Google allows Europeans to be ‘forgotten’ online

Google on Thursday began allowing European citizens to request the removal of embarrassing or objectionable search results about their personal lives.

The move was made to comply with this month’s landmark ruling by Europe’s highest court, which said individuals have the “right to be forgotten” online.

Europeans from 32 countries can now access an online form to explain what links they want removed and why the results are “irrelevant, outdated, or otherwise inappropriate.”

Employees at Google will then decide whether it is in the public interest to keep the links accessible or remove them from search results in Europe.

Google did not say how long it would take for the results to disappear. Thousands of removal requests have been made since the ruling.

For now, Google says the search results will only be altered in Europe. It remains to be seen if the ruling will also trigger similar decisions elsewhere.

Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt has said he is disappointed with the decision by the European Union Court of Justice, but says he will work with authorities to implement the ruling.

The California-based company has formed an advisory committee, made up of Google executives and outside experts, to deal with how to balance privacy rights with the public’s right to access information.


(Photo: Enrique Dans)