Google Evaluates 1m ‘Right To Be Forgotten’ Links

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Google said it has received more than 280,000 ‘right to be forgotten’ requests since last year

Google has evaluated more than 1 million links submitted in “right to be forgotten” requests since last year’s landmark European Court of Justice ruling.

The ruling in May of last year obliged search engines to remove links to outdated information about individuals if requested to do so. Google, who has by far the largest search engine market share in Europe, has protested against the law and began publishing transparency reports indicating how it is complying.

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In the latest, published on Monday, Google said it has considered 1,027,495 URLs as part of a total of 282,508 requests, removing 41.3 percent in all.

In the UK Google has received 35,331 requests comprising 138,735 URLs, and removed 37.5 percent of them.

France submitted the most requests, at 58,487, for a total of 197,593 web addresses, while Liechtenstein submitted the least, with 70, for a total of 139 addresses.

Google released examples of how it responded to some of the requests, as it tried to evaluate whether the information was outdated or not.

In one case an individual was convicted of serious crimes within the last five years, but the conviction was overturned on appeal. Google complied, removing links to articles reporting the original conviction.

Other successful requests included that of a teacher in Germany who was convicted of a minor crime more than 10 years previously. Google agreed to remove links to reports of the crime from searches for the teacher’s name.

Google also agreed to remove links to web pages listing a Swedish woman’s address from searches for her name. The search engine removed links to a decades-old report of an Italian woman’s husband’s murder from searches for her name.

Unsuccessful requests

Unsuccessful requests included that of a high-ranking Hungarian public official, who requested the removal of links to recent articles discussing a decades-old criminal conviction, and a French priest’s request to remove links to reports of his conviction for possessing child pornography.

In another example, Google removed only some of the links submitted by a UK doctor who had asked for the removal of dozens of links reports about a procedure that had gone wrong from searches for his name. Google only removed the articles that included personal information about the doctor, but didn’t mention the procedure.

Facebook was the site most affected by the requests, with 8,016 links being removed, with other social networks such as Twitter, Badoo, Google Plus and Google Groups also ranking high on the list. Sites that automatically gather data about individuals were also affected, including profileengine.com, which ranked second-highest with 6,698 links removed. YouTube ranked third with 4,540 links removed.

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