Google gives in, sets up 'forget me' form following EU ruling

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A couple of weeks ago, a European court ruling said that internet users had a "right to be forgotten". Google was at the center of the test case, and the internet giant expressed disappointment at the court's decision that individuals should be able to request that their details be removed from search results. Now a removal request form has been created for those looking to clear their name from search queries.

In order to use the form, individuals are required to provide a "valid form of photo ID". It is then possible to request that information that is "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive in relation to the purposes for which they were processed" be removed. Google has already made it clear that it found the court ruling "disappointing", and the company says that submitting a request is no guarantee of having details removed from search results.

"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. When evaluating your request, we will look at whether the results include outdated information about you, as well as whether there's a public interest in the information," the form explains. While the aim is to balance "the privacy rights of the individual with the public’s right to know and distribute information", there are a few exceptions mentioned right from the offset -- "information about financial scams, professional malpractice, criminal convictions, or public conduct of government officials".

The form only covers European countries and it's possible that it will change over time. "This form is an initial effort. We look forward to working closely with data protection authorities and others over the coming months as we refine our approach", says Google.

But one thing is certain: the task of balancing personal privacy, public interest, and censorship is going to be a tricky one, and Google is likely to be inundated with requests from people who are unhappy about appearing in search results.

Image Credit: Lane V. Erickson / Shutterstock

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