Google starts accepting 'right to be forgotten' requests in Europe

The company set up a page where people can submit their requests

Google has started accepting requests from Europeans wanting to remove search links to information on them that they find objectionable, following a controversial ruling earlier this month by the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Asserting the people's right to be forgotten after a certain time, the court ruled that people who want search engines to forget them by removing search results referring to their names can file a request to do so directly with the operator of the search engine, which must then assess the merits of the request. A refusal by the operator can be appealed in a court.

Search engines can be asked to remove results for queries that include their name where those results are "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive in relation to the purposes for which they were processed," the court ordered.

A removal request form was set up by Google on Friday, asking users to submit the URL (uniform resource locator) for each link referring to the person that appears in a Google search that the user would like removed. It allows users to submit requests on behalf of themselves and others they represent, but wants information on how the linked page is about the affected person, and why the URL in search results is "irrelevant, outdated, or otherwise inappropriate."

Google described the form as an initial effort and said it planned to work closely with data protection authorities and others over the coming months to refine its approach.

The EU court ruling has raised concerns that it could violate freedom of expression and the right of the public to know, as it could be used to prevent posts that criticize governments and other people in authority from appearing in search results.

"In implementing this decision, we will assess each individual request and attempt to balance the privacy rights of the individual with the public's right to know and distribute information," Google wrote in the introduction to the form.

When evaluating a user request, the Internet company will check whether the results include outdated information about the person, as well as "whether there's a public interest in the information--for example, information about financial scams, professional malpractice, criminal convictions, or public conduct of government officials."

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags GooglesecurityCivil lawsuitslegalinternetsearch enginesprivacy

More about EUGoogleIDG

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by John Ribeiro

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place