Europe’s Right to be Forgotten Law: Google Must Delete Embarrassing Information Upon Request

Google deletes personal information upon request, as per European Law. (Photo: JoeQ/JournalismForTheSoul.com)

Google deletes personal information upon request, as per European Law. (Photo: JoeQ/JournalismForTheSoul.com)

Google implements Europe’s Right to be Forgotten Law

Those dreadful and unflattering information about someone’s identity in the Internet, can now be deleted and be forgotten, as if they never existed after all.

This is a big relief since everybody thought that such information would haunt them forever.

The European Union’s top court ruled on May 13, 2014, that individuals now have the right to request the removal of embarrassing Internet search results tied to their names.

The Law stated that, ”Data-processing systems are designed to serve man; … they must…respect [a person’s] fundamental rights and freedoms, notably the right to privacy, and contribute to … the well-being of individuals.”

Historically, Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful for public use; however, the CJEU’s ruling constitutes a significant change on Google’s future potential.

While still concerned about its impact, Google, one of the giant search engines, nevertheless, implemented the removal process immediately, and released its webform request application to the public.

Google believes that it is important to respect the Court’s judgment and vowed to work hard to establish a process that complies with the law.

The Right to be Forgotten Law (Photo: JoeQ/JournalismForThe Soul.com)

The Right to be Forgotten Law (Photo: JoeQ/JournalismForThe Soul.com)

“This can be viewed as a good measure to promote Reputation Management amongst concerned individuals in crisis,” said Nina Gecosala, a recent graduate of a Public Relations degree program.

Google has employed steadfast teams to process each request, but admits that the evaluation may take longer due to the increased in volume the company has already received. According to The Wall Street Journal, Google received more that 41,000 removal request via its web form, as of last month.

Google says that the Right to be Forgotten law involves a complex process

“This is a complicated process because we need to assess each individual request and balance the rights of the individual to control his or her personal data with the public’s right to know and distribute information,” stated Google.

According to Google’s FAQ page, when evaluating a request, Google looks at whether the results include outdated information, as well as whether there’s a public interest in the information—for example, information about financial scams, professional malpractice, criminal convictions, or public conduct of government officials. It added that the results shown would need to be inadequate, irrelevant, no longer relevant, or excessive, in order to qualify for removal.

“These are difficult judgments, and as a private organization, we may not be in a good position to decide every case. If some disagree with our decision, they can contact their local DPA,” stated Google.

Nina Gecosala, Public Relations graduate. (Photo: JoeQ/JournalismForTheSoul.com)

Nina Gecosala, Public Relations graduate. (Photo: JoeQ/JournalismForTheSoul.com)

Google deletes only on Google pages, but not the entire web.

Google emphasized, however, that it couldn’t remove contents directly from individual websites; hence, removing search results from Google wouldn’t necessarily remove the content entirely in the web. If something from the web needs to be removed, the content Webmaster should be contacted directly.

The Right to be Forgotten Law is for Europe only

“Eventually I would like to see its universal application to Google worldwide, since this law pertains only to European jurisdiction for now,” said Gecosala.

© 2014 Joe Quintana

 

 

 

Author: Joe Quintana, M.A. | Multimedia Journalist
Editor-in-Chief at Journalism for the Soul
Master of Arts - Multimedia Journalism.