Saturday, June 7, 2014

Google Agreed to Comply with “Right to Be Forgotten”

The search giant will try to comply with the European “right to be forgotten” rules that have been widely discussed over the last days, and has launched a service through which people can request that links about them be taken off search results.

Google is known for processing over 90% of all web searches in Europe. The company had to act quickly to satisfy the demands of the EU court to comply with the recent ruling, and made available a webform allowing people to submit their requests. However, Google didn’t specify when it would remove the required links.

The company had to convene a committee of senior executives and independent experts in order to hatch out a long-term plan to deal with tons of requests from Europe. Now the new service provided by the company says it will assess each individual request and try to balance the privacy rights of people with the public’s right to know and distribute information.

The company says that when evaluating requests, it will consider whether the search results do include outdated information and whether there’s a public interest in it – like information about criminal convictions, professional malpractice, or the public conduct of government officials.

The webform allows users to submit the links they want to be removed from the search results and explain why the information is irrelevant, outdated, or otherwise inappropriate. Before sending a request, an individual must submit a digital copy of an official ID – for instance, valid driver’s license – and choose from a drop-down menu of 32 European countries the one whose law applies in the case.

The recent court ruling of the European Union placed the search giant in a tricky position, and now Google strives to interpret the broad criteria for objectionable links and to remove them from the results. Failure to do so may result in series of fines. In the meantime, the company has already received thousands of removal requests since the ruling.

It wasn’t announced when Google would start to remove any links, as the company is only working to finalize the implementation of removal requests. At the moment, European citizens can please fill out the form and wait for a notification when Google starts processing the request.

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