Want to be forgotten by Google? Here's how you
Summary: Google has launched a form where
those who want the search giant to stop linking to
outdated information about them can file their
After a ruling from Europe's top court that Google should remove
links to 'outdated information' about individuals at their request, the
search giant has opened up an online form for those wanting to be
The decision on the 'right to be forgotten' was handed down earlier
this month after Google appealed an order by the Spanish Data
Protection Agency (AEPD) to remove links to articles about an
individual published in a Spanish newspaper in 1998 by Spanish
The AEPD ruling came after a Spanish national found links to the
articles, which contained details about a real-estate auction that was
held to settle social security debts, after searching for his own name
online. He requested they be removed, as he believed the articles
contained information about him which was no longer relevant.
Following the ruling, many other individuals have approached Google
to remove links to information about them that they consider
Now, the company has launched a form where individuals can make
their 'right to be forgotten' requests online.
The form asks for a user's details, the links to the 'outdated
information', and an explanation of why they should be removed.
Anyone wanting to use the form will also need to provide a scan of
their photo ID, to stop fraudulent attempts to remove information.
"Google often receives fraudulent removal requests from people
impersonating others, trying to harm competitors, or improperly
seeking to suppress legal information," it says.
Google notes that the form is just its first try at working out the
takedown mechanism, and it will be "working with data protection
authorities" to develop it in future.
The company has published no timeline on when users can expect
their requests to be dealt with. "We will assess each individual request
and attempt to balance the privacy rights of the individual with the
public’s right to know and distribute information. When evaluating
your request, we will look at whether the results include outdated
information about you, as well as whether there’s a public interest in
the information—for example, information about financial scams,
professional malpractice, criminal convictions, or public conduct of
government officials," it says.
Unsurprisingly, the European Court of Justice's ruling was not met
with enthusiasm by Google. At a recent annual shareholder
meeting, Google's chairman Eric Schmidt told investors the case was
"a collision between the right to be forgotten and the right to know".
"From Google's perspective that's a balance… You have to find a
balance. Google believes, having looked at the decision, which is
binding, that the balance that was struck was wrong," he added.