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

erase-past

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.

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"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 When evaluating your request, we will look at whether the results include outdated information about you, as well as whether there's a public interest in the information," the form explains.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

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

  1. psycros says:

    "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    include outdated information about you, as well as whether there's a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 public's right to know, huh? So that's why they censor themselves in the Mideast and China? More like Google's right to profit off the most heavily marketed population on Earth. Casting themselves as some kind of public servants when its convenient - that's rich.

  2. Bob Grant says:

    If they start using it for censoring purposes, then I'll be offended... Not before.

    • Mark Wilson says:

      You know that's precisely what people are going to try to do! Google will be indundated with stupid requests from people which will make the job of complying with the EU ruling even more expensive and time-consuming than it should be.

      • Will says:

        Why would any request to be forgotten be stupid?

      • Bob Grant says:

        Requesting a murder case from 3 days ago to be removed is stupid, but it'll be requested all the same.

      • Will says:

        So? They have rights, don't they? Plus it's only erased from Google results, not the websites.

      • Bob Grant says:

        They don't have the right to cover up a murder trial from the public... There are many other things they really have no right to do.

      • Will says:

        Um... they don't do that. I suggest you get informed about this subject. Public knowledge cannot be deleted since it belongs not to one person, but everybody. Lile criminal convictions.

        But a blogger that trashes someone because of said public knowledge, can be hidden.

      • Bob Grant says:

        Why? If you put info up on the internet, it is your decision to reveal that part of your privacy. If it was stolen info, it already gets taken down very rapidly, without anyone having to do something like this. If it is info that could cast you in a bad light, but is still perfectly legit, that is where this comes in. (out of date info is an excuse, and not a very good one at that)

      • Will says:

        Because you didn't give your permission in the first place. And people have a right to be forgotten.

  3. Ant says:

    What about USA?

  4. section 9 says:

    anyone think this is a bit like a certain ctOS from a popular game at the moment

  5. drorharari says:

    Google is making a big mistake in putting itself in the evaluator's role - the next wave of lawsuits will be those of people who got hurt because critical information was removed and they were not able to find it due to (so they will claim) Google's light-hand at purging information.

    Instead, Google should insist that whomever wants to be forgotten would go to court, pay its dues and convice a judge to issue an order to Google to forget the person from its index.

    The benefits are:
    1. Higher barrier of entry means less frivolous claims
    2. The court would take the legal and economical burden off Google
    3. Other search engines could abide by the same

    Maybe in due time, the negative impact would be appreciated and a higher court would reverse this joke of

  6. async2013 says:

    I think this is one if those stupid rulings that the EU rolls out that give more power to the right wing groups in Europe

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