You can have the right to “be forgotten” online, but only in Europe, OK?
Last May, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that Google users had the “Right to be Forgotten,” meaning they can petition Google to remove search engine results about them. In response to the ruling, the tech giant put together an advisory committee, including Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
Led by executive chairman Eric Schmidt and Google’s chief legal officer David Drummond, the committee recently released a 44-page report following public meetings held in seven European cities this fall, laying out the criteria and procedure for removing the results. Ultimately, they argue that the ruling should be limited to the EU and not applied on a global scale.
The committee writes, “Over 95 percent of all queries originating in Europe are on local versions of the search engine…we believe that delistings applied to the European versions of search will, as a general rule, protect the rights of the data subject adequately in the current state of affairs and technology.”
In Google’s Transparency Report, the company says it has “evaluated” 769,858 URLs for removal, and has taken down about 40 percent of the processed requests that have been made across Europe. In the post about the report, the company described the type of requests they get as pertaining to “serious criminal records, embarrassing photos, instances of online bullying and name-calling, decades-old allegations, negative press stories, and more.”
How much weight the report will carry is unclear, but for now Google is putting its foot down on being forgotten.