Saturday 7 December 2019

Google does U-turn on some deleted links in 'Right to be Forgotten' cases

Google has started removing information
Google has started removing information
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

GOOGLE has begun to reinstate deleted search results to newspaper articles after admitting that its process of removing links under an EU 'right to be forgotten' law was suffering "teething problems".

The search giant, which employs almost 3,000 people in Dublin, has received 562 requests in Ireland for the removal of search result links to articles based on a search of a person's name.

The requests relate to 1,962 different links. Google has declined to comment on how many links it has deleted here or which media publications' articles have been most targeted.

The search giant said that it was receiving 1,000 requests per day under the new law, which gives EU citizens a right to demand the removal of links to "irrelevant, outdated, inadequate or excessive" information about themselves.

Google said that it had received 70,000 requests around Europe. The 562 Irish deletion requests compare to 8,497 deletion requests for Britain, 12,678 for Germany and 14,086 for France.

Last week, the 'Guardian' and the BBC were informed that Google searches linking to separate articles about former Merrill Lynch banker Stan O'Neal and a Scottish football referee had been removed under the ruling. Some links to these articles have now been reinstated after journalists and newspapers raised awareness of their removal.

Under the new EU law, 'public interest' exceptions can be made to removal requests, decided by Google and the Data Protection Commissioner, Billy Hawkes.

Privacy campaigners have welcomed the new law, saying it bolsters personal privacy online. However, freedom-of-expression advocates have criticised the judgment, arguing that it could introduce censorship.

The law applies to internet searches based on an individual's name, but only applies to searches conducted within the European Union. Google has added a disclaimer at the bottom of search pages stating that "some results may have been removed under data protection law in Europe".

Comment: Why we need clear and transparent guidelines, P27

Irish Independent

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