Google's right to be forgotten: what is it? (Topic)

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Google's right to be forgotten: what is it?


Thanks to the relevant legislation in European law, any Internet user can ask Google to remove personal data from search results. Since 2014, the European Court of Justice has ordered the search giant to remove about 2.5 million links.

What is the right to be forgotten?

In May 2014, the European Court of Justice issued a ruling, which stated that EU citizens have the right to ask search services to remove information about them. This is the so-called right to be forgotten. According to Google, in order for a person to exercise this right, information about him must be recognized as "inaccurate or not true." You should also consider whether the information is of interest to the public.

From 2014 to 2017, Google received more than 650 thousand requests to remove 2.4 million links. 43.8% URL was successfully removed. Most often, users demand to remove their data from catalogs (19.1%), news resources (17.7%) and social media services (11.6%).

Most of the requests come to delete information about professional activity (18%), user-generated content (7.7%), data on the commission of crimes (6.1%) and allegations of abuse of office (5.5%).

Most often, applications for data deletion are submitted by individuals (89%). The remaining 11% are politicians, corporate owners and public figures.

Can Google deny the right to be forgotten?

Yes, it can. Each application is considered individually. The refusal may be justified by the technical impossibility of deletion or by the fact that the information is of public importance. Data on recent crimes is not deleted if the defendant was found guilty or if the crime is serious.

What were the successful deletions?

  • A UK resident whose spouse is a public figure has asked Google to remove URLs containing photos of him posing without clothes from search results. Some of the pages contained not a photo, but only a textual description of the scene. The photo URLs were successfully removed, but the description pages remained intact.
  • A UK practitioner asked to remove more than 50 links to newspaper articles describing the failed procedure. Three pages with information about the doctor's personal life, which did not mention the procedure itself, were removed.
  • A statement from the Spaniard requested that the link to the news archive be removed, which stated that the complainant hit a pedestrian 50 years ago. The link to the article has been removed due to the age of the incident.
  • A resident of Sweden asked to remove the posts in which her home address was indicated. All pages have been removed from search results by name.
  • An Italian citizen has sent a request to remove a page where her photo was posted without her knowledge. The request was granted.

When did Google refuse to remove URLs?

  • A resident of the Netherlands asked to remove fifty links with information that he illegally applied for social benefits.
  • A French priest, accused of possessing erotic images of children, requested that an article be removed that referred to an investigation and sentencing.
  • A senior civil servant from Hungary requested that the articles on his criminal record be removed.
  • A Spanish citizen has submitted a request to remove articles stating that the applicant was the leader of a political movement that was subsequently designated as a terrorist group.

All of these requests were denied.

If Google approves the application, does this mean that information about the incident will disappear completely from the Internet?

No. The right to be forgotten only means that links to the page will be removed from search results. The materials themselves will remain on the sites, and if desired, other users can still find them.

The Topic of Article: Google's right to be forgotten: what is it?.
Author: Jake Pinkman