Forgotten". 1 Essex Court.
  7. The announcements in question: "Subhasta d'Immobles". La Vanguardia. 19 January 1998. p. 23. (in Catalan), accessed 16 May 2014. Translation: "Property auctions….the two undivided halves of a house at 8 Montseny St., owned by Mario Costeja González and Alicia Vargas Cots….."
  8. Jay, Rosemary. "EU Court of Justice Advocate-General Issues Opinion in Google Search Case". Hunton & Williams LLP .
  9. "Press release No 77/13 (Advocate General’s Opinion in Case C-131/12)". CJEU.
  10. "Opinion of Advocate General Niilo Jääskinen delivered on 25 June 2013 - Case C‑131/12". CJEU.
  11. "EU Court of Justice Upholds Right to Erasure in Google Search Case". Hunton & Williams LLP.
  12. "Factsheet on the "Right to be Forgotten" ruling (case C-131/12)". European Commission.
  13. "Judgment of the Court in Case C-101/01 (Lindqvist)". CJEU.
  14. Google sets up 'right to be forgotten' form after EU ruling BBC News, 30 May 2014. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  15. "Google to Give Effect to Right to Remove Personal Data from Search Results". Hunton & Williams LLP.
  16. Powell, Rose (31 May 2014). "Google receives 12,000 requests to be 'forgotten' on first day". Sydney Morning-Herald. Retrieved 31 May 2014.
  17. Powles, Julia (21 May 2014). "What did the media miss with the 'right to be forgotten' coverage?". The Guardian.
  18. Vassall-Adams, Guy. "Case comment: Google Spain SL, Google Inc v Agencia Espanola de Proteccion de Datos, Mario Costeja González". Matrix Chambers.
  19. Härting, Niko. "Can a Search Engine be “Private by Default”?". CROnline.
  20. McNamee, Shane. "Europe and The Right to Be Forgotten: A Memorable Victory for Privacy or Defeat for Free Speech?".

External links

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Kelly Hills

Aid Organizations Working in Ebola Regions (Aug 17th)

by Kelly Hills

Last night, Ian Mackay posted this very disturbing logistics/supply chain chart, showing that some personal protective equipment stock in countries battling Ebola are at “zero” – and have been for a while. Articles from the and New York Times bleakly illustrate just how bad the situation has become.

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Kelly Hills

No, American Doctors, You Don’t Need Tyvek In Case of Ebola

by Kelly Hills

One of the more interesting aspects of the constant media coverage of the latest Ebola outbreak has been watching how developed nations like the United States, Britain, and Canada assume that the entire world is Just Like Them. The Seattle Times had a charming example of this yesterday, with American doctors questioning the CDC guidelines for how to care for an Ebola patient in America. An example of the ignorance on display comes from Tulsa, Oklahoma emergency physician Justin Fairless, who says that health care workers in West African nations…

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Richard Eskow

5 Reasons The SEC’s Executive-Pay Rules Matter – And 5 Ways to Use Them

by Richard Eskow

Two little-known rules on corporate reporting of executive pay are currently being reviewed by the Securities and Exchange Commission. While they have received almost no press coverage, these rules could have far-reaching consequences for our nation’s economy and the future of the middle class.

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Joel Taylor

I, Quantum Robot

by Joel Taylor

Though the concept of the robot seems to be a modern and a relatively new idea, they have been around for years. The first recording in literature of a possible description of the robot is found in the Iliad in reference to a “a three-legged cauldron that had ears for handles”. Later on, in 1900, we were introduced to Tik-Tok in Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz. The word robot was first used in 1920 by the Czech writer Karel Čapek in his play R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots).

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Climate Engineering Conference 2014: Critical Global Discussions (6min)

IASS Potsdam

Due to the limited success of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, climate engineering (CE) has been increasingly studied in recent years. Often defined as intentional, large-scale interventions into the global climate to counteract some of the effects of climate change, climate engineering techniques continue to be the subject of contentious debate in different in political, scientific and cultural fora.

The IASS and its partners hosted the first large international conference on climate engineering – Climate Engineering Conference 2014: Critical Global Discussions – in Berlin from 18 to 21 August 2014. This event brought together more than 300 academics, policy-makers and representatives of civil society from 40 countries for a critical yet productive exchange.

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John Danaher

Steven Pinker’s Guide to Classic Style

by John Danaher

I try to be a decent writer. I try to convey complex ideas to a broader audience. I try to write in a straightforward, conversational style. But I know I often fail in this. I know I sometimes lean too heavily on technical philosophical vocabulary, hoping that the reader will be able to follow along. I know I sometimes rush to complete blog posts, never getting a chance to polish or rewrite them. Still, I strive for clarity and would like to improve.

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The Writer’s Role: Reflections on Communicating Climate Engineering to Public Audiences

IASS Potsdam

Panel discussion featuring writers and journalists reading and discussing their work on climate engineering. Featuring Oliver Morton (The Economist), Dagmar Dehmer (Der Tagesspiegel)
Gwynne Dyer (Independent Journalist) and Jamais Cascio (IEET Fellow and from Open the Future)

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Andrew Maynard

Why aren’t we more scared of measles?

by Andrew Maynard

Measles is one of the leading causes of death amongst children worldwide.  In 2012, an estimated 122,000 people died of the disease according to the World Health Organization – equivalent to 14 deaths every hour.  Yet talk to parents about this highly infectious disease, and the response is often a resounding “meh”.  Why is this?

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Leo Igwe

The British should speak out against UK witch hunts by African Pentecostalists

by Leo Igwe

Nigeria’s notorious witch hunter, Helen Ukpabio, is suing for libel both the British Humanist Association (BHA) and the Witchcraft and Human Rights Information Network(WHRIN). In this she is, as in other matters, a repeat offender. All British campaigners for children’s rights, and especially humanists and secularists will not stand for the spread of African Pentacostalist witch hunts to the UK.

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J. Hughes

Enhancing Virtues: Intelligence (Part 2)

by J. Hughes

We can make the world more intelligent by reducing poverty and violence, and improving nutrition and education, and we can use exercise, diet, and life-long learning to improve our own intelligence.

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Building Digital Trust: A New Architecture for Engineering Privacy (10 min)


Jeffrey Ritter (Lecturer, Johns Hopkins University Whiting School of Engineering, Adjunct Professor of Law) talks about the confidence people have in giving out their personal and professional data.

Jeffrey B. Ritter has a B.A. and M.A. from The Ohio State University; and J.D. Duke University School of Law. Professor Ritter obtained his Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude with distinction and honors, and Masters of Arts in Communication from The Ohio State University. He studied law at the Duke University School of Law. His private legal practice in Ohio and Washington, DC has emphasized law and information technology for nearly 25 years, representing large national and international companies, international trade associations, and innovative start-ups in the development and use of succeeding generations of new information technologies. He has actively contributed to the Georgetown CLE program for nearly 20 years, including as a co-chair of the Advanced Computer Law and Electronic Commerce Institute, and as an advisory board member and contributor to the Electronic Discovery and Corporate Counsel Institutes. He represented the United States in Geneva in the United Nations for nearly seven years in the international programs to eliminate legal barriers to online commerce and was the founding chair of the ABA Cyberspace Law Committee. He is currently developing and teaching courses on cyberspace law and policy at Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering and writing a book on the future of law in a digital world.

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