Google and the right to be forgotten.
Just like the proverbial elephant, the internet never forgets. With highly efficient search engines such as Google and Bing tracking data with complex algorithms, the wonders of the worldwide web are more accessible now than ever before. However, while these companies deliver the world to you, they are also linking to data that may have since been shown to be inadequate, irreverent or no longer relevant. Until recently there was nothing you could do to prevent search engines pointing people at this information.
In a landmark case, the European Court of Justice has, however, backed an individual’s request for Google to have his data removed. The ruling allows people to request that a company (such as Google) removes links about them and, where the operator does not grant the request, “bring the matter before the competent authorities in order to obtain, under certain conditions, the removal of that link from the list of results”. So, if the information being linked is “inadequate, irreverent or no longer relevant” then people now have the right to request the data to be removed from the search results. The request will be balanced against the public’s right to know and distribute the information.
It is also worth bearing in mind that this ruling does not concern the original publishing of the information and won’t result in the removal of the content from the internet. By stopping the search engines from returning a link in relation to a search on a person who has requested its removal, it will be substantially more difficult to find such information.
Should you like to request any information to be removed from Google’s search engine https://support.google.com/legal/contact/lr_eudpa?product=websearch or for more information on the ruling, click here: http://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2014-05/cp140070en.pdf