Google Case Debate (Due Before The Zoom Meeting)

1. Read the Google case in the textbook (p. 425-438). In particular, read carefully about the “Right to be forgotten” section.

2. Go to this link and answer the questions.

The Issue:  In 2009, Mario Costeja Gonzalez, an attorney living in Spain, casually googled himself, and was startled by what he found. Prominently displayed among the search results was a legal notice that listed his property had been seized by the government for non-payment of debts. This notice was more than a decade old, and he had paid his debts, a decade ago. He took his case to Spain’s Data Protection Agency (SDPA), which filed a lawsuit against Google, asking the company to take down “disputed personal data” from its search index. Google appealed, but in 2014, the European Court of Justice ruled against the company. It required Google to remove links based on an individual’s name, when those results were deemed to be “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive”. Google complied with the request and set up an online form for users (from the European Union only) to request the right to be forgotten. Google stated that each request would be evaluated individually and that the company would attempt to balance the privacy rights of the individual with the public’s interest to know and the rights to distribute information.”

This debate is about the Right to Privacy, and how important should privacy be in our online world today?

The Question: Should Google modify its search results about an individual, in response to that individual’s requests?

Pro Side position: Google should modify its search results. The right to privacy is important.

Con Side position: Google should not modify its search results. The right to free expression is important.

Both sides: To strengthen your argument…

1. Offer a coherent Ethical perspective: From Utilitarianism, Virtue Ethics, Rights, and Justice, which ethical theory is most appropriate for this situation? Why? Given your position, what should Google’s next steps be?

2. Explain the public policy implications of your decision. How will your decision affect public safety?

3. Explain the legal implications of your decision for the company. What liability will Google (and Facebook) have with linking to erroneous/dangerous information?

4. Explain the strategic (business operating) implications for small business owners that rely on Google. How will your decision affect the competitive position of small businesses in the market?

5. Draw arguments from this week’s chapter to explain how Google might balance the benefits of disclosing information with the negative consequences associated with its release.

Debate Guidelines: The classroom debates are exercises designed to allow you to strengthen your skills in the areas of leadership, interpersonal influence, team-building, group problem solving, and oral presentation. All group members are expected to participate in the research and development of your debate position.  At least 4 group members must participate in the presentation and rebuttal. Preparation will require reading the case debate topic and additional library research.  Each participating member will receive the same case grade. 

Debate Format:

8 minute Position Presentation – Pro

8 minute Position Presentation – Con

5 minute Work Period

4 minute Rebuttal – Pro

4 minute Rebuttal – Con

2 minute Work Period

2 minute Position Summary – Pro or Con (who goes first will be decided by coin flip).

2 minute Position Summary – Pro or Con

5 minutes Collection of Ballots. Results will be on iLearn by Wednesday that same week.

Last modified: Thursday, March 25, 2021, 8:40 AM

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