Google starts accepting 'right to be forgotten' requests in Europe

The company set up a page where people can submit their requests

Google has started accepting requests from Europeans wanting to remove search links to information on them that they find objectionable, following a controversial ruling earlier this month by the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Asserting the people's right to be forgotten after a certain time, the court ruled that people who want search engines to forget them by removing search results referring to their names can file a request to do so directly with the operator of the search engine, which must then assess the merits of the request. A refusal by the operator can be appealed in a court.

Search engines can be asked to remove results for queries that include their name where those results are "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive in relation to the purposes for which they were processed," the court ordered.

A removal request form was set up by Google on Friday, asking users to submit the URL (uniform resource locator) for each link referring to the person that appears in a Google search that the user would like removed. It allows users to submit requests on behalf of themselves and others they represent, but wants information on how the linked page is about the affected person, and why the URL in search results is "irrelevant, outdated, or otherwise inappropriate."

Google described the form as an initial effort and said it planned to work closely with data protection authorities and others over the coming months to refine its approach.

The EU court ruling has raised concerns that it could violate freedom of expression and the right of the public to know, as it could be used to prevent posts that criticize governments and other people in authority from appearing in search results.

"In implementing this decision, we will assess each individual request and attempt to balance the privacy rights of the individual with the public's right to know and distribute information," Google wrote in the introduction to the form.

When evaluating a user request, the Internet company will check whether the results include outdated information about the person, as well as "whether there's a public interest in the information--for example, information about financial scams, professional malpractice, criminal convictions, or public conduct of government officials."

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags GooglesecurityCivil lawsuitslegalinternetsearch enginesprivacy

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?