On May 13th, Europe's highest court ruled that citizens had the “right to be forgotten” by the Internet, and that they had the right to ask search engines to remove search results about themselves. While the pages of a person's Internet history are not scrubbed clean from the face of the Internet, European officials deemed that search engines could no longer link to these pages as specified by the individual. Google, which is Europe's largest search engine along with the rest of the world, has bent to their request and provided a form for European citizens to register URLs.
Despite the fact that Google is cooperating with the request, the company is still very vocal about the fact that they are not happy with the ruling. Despite Google's obvious vested interest in having as many websites available on their search engine as possible, it also fear this could be abused by people for political reasons, such as having a poor depiction in a news story.
To protect against this kind of abuse, Google is asking users to list every page they want omitted from their search results, along with a written explanation of why that particular URL contains information that is “irrelevant, outdated, or otherwise inappropriate.” To ensure that the individuals requesting a lock down on information are actually who they say they are (and not simply committing fraud), Google is also asking for photo ID such as a driver's license or a national ID card.
Google executives still voice their concern over the ruling with voices like Google co-founder Sergey Brin saying, “I wish we could just forget the ruling.” Ultimately Google will be reviewing the forms themselves, but one can't help but wonder if the process could have been made easier than asking users to provide such detailed responses for every single URL removed. Could Google be intentionally making the process more difficult than it needs to be? Or is Google simply being thorough?
TechZone360 Contributing Writer
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