Google and other search engines are subject to European privacy laws, and a 2014 decision gave European Union citizens the "right to disappear." EU citizens can request that search engines purge their results if someone doesn't wish to appear in them. But it’s not just search engines; an Italian court case has extended that rule. The website Primadino wrote about a criminal case involving a restaurant owner. The restaurateur didn't like what the site wrote about him, sued, and won, all the way up to the supreme court (cassation) level. The Italian high court's ruling could conceivably mean that article subjects who object to how they're portrayed online can have the site take down the story, or at the very least purge it of offending material.

It's a recent case, but the implications are stark: How do websites deal with this threat? How can they defend themselves, or work toward a common approach, both legally and in the political arena? Do editors of The New York Times, or the Toronto Star, or La Repubblica, have to be worried that a plaintiff in Belgium will demand that a story be withdrawn or redacted?