by Paul Alan Levy
I will confess that, as a lawyer who has dedicated his career to the public interest movement, I was disappointed when Fred von Lohmann, one of the top lawyers at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, left to work inhouse at Google. Not only was the public interest movement losing one of its leading lights, an astonishingly bright and creative lawyer, but it just seemed to me typical of the whole problem of Google buying up the top talent, whether directly by hiring them or compromising them by making donations. (Public Citizen simply does not take corporate contributions, including contributions by foundations controlled or funded by corporations).
But Fred's recent blog post about one of his major projects, transparency in removals, reminds us of what good people can do from the inside. He reports that Google will sometime actually look at requests for removal of search results, and reject them when they go too far, and that Google is including copyright takedown requests in its effort to be clear with the public about the extent to which various copyright holders are using -- and perhaps abusing -- the system.
Still sorry that Fred is no longer at EFF, but this is good stuff.