Google: "we need more time to 'forget' people"

Google has said in a public statement that it could take weeks before they will be able to properly comply with 'right to be forgotten' requests.

After the top European court's ruling last Tuesday, any individual living in the EU can ask Google to remove results linking to pages containing personal details from their search results. Since then, Google has reportedly been flooded with such requests from people eager to effectively vanish from the public internet.

However, the volume of requests has reputedly been so great that the company is now having to actively devise a new method of dealing with them in order to satisfy the public. Today, the search giant warned that a system that complies fully with the EU's ruling "could take several weeks" to build and implement. By that time it looks likely that a huge backlog of 'right to be forgotten' requests will have built up in the company's pigeon holes. Potentially, it could take months before people actually see links to personal details of theirs removed from Google's search results.

The issue arises due to the sheer scale of Google's internet indexing. Each person may have data of theirs publicly viewable on dozens of websites and it is now Google's responsibility to find and remove all of these links. The issue is complicated as Google must also decide whether they should refuse a request as 'being in the public interest' and of the varying languages that data may be found in.

The EU's ruling has drawn great controversy over the past week as people take varying stances as to whether this will turn out to be good or bad for the internet. There are also concerns that it could enable criminals to erase dodgy records of themselves online before investigators or detectives can find them. This could inhibit serious criminal investigations into dangerous or wanted people.

Regardless of what happens next in the fight over whether the EU's ruling was just or not, one thing is definite: Submit a 'right to be forgotten' request to Google now and you may not see any action for the foreseeable future.

Source: Japan Today | Image via CBC News

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