Google Struggling to Find Balance After EU "Right to be Forgotten' Ruling

June 09, 2014
By: Oliver VanDervoort

While Google has certainly reaped quite a few benefits from being the undisputed champion of the Internet search, there have been some bumps along the road to that crown. Among those bumps is a landmark EU privacy ruling that has changed the way the search giant is allowed to display results. Google (News - Alert) has announced plans to flag up search results it has had to censor following a ruling having to do with European citizens who want to right to demand information on the web be erased.

In the aftermath of the ruling, Google is considering putting an alert on the bottom of each page when it has removed links. This would be the company’s way of abiding by the “Right to be Forgotten” ruling. The ruling only applies to those living in the EU territories so far, but it seems possible the same kind of thing could be coming to other territories sooner, rather than later.

The ruling means that people can now ask for links to "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant" material to be removed from Google’s search results. The info will of course, not be removed from the original web page, since Google doesn’t and shouldn’t have that power. The info deemd inaccurate or irrelevant will just be a lot harder to find if someone is looking for it through Google.

Since the ruling, the search engine has received tens of thousands of requests from people looking to have their information removed from search results. Google doesn’t have to comply with every single request that is entered using its new online form. Instead the search giant must decide whether the information loss is in the public’s best interest.

Because that can be a rather loose term, Google has set up an advisory council made up of several Internet bigwigs including Eric Schmidt and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales (News - Alert). Wales in particular has been vocal in his disagreement with the ruling, claiming this serves as a form of censorship.




Edited by Maurice Nagle