GoogleWire: Google is Removing ‘Right to be Forgotten’ Search Results in EU

Google announced that it has started to remove requests from its search engine, under the Europe’s new ‘right to be forgotten’ law, that gives the right to request removal of ‘Outdated or irrelevant’ searches about individuals.

Also, Google has hired a ‘removals team’ to evaluate each request and had set up an online form in the end of May where people can request/appeal to data protection authority for removals of links. 

“This week, we’re starting to take action on the removals requests that we’ve received,” a Google spokesman said. “This is a new process for us. Each request has to be assessed individually, and we’re working as quickly as possible to get through the queue.”

The other details about the process are still undisclosed, which means how many requests the company has received, nor how many requests it has removed, till now. 

“When submitting a request, users will have to provide at least one kind of photo ID, and state that links will only be removed if the information is erroneous, misleading or no longer relevant,” said Google.

iamWire Take: Although it is good to clear off the junk links from the search results, but removal of links on request might not be that great of an idea. Search is one of the most commonly used tool to conduct background checks for professionals, if links leading to news/webpages having information about some fraudulent activity are omitted then that is clearly an issue. If the general public starts feeling that they are not seeing everything that is out there, other search engines like Yahoo and Bing might start catching up.

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Bloomberg says: The Internet search engine has removed a link to a Spanish newspaper that was the target of a court case by Mario Costeja Gonzalez. A Search of Gonzalez’s name now shows text at the bottom of the page, which reads, “Some results may have been removed under data-protection law in Europe.”

“We’re showing this notice in Europe when a user searches for most names, not just pages that have been affected by a removal,” Google clarified on its website.

The Guardian says: Searches made on Google’s services in Europe using peoples’ names includes a section at the bottom with the phrase “Some results may have been removed under data protection law in Europe”, and a link to a page explaining the ruling by the European court of justice (ECJ) in May 2014.

However searches made on Google.com, the US-based service, do not include the same warning, because the ECJ ruling only applies within Europe.

The ECJ ruled that the newspaper’s report was protected under freedom of expression, but that Google’s links to it were not, because Google was a “data processor”.

The Wall Street Journal says: Google engineers overnight updated the company’s technical infrastructure to begin implementing the removals, and Thursday began sending the first emails to individuals informing them that links they had requested were being taken down. 

As of nearly a month ago, Google had received more than 41,000 removal requests via a web form it had set up in response to the ruling, which said Google must weigh individuals’ right to privacy against a public interest in having certain information available.

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