updated 05:44 am EDT, Fri May 30, 2014
EU court ruling over privacy prompts form collecting removal requests
Google is complying with a ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union over the "right to be forgotten." A form has been published on Google's support pages, collecting requests from individuals for Google to consider removing specific listings from its search services in Europe, though it does not state how long it will take for a URL to be hidden from view.
The form explains it is to protect users in cases where search results are "inadequate, irrelevant, or no longer relevant, or excessive in relation to the purposes for which they were processed." Google will then assess individual requests and "attempt to balance the privacy rights of the individual with the public's right to know and distribute information." Items of public interest include "information about financial scams, professional malpractice, criminal convictions, or public conduct of government officials," for example.
According to Search Engine Land, searches for removed content will result in a notification on the results page advising of its removal, similar to existing copyright removal notices. Requests will also only apply to European versions of Google, with the main Google.com search still showing the EU-barred results.
It is unclear when search results will start to be blocked under the ruling. Submitters of the form receive an e-mail back stating "We are currently building our system for removing links from our search results according to EU data protection law. In the meantime, your message is in our queue. Once we have our system up and running, we'll process your request as quickly as our workload permits."
Google reportedly started to receive requests to remove content within hours of the court's ruling, including requests from a politician seeking re-election, a doctor wanting to remove negative reviews from patients, and a convicted pedophile wanting to hide their conviction.