Google grants one third of 'right to be forgotten' requests

Google has published statistics on how it's handing delinking requests under Europe's 'right to be forgotten'.
Written by Jo Best, Contributor

Google has shed some light on how it's dealing with 'right to be forgotten' requests.

The right to be forgotten was brought in earlier this year when the European Court of Justice decided that individuals have the right to ask data controllers, including search engines, to stop providing links to outdated, excessive or irrelevant material for searches performed on their name.

In late May, Google launched a form allowing Europeans to file such requests. Since then, the company has received requests from almost 145,000 individuals asking Google to stop returning links to nearly 500,000 URLs in search results for their name. According to figures released on Friday, Google has assented to around one-third of those requests, and rejected two-thirds.

With search engines currently waiting for official guidance from the EC, Google must decide independently which requests are valid. Its criteria have til now remained opaque, and it has made several high-profile public U-turns on delinking requests.

Today, company has provided some insight into which cases it approves and rejects, describing a handful of cases across Europe and the decisions it made. Among those requests where it agreed to remove links are the case of a woman in Italy requesting that searches for her name no longer included articles about a crime she was a victim of years ago. Similarly, it also removed links about the rape of a German woman from search results about her.

Other cases that were rejected included a man in the UK who asked for stories about his dismissal from his job due to sexual crimes he committed to be removed. An Italian man who had committed fraud and a UK clergyman who had been investigated on suspicion of abuse also had their delinking requests rejected.

Under the European Court of Justice ruling, such results can continue to be displayed in searches for an individual's name where there is a public interest.

Google also said on Friday that the site that it removes links to most is Facebook, followed closely by profileengine.com and YouTube.

The largest number of individuals making right to be forgotten requests come from France, with nearly 29,000, followed by Germany with around 25,000, and the UK at just over 18,000, according to Google.

Read more on the right to be forgotten


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