Google starts removing links for 'right to be forgotten' searches

European Google users may now see a warning when they search for a name, which says that certain search results had been removed as per a ruling in May.
By Ananth Baliga  |  June 26, 2014 at 12:17 PM
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MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., June 26 (UPI) -- Google said Thursday it has begun removing links from search results in compliance with the European Union's 'right to be forgotten' ruling.

The landmark ruling makes it mandatory for search engines to removes links to outdated information about people for privacy reasons. Google said it has updated its technical infrastructure, started removing links and started sending emails to people informing them that their request had been fulfilled. The company said it has only removed a small number of links, not all of the 41,000 requests they received after the ruling came out in May.

"This week we're starting to take action on the removals requests that we've received," a Google spokesman 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."

Google has consented to regulators' request to not indicate that certain search results have been removed. Google normally attaches a notice telling incoming users that certain links were deleted, usually in the case of pirated content.

The company had indicated that it would highlight the removal of links, but the EU shot back saying it would undermine the decision that sought to protect a person's privacy.

Google resolved the issue Thursday by adding a notification at the bottom of most results saying, "Some results may have been removed under data protection law in Europe."

The tech giant seems to be complying with the EU after facing multiple investigations into antitrust and tax issues. The EU assured Google that all 28 member nations will attempt to work out a uniform policy to interpret the decision.

The ruling had freedom of speech advocates in the U.S. arguing that it would enable Internet censorship, but privacy advocates said that isn't the case since the links are only removed from name searches.

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