Google Starts Granting ‘Right To Be Forgotten’ Requests In Europe

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Google is now complying in full with a European Court Of Justice ruling last month which requires it to remove specific personal information from search results when an individual has made a request for the removal of “outdated” or “irrelevant” information about them.

A search for a person’s name on a European Google website now includes the following disclaimer flagging up the fact that some information may have been removed — and including a link to a Google FAQ explaining why:

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The same search on Google.com does not bring up the disclaimer as the ECJ ruling only requires Google remove information from European search results.

Celebrity names appear not to trigger the disclaimer — which suggests Google may be refusing requests from high profile individuals on the grounds of a public interest ‘right to know’.

Speaking to the FT newspaper about its right to be forgotten assessment process, Google said: “This is a new process for us. Each request has to be assessed individually, and we’re working as quickly as possible to get through the queue. We’ll continue to work with data protection authorities and others as we implement this ruling.”

Mountain View said it plans to start the takedown process slowly and speed up once it is confident its assessment systems are working properly.

It also told the paper that it has started to notify individuals whose requests it will not be granting, as well as those whose requests need more information for it to process properly.

The owners of websites affected by the takedowns will also apparently be notified.

As of last week, Google had received more than 50,000 requests from Europeans wanting personal data to be removed from its index — including some 12,000 requests made in the first 24 hours of Mountain View implementing an official channel where people can submit a request.

A Google spokesman declined to give any update on those figures.

The webform for submitting a request to Google to remove personal data can be found here.