Google caves to EU 'right to be forgotten' ruling, adds submit form

The European Court of Justice recently imposed a ruling, allowing users to remove themselves from search engine results page. Named 'right to be forgotten', search engines can hide results if a specific name appears in a query. This could potentially allow for a more censored cyberspace in which figures could remove information of their choice. The ruling states that individuals should only be allowed to remove outdated data or information irrelevant to their public image. 

It was apparent Google weren't too happy with the ruling, openly attacking the law, claiming it to be "disappointing" and "has the potential to give cheer to repressive regimes". Head boss Larry Page furthered these remarks by claiming it could "damage innovation". 

Page also expressed his regret for not being more involved in the debate, he wished Google played a larger role in the process. He also admitted Google had been caught out on this ruling, and promised a deeper level of engagement for future European affairs.

The article quotes Mr Page, saying:

I wish we’d been more involved in a real debate . . . in Europe. That’s one of the things we’ve taken from this, that we’re starting the process of really going and talking to people.

Three weeks on, and it looks like the company is finally complying with the 'right to be forgotten' scheme. Google now allow EU citizens to apply for the extra privacy, which can be achieved through completing an online form. Those who do apply must attach a a drivers license, national ID card or photo ID to prevent fraudulent removal requests. It may be worth noting that Google received a swarm of requests prior to the application form being available.

All in all it's good to see Google keeping relationships positive, bowing down to the European Union. The open criticism of the ruling may have previously attracted attention, but to see the tech giant ultimately cooperate with the global justice system, is not really a surprise.

Source: Google via Financial Times | EU flags in front of European Commission by Shutterstock

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22 Comments

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How does this actually work

Say someone with the same name as me requests to be removed....does that mean anyone with that name is omitted? how do google target specific content?

Yeah, here's the problem with you people - out from one ditch and into another. Either it's privacy violation or censorship the likes of China. Isn't there a middle ground?

I hope Google is only censoring this information on searches from the EU. You can't have countries extending their ridiculous censorship laws to the rest of the world. Just imagine if China could do that.

Its the EU and if you want to operate there, you have to abide by their laws like everyone else. May not like or agree with it...but thats how things work and always have.

those old fools of legislators probably dont know what's win8.1 yet they make choices that affect the whole grid.. EU is pathetic

The EU has led the way with consumer protections, environmental policy and human rights. It saddens me that some people don't understand the importance of this ruling. Big businesses shouldn't have the unrestricted ability to use the personal information of individuals for their own financial gain, especially in cases where it is outdated and prejudicial - only when it is in the public interest should it remain.

Yes, you clearly have a handle on everything for everyone, congratulations... You've been promoted to Lord Commander of the Universe. /s

theyarecomingforyou said,
The EU has led the way with consumer protections, environmental policy and human rights. It saddens me that some people don't understand the importance of this ruling [...]

Great comment. I find this ruling perfect. No company or individual should hold someone's data without their consent (of course there are exceptions like you said, such as sex offender's list, etc).

The heart of the matter here is that there are organisations willing to monetise on people's information in a very aggressive matter, such as bot-sites which crawl people's details and ask for payment in order to have such information removed.

Trying to equalise this law to 'burning books' is intellectual dishonesty to say the least. I am personally tired of this foreign companies coming to the EU and pissing around our rules and directives. Here in the EU, we protect the people's right of privacy, which means a person should have the final word about which site can hold his/her information -- and it does NOT matter if the person chooses to share information on site A and does not want to share the same information on site B. It is *OUR* data and we have the right do decide the where and when.

nonsense.. freedom of information is the cornerstone of the internet.. if everyone choose and pick what information is actually published then bye bye.. and this has nothing to do with companies blackmailing or unlawfully monetizing personal information.. there are rules against that they only need to be enforced.. and stop this nationalistic idiocy

Badcat007 said,
nonsense.. freedom of information is the cornerstone of the internet.. if everyone choose and pick what information is actually published then bye bye.. and this has nothing to do with companies blackmailing or unlawfully monetizing personal information.. there are rules against that they only need to be enforced.. and stop this nationalistic idiocy

Freedom of information should not include your personal information and past history.

Odom said,

Freedom of information should not include your personal information and past history.

Even past history that is in the public domain like papers and stuff? And if their is no personal information or past history what is there!? News articles that appear for one day then disappear never to be seen again? I am not talking about private information but personal (like your name or public announcements) and past history (so and so went out of business) needs to be available. If people are stupid enough to make a pick about someone based on 20 years ago they foreclosed on a home then that is fortunate they aren't doing dealings with that type of person. By my goodness, this is censorship of actions. Trying to erase the past that happened in the public spaces. Sad...

Odom said,

Freedom of information should not include your personal information and past history.

Correct. Unless of course the information fall into the legal constraints of EU directives and national laws (e.g. sex offenders list).

And once again. Just because I want my information publicly published at site A does not mean I give site B, C or D the same right. That's an idiotic reasoning.

Scabrat said,
By my goodness, this is censorship of actions. Trying to erase the past that happened in the public spaces. Sad...
No it's not. This is about corporations exploiting personal information for their own financial gain. If information is in the public interest it's protected by this ruling. Also, there is no private space these days. Imagine walking into a shop and they decided to record your conversations and sell them to other customers or advertisers - that would be considered outrageous yet that's seemingly accepted on the internet.

theyarecomingforyou said,
No it's not. This is about corporations exploiting personal information for their own financial gain. If information is in the public interest it's protected by this ruling. Also, there is no private space these days. Imagine walking into a shop and they decided to record your conversations and sell them to other customers or advertisers - that would be considered outrageous yet that's seemingly accepted on the internet.

Really? Cause the ruling was based off of "Searching his name returned a 16 year old newspaper article about the repossession of his home to cover debts."

Based off what? Oh, a newspaper article... A newspaper article. Not a conversation that was taped. He searched his name and found it because its public. And when you remove something that is public that is censorship...

But it was an outdated article (the debts had long since been repaid) and Google's only interest in it was the advertising revenue it generated. It created a misleading and defamatory impression of the individual. I would argue there isn't any public interest in that as a search result, as the article was obsolete and he isn't a public figure.

theyarecomingforyou said,
But it was an outdated article (the debts had long since been repaid) and Google's only interest in it was the advertising revenue it generated. It created a misleading and defamatory impression of the individual. I would argue there isn't any public interest in that as a search result, as the article was obsolete and he isn't a public figure.

It didnt create a defamatory impression of the individual. Nor was it misleading.

Defamatory - (of remarks, writing, etc.) damaging the good reputation of someone; slanderous or libelous.

Slanderous - (of a spoken statement) false and malicious.

Libel - a published false statement that is damaging to a person's reputation; a written defamation.

Misleading - giving the wrong idea or impression.

Nothing about that newspaper article was wrong. It was public fact. I would argue the public should be able to determine what is in their interests to search for. That is part of public information. Or do you think all public records should be closed up after 5 years?

I would also argue that you need to have public records searchable because its declared to the public. Whether anyone searches for it doesnt matter. But deleting search results of public record you are censoring the public record. Censorship of public records is never a good thing.

Censorship - the practice of officially examining books, movies, etc., and suppressing unacceptable parts.

What ad revenue was it going to get from that guy if no one was searching for it? The debit was repaid when he lost his house, so does that mean no foreclosures should be shown? And, should only public figures be able to be published in newspaper articles?

This is just rewriting history. Thats what censorship does. The guy lost his house cause he couldnt pay for it. It was 16 years ago. Its a fact that shouldnt be swiped away.

D. FiB3R said,
This is ######, almost like burning books, if you ask me.

I agree. Public record shouldnt be changed. Its like changing history. Or trying to.

"Those who do apply must attach a a drivers license, national ID card or photo ID to prevent fraudulent removal requests"
lol what, OK so you try and protect your anonymity online but must give up your identity to the biggest advertiser.. whats this googles last ditch effort to put a name to a profile? ala YouTube give us your real name bs ;P

oh and if you think they won't keep your ID data you need to shake your head, they stole everyones wireless access point data globally and said OOPS

Edited by dingl_, May 30 2014, 10:53am :

Wow, paranoia at its best. God for bid a company would want proof that it is your data they are removing and not letting random people remove others data. Its not like any other company or government agency requests this.....