A Google search page is reflected in sunglasses in this photo illustration taken in Brussels May 30, 2014. Google has taken the first steps to meet a European ruling that citizens can have objectionable links removed from Internet search results, a ruling that pleased privacy campaigners but raised fears that the right can be abused to hide negative information. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir (BELGIUM - Tags: POLITICS SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Google, in compliance to a ruling by the European Union Court of Justice (ECJ) that allows the Europeans' right to be forgotten on the Internet, has created a Web site that will specifically handle such removal requests. On the very first day it was launched, the world's No. 1 Internet search company received a whopping 12,000 removal requests.
What's worrying, however, was that some requests were related to bad activity or convicted crimes.
Google CEO Larry Page, in an interview with the Financial Times, said 31 per cent filed "forgotten" requests related to frauds or scams, 20 per cent for arrests or convictions for violent or serious crimes, 12 per cent were child pornography arrests, five per cent were from the government and police, and two per cent were related to celebrities.
"It will be used by other governments that aren't as forward and progressive as Europe to do bad things," the FT quoted Page.
Removal requests will be examined thoroughly to determine if it meets the ruling's criteria. Take note, requests will be examined individually.
Google's requirements for removal requests on its Web site here:
(a) Provide the URL for each link appearing in a Google search for your name that you request to be removed. (The URL can be taken from your browser bar after clicking on the search result in question). (b) Explain, if not clear, why the linked page is about you (or, if you are submitting this form on behalf of someone else, the person named above). (c) Explain how this URL in search results is irrelevant, outdated, or otherwise inappropriate.
In May, Google lost its fight to an ECJ ruling that stated users' requests to delete information on the internet which are "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant" must be heeded by the technology giant.
Google has at least 500 million users from the region.
The company, while now heeding the court ruling and taking in removal requests, did not provide timeline specifics as to how long irrelevant links will no longer appear on its search pages.
"The court's ruling requires Google to make difficult judgements about an individual's right to be forgotten and the public's right to know," Business Spectator quoted an unidentified Google spokesman.
"The principle that you have a right to be forgotten is a laudable one, but it was never intended to be a way for people to rewrite history," Emma Carr, acting director of the British group Big Brother Watch, earlier told Bloomberg. "Search engines do not host information, and trying to get them to censor legal content from their results is the wrong approach."