A number of internet search engine companies including Google are now allowing users to ask for the removal of personal data from their internet search results. Google has been hit with a number of requests to remove links after the initiation of the “Right to be Forgotten” service in Europe after the recent ruling by the highest European court.
Specifically, this new system was implemented following the ruling of the highest European court earlier this month, granting individuals the right to be forgotten online. By this, it means European users are able to request links to personal information be excluded from search results if they believe the information is outdated. There is no set guideline as to what is outdated.
Google stated that they will approve requests on a case by case basis. On the request forum, Google said, “When evaluating your request, we will look at whether the results include outdated information about you, as well as whether there’s a public interest in the information.” On the first day this system was initiated, Google reportedly received over 12,000 requests from European users, equating to about 20 requests per minute.
Individuals are able to fill out a request form online. This request necessitates an explanation as to why certain links to pages should be deemed irrelevant or outdated. A certain level of identification is required as well, such as a drivers license or any other form of photo ID. This service is only available to European residents as it was specifically a European Union court ruling.
Google initially fought back against this ruling. A court case was prompted after a Spanish individual requested two links be removed from search results. Google appealed the initial decision earlier this month. Unfortunately for the company, they were unsuccessful, resulting in this new system.
Many critics are concerned that Google will be unable to decide which requests should be accepted. This ruling also grants the company an unparalleled form of internet censorship power. Internet censorship is something many despise as the internet is a very open medium.
Google appears to be very opposed to the idea, with Google co-founder Sergey Brin saying, “I wish we could just forget the ruling.” Brin also commented on the issue of an individuals “right to be forgotten” and other individuals “right to know.” This entire situation is very precarious and Google has a lot of pressure on them to do the right thing when it comes to dealing with this new system.