Google Rejects Nearly Half Of All Removal Requests

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Right to be forgotten? Probably not, according to figures released by Google

Google has revealed many people looking to conceal details about their past using its ‘Right to be Forgotten’ programme may be in for a nasty shock.

The search giant revealed that it has rejected nearly half (41.3 percent) of requests for content to be removed since it began the process on May 29, 2014. However, these findings were disputed by privacy website Forget.me, which put the figure at nearly 70 percent.

In its latest Transparency Report, Google said that it received 253,617 requests for content to be removed in its first year. After beginning with a high of around 1,500 per day in the first three months, the number of requests then dropped to the current level of about 500 per day.

Erase delete forget right to be forgotten key © Sarawut Aiemsinsuk ShutterstockForgive and forget?

This figure includes 32, 143 requests from the UK, concerning 126,799 URLs – however, only 37.6 percent were actually removed.

This included a ‘media professional’, who asked Google to four links to articles reporting on embarrassing content he posted to the Internet – although these were not removed.

Another case saw a British doctor who requested Google remove more than 50 links to newspaper articles about a botched procedure. Three pages that contained personal information about the doctor but did not mention the procedure have been removed from search results for his name, but the rest of the links to reports on the incident remain in search results.

This means the UK contributes over 12 percent of all requests in the first year of ‘Right to be Forgotten’, an increase from last October, when Google revealed its first set of figures, where the UK was responsible for only 10 percent of requests.

Google noted that social media sites made up a significant portion of URLs removed, including 6,805 from Facebook, 2,572 from Twitter, and 2,856 from Google Plus, as well as 3,948 YouTube URLs.

The ‘Right to be Forgotten’ was the result of a ruling in May 2014 by the Court of Justice of the European Union concerning users right to request the removal details of past activities that had been published online.

The court ruled in favour of Spanish man Mario Costeja González who had claimed that an auction notice about his repossessed house in Catalonia dating from 1998 should no longer appear when someone typed his name into Google.

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