Sunday 18 March 2018

Google in U-turn on 'Independent' court article after appeal

Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

AN appeal by the Irish Independent has resulted in a U-turn by Google on preventing access to Irish newspaper reports of a criminal assault that occurred in Limerick seven years ago.

Earlier this month, the internet giant removed search result links to Irish Independent and 'Herald' articles on the criminal conviction of University of Limerick lecturer Dr Frederic Royall, who assaulted student Hooman Reyhani in a 2007 football-related incident. Other newspapers' articles were also affected by the removal.

The Irish Independent appealed Google's removal decision, leading to the reinstatement of the search result links in the last two days.

A spokesman for the company declined to outline the reasons for the initial removal of the links.

He said that the company was not allowed to disclose the source of the request for the links' removal, as to do so would frustrate the privacy law.

However, the company's chief legal officer, David Drummond, has admitted that the firm has made mistakes in its first weeks of implementing a new EU privacy law. The law allows people to ask for the removal of search results that are "irrelevant, outdated, inadequate or excessive" in relation to their personal information.

Two weeks ago, Google wrongly removed links to articles published by 'The Guardian' newspaper and the BBC.

It later reinstated the links.

Under EU privacy rules, Google is entitled to decline requests for search result removal if the link is considered to be "in the public interest".

However, the search giant must decide itself which links are in the "public interest" and which are not.


Irish Independent

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