Google Prepares to Comply with ECJ’s “Right to be Forgotten” (6/25)     Print

By Kelsey Fraser and Lauren Gieseke, Editorial Assistants

Within 24 hours of the European Court of Justice’s ruling on the so-called “right to be forgotten,” Google received over 12,000 individual requests for the exclusion of links to personal data from search results. EU citizens can now request the removal of such information via an online form (found here).

With this form, Google is making an effort to comply with the ECJ’s decision on May 13th that ruled Google is subject to EU data protection rules and required to delete certain personal information on request. As of May 30th, EU citizens have more control over the search engine, as they are entitled to submit a removal request for specific links that may breach their right to privacy. The links will only be removed from searches conducted through an engine’s European operations.

To remove a link, the petitioner must provide the reason why the information is irrelevant, outdated, or inappropriate. He or she must also provide photo identification of the requestor. The final decision about content removal will be made by Google’s legal team which reviews each request, weighing the public’s right to access the information in question against the individual’s right to control it – with some preference given to the individual. If a request to remove links is denied by Google, the individual who filed the original request can take the decision to a local data protection authority for review. At the end of June, Google will begin removing user requested links to online content deemed to comply with the Court.

The EU’s battle over the “right to be forgotten” is already echoing across the Atlantic. On June 19th, a Canadian judge ordered Google to take down all links for an industrial equipment firm called Datalink. A ruling in December 2012 forbade the company from internet sales, although its owners continued operations from abroad. If it stands, the verdict—which, unlike the ECJ’s, specifically targets Google searches—will apply to all of the search engine’s worldwide operations, even those outside Canada.