PULL QUOTE: ‘This sort of thing is inevitable when laws overlap and the same item of information can be defined differently’ As scandals over the misuse of personal information proliferate and data protection laws are tightened, technology companies are leaping to a surprising conclusion: they are publishers. Not always, of course, but when it suits them. Facebook emphasised its role as a publisher with editorial discretion in a California court last week in an effort to block a lawsuit from a developer. Google attempted something even more audacious in a UK case this year involving the "right to be forgotten" in search engine results. It laid claim to an exemption for publishers of journalism, art and literature under European law. Google’s legal sally was ridiculous and was squashed by the high court judge. "I do not consider that Google’s own activity can be equated with journalism," he wrote firmly, ruling that the technology titan wanted, as one would, to have its cake and to e...

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