Google receives steady stream of 'right to be forgotten' requests

More than half of the requests it receives are rejected

A building at Google's headquarters in Mountain View, California, on August 17, 2015. Credit: Martyn Williams

A building at Google's headquarters in Mountain View, California, on August 17, 2015. Credit: Martyn Williams

Google continues to receive a steady stream of requests to delist specific search results as a result of a controversial European court ruling.

The company said Wednesday it has received 348,085 requests since it launched its program after the European Court of Justice's ruling in May 2014. That's up from about 300,000 it had received by the end of July.

The court's ruling allows people to ask search engines to delist results to content that is inadequate, irrelevant or not in the public interest, the so-called "right to be forgotten."

The search engine can decide whether to scrub the results or not based on the circumstances. Google provided some anonymized examples of how it handled certain requests.

In Austria, a couple that was accused of business fraud asked for links to articles to be removed, which Google rejected.

But it did remove a link to pages referencing an article about a teacher in Germany who was convicted of a minor crime more than a decade ago.

The top websites where search results to content were removed were in order: Facebook.com, profileengine.com, groups.google.com, youtube.com and badoo.com. Twitter also made the top 10 list.

Since May 2014, a total of 1,234,092 URLs have been removed, Google said. It tends to reject more requests than it accommodates:

google right to be forgotten Google

When links are removed from its index, Google notifies the websites that are affected, but those sites are not required to remove content.

Some of the more clear-cut cases for Google are websites that contain a person's address or contact information or crimes committed while a person was a minor, according to an FAQ.

The process isn't alway smooth, and Google has occasionally clashed with data protection authorities.

The U.K.'s Information Commissioner's Office ordered Google in August to remove links to articles that described URLs it had removed. The company maintained the articles were in the public's interest.

France's data protection authority ordered Google in June to remove results from all localized versions of its search engine, which would make the content in question invisible worldwide, at least using Google's search engine.

Google is fighting that order, contending it could have a chilling effect on free speech.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Brother MFC-L3745CDW Colour Laser Multifunction

Learn more >

Mobile

Exec

Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?