04 21 2015
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  • When should we use military to enforce US goals? NASHUA, N.H. (AP) — Rand Paul lashed out Saturday at military hawks in the Republican Party in a clash over foreign policy dividing the packed GOP presidential field. Paul, a first-term senator from Kentucky who favors a smaller U.S. footprint in the world, said that some of his Republican colleagues would do more harm in international affairs than would leading Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton. "The other Republicans will criticize the president and Hillary Clinton for their foreign policy, but they would just have done the same thing — just 10 times over," Paul said on the closing day of a New Hampshire GOP conference that brought about 20 presidential prospects to the first-in-the-nation primary state. "There's a group of folks in our party who would have troops in six countries right now, maybe more," Paul said. Foreign policy looms large in the presidential race as the U.S. struggles to resolve diplomatic and military conflicts across the globe. The GOP presidential class regularly rails against President Barack Obama's leadership on the world stage, yet some would-be contenders have yet to articulate their own positions, while others offered sharply different visions. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, whose brother, President George W. Bush, authorized the 2003 invasion of Iraq, declined to say whether he would have done anything different then. Yet Jeb Bush acknowledged a shift in his party against new military action abroad. "Our enemies need to fear us, a little bit, just enough for them to deter the actions that create insecurity," Bush said earlier in the conference. He said restoring alliances "that will create less likelihood of America's boots on the ground has to be the priority, the first priority of the next president." The GOP's hawks were well represented at the event, led by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who has limited foreign policy experience but articulated a muscular vision during his Saturday keynote address. Walker said the threats posed by radical Islamic terrorism won't be handled simply with "a couple bombings." "We're not going to wait till they bring the fight to us," Walker said. "We're going to bring the fight to them and fight on their soil." South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham addressed the question of putting U.S. troops directly in the battle against the Islamic State group militants by saying there is only one way to defeat the militants: "You go over there and you fight them so they don't come here." Texas Sen. Ted Cruz suggested an aggressive approach as well. "The way to defeat ISIS is a simple and clear military objective," he said. "We will destroy them." Businesswoman Carly Fiorina offered a similar outlook. "The world is a more dangerous and more tragic place when America is not leading. And America has not led for quite some time," she said. Under Obama, a U.S.-led coalition of Western and Arab countries is conducting regular airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. also has hundreds of military advisers in Iraq helping Iraqi security forces plan operations against the Islamic State, which occupies large chunks of northern and western Iraq. Paul didn't totally reject the use of military force, noting that he recently introduced a declaration of war against the Islamic State group. But in an interview with The Associated Press, he emphasized the importance of diplomacy. He singled out Russia and China, which have complicated relationships with the U.S., as countries that could contribute to U.S. foreign policy interests. "I think the Russians and the Chinese have great potential to help make the world a better place," he said. "I don't say that naively that they're going to, but they have the potential to." Paul suggested the Russians could help by getting Syrian President Bashar Assad to leave power. "Maybe he goes to Russia," Paul said. Despite tensions with the U.S., Russia and China negotiated alongside Washington in nuclear talks with Iran. Paul has said he is keeping an open mind about the nuclear negotiations. "The people who already are very skeptical, very doubtful, may not like the president for partisan reasons," he said, and "just may want war instead of negotiations."
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In this Oct. 17, 2012, file photo, a man raises his hand during at Google offices in New York. People should have some say over the results that pop up when they conduct a search of their own name online, Europe's highest court said Tuesday, May 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

AMSTERDAM (AP) — People should have some say over the results that pop up when they conduct a search of their own name online, Europe's highest court said Tuesday.

In a landmark decision, The Court of Justice of the European Union said Google must listen and sometimes comply when individuals ask the Internet search giant to remove links to newspaper articles or websites containing their personal information.

Though digital rights campaigners say the ruling by the top court in the 28-nation EU favors individual privacy rights over the freedom of information, there are questions as to how it will be put into practice and whether it will prompt a change in the way search engines operate globally.

In a judgment that will potentially impact on all search engines in Europe, including Yahoo and Microsoft's Bing, the court said a search on a person's name yields a results page that amounts to an individual profile. Under European privacy law, it said people should be able to ask to have links to private information in that 'profile' removed.

It is not clear how exactly the court envisions Google and others handling complaints, and Google said it is still studying the ruling, which cannot be appealed.

The referral to the European Court came from Spain's National Court, which asked for advice in the case of Mario Costeja, a Spaniard who found a search on his name turned up links to a notice that his property was due to be auctioned because of an unpaid welfare debt. The notice had been published in a Spanish newspaper in 1998, and was tracked by Google's robots when the newspaper digitalized its archive.

Costeja argued that the debt had long since been settled, and he asked the Spanish privacy agency to have the reference removed. In 2010 the agency agreed, but Google refused and took the matter to court, saying it should not be asked to censor material that had been legally published by the newspaper.

“It's a great relief to be shown that you were right when you have fought for your ideas, it's a joy,” Costeja told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “If Google was great before it's perfect now because there are game rules to go by.”

He said that “ordinary people will know where they have to go” to complain about bad or old information that turns up on a Google search.

Following the European ruling, Costeja's case will return to Spain for final judgment. There are 200 others in the Spanish docks, some of which may still prove difficult to decide. For instance: one involves a plastic surgeon who wants mentions of a botched surgery her performed removed from Google's results.

In its ruling, the European Court said people may address requests directly to the operator of the search engine “which must then duly examine its merits.”

The right is not absolute, as search engines must weigh “the legitimate interest of Internet users potentially interested in having access to that information” against the right to privacy and protection of personal data. When an agreement can't be reached, the Luxembourg-based court said the matter can be referred to a local judge or regulator.

Debates over the 'right to be forgotten' — to have negative information erased after a period of time — have surfaced across the world as tech users struggle to reconcile the forgive-and-forget nature of human relations with the unforgiving permanence of the electronic record.

Though the idea of such a right has generally been well-received in Europe, many in the U.S. have critiqued it as a disguised form of censorship that could allow convicts to delete references to past crimes or politicians to airbrush their records.

Alejandro Tourino, a Spanish lawyer who specializes in mass media issues, said the ruling was a first of its kind and “quite a blow for Google.”

“This serves as a basis for all members of the European Union, it is (a) most important ruling and the first time European authorities have ruled on the 'right to be forgotten,'“ said Tourino, who has worked for The Associated Press in several legal cases and is the author of “The Right to be Forgotten and Privacy on the Internet.”

Google spokesman Al Verney said Tuesday's ruling was “disappointing ... for search engines and online publishers in general.” The company, he said, will “now need to take time to analyze the implications.”

Some limited forms of a “right to be forgotten” exist in the U.S. and elsewhere — including in relation to crimes committed by minors or bankruptcy regulations, both of which usually require that records be expunged in some way.

Viviane Reding, the EU's top justice official, said in a Facebook posting that the ruling confirmed that “data belongs to the individual” and that unless there is a good reason to retain data, “an individual should be empowered by law to request erasure.”

However, Javier Ruiz, Policy Director at Open Rights Group, cautioned that authorities have to be careful in how they move forward.

“We need to take into account individuals' right to privacy,” he said. “But if search engines are forced to remove links to legitimate content that is already in the public domain ... it could lead to online censorship.”

He added the case has “major implications for all kind of internet intermediaries, not just search engines.”

Google currently advises users to approach websites that have published information about them as a first step in having it cleared from the Internet: once a site removes the content, Google's result links to the material will disappear soon after.

The Mountain View, California-based company also offers a guide to users on how best to approach having personal information removed from the web.

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Online: https://support.google.com/websearch/troubleshooter/3111061

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Associated Press reporters Ciaran Giles in Madrid and Raphael Satter in London contributed to this story.

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