Over 12,000 requests have poured out within 24 hours after Google launched the "right to be forgotten" campaign. This involves removing personal details of European users in the search engine results.
The campaign was part of Google's initial steps in relation to a recent European court ruling that users can request to have their personal data extracted from the search engine. Under the ruling, search results that are inadequate, irrelevant or excessive can be eliminated.
Reuters reported EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said, "It was about time, since European data protection laws have existed since 1995. We will now need to look into how the announced tool will work in practice."
EU citizens may request to have their personal data removed from the search results by filling out the online "right to be forgotten" form from Google. They have to explain the reason such details need to be removed. They also have to provide a copy of a valid form of personal identification and the link where the irrelevant, outdated or inappropriate page was located to prevent fraudulent removal requests. An attorney or other authorized representative can also process the request on behalf of the concerned individual.
Each submitted request from the online form will be treated on a case-to-case basis, although Google had not yet provided details when the implementation of removal requests will commence.
Google cited personal details like financial scams, professional malpractice, criminal convictions or public conduct of government officials will be evaluated to strike a balance between outdated personal data and public interest.
Kevin Hauzeur from the Belgian Pirate Party cited Google's early steps to take down personal data are still inadequate. In an article from Euronews, Hauzeur said, "Firstly, the Internet user may feel tricked because Google asks for a photo ID card to validate the request, which is a problem with regard to privacy rights. Also, the user will have to repeat the procedure with other Web sites and search engines. Google insists that it won't be the one ruling on the requests, but it will be the national regulatory bodies."
Although it will be Google who will decide to remove the link from the search engine results, it will be the 28 national data protection agencies across the European Union (EU) who will oversee any disagreements. With that, it will only be the search engine result which will be removed by Google not the content itself.
There is no word yet when Google's "right to be forgotten" campaign will be available in Australia and other non-EU countries worldwide. For EU citizens who wished to have their personal details removed, please click here for the online form.