Sunday 21 January 2018

First Irish litigants seek removal of their names from Google searches

Many requests to Google for removal of links have come from criminals.
Many requests to Google for removal of links have come from criminals.
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Irish court litigants have begun requesting the removal of their names from Google's search engine results, according to the Irish Data Protection Commissioner.

The watchdog said that "approximately" 20 people had contacted its offices seeking advice on how to have their names removed from the world's biggest search engine in the wake of last week's European Court of Justice ruling, which gives citizens new rights to delete references to them from internet searches.

"We have received a small number of queries, approximately 20, about this matter since the judgment," said a spokesman for the Data Protection Commissioner.

"Approximately half of those queries received to date are requesting general advice as to how to go about requesting the removal of links without providing us with any detail of what those links might refer to.


"The remaining queries appear to refer to the removal of search links to media articles which document court cases involving the particular individual."

Google has not disclosed how many requests it has received in Ireland to remove links. In the immediate aftermath of last week's ruling, the search engine said that it had received 1,000 queries relating to the removal of links and that many came from convicted criminals.

The British deputy director of data protection has warned that the judgment will be "difficult" to implement.

"We recognise that there will be difficult judgments to make on whether links should be removed," said David Smith.

"It is important to remember that the exemption for journalism, art and literature ... can be applied by media organisations, bloggers and other publishers of information, depending on the circumstances."

Irish Independent

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