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Google Gives EU Users The "Right To Be Forgotten"

Tim Maytom

Google Logo IRLGoogle has launched a service enabling European citizens to request that links containing objectionable material about them be taken off of search results, its first step towards complying with the EU Court of Justice ruling that affirmed the "right to be forgotten".

Google will evaluate requests based on whether the results include outdated information, and if there is a public interest in the information being available – for example information about professional malpractice, criminal convictions, financial scams or public conduct of government officials.

Submitting a request also requires a digital copy of official identification such as a driver's licence or passport, and includes a space to explain why a given link is "irrelevant, outdated, or otherwise inappropriate".

While the web form was made available on Thursday, Google has not given a time frame for how long it would take for links to be removed. It has appointed a committee of executives and independent experts including Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales and Frank La Rue, a UN expert on freedom of speech, to develop a long-term approach to dealing with what is likely to be a high volume of requests.

Before launching the form, Google had already received thousands of removal requests, and will have to cope with processing forms submitted in various languages from 32 different countries, not all of which it has an operational base in.

While Google has previously stated that it was disappointed by the EU ruling, it said in a statement attached to the form that: "We look forward to working closely with data protection authorities and others over the coming months as we refine our approach."

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