An ex-politician re-seeking election wants links to negative articles of him to be removed.
A man convicted of possessing child abuse images requests links to his convictions to be wiped.
A doctor wants negative feedback on his practice to disappear from the web.
Here is only 3 of the many requests being made to Google since Tuesday when a call for “Google to be forgotten” arose after a Spanish man complained that an auction notice of his repossessed home on Google’s search results infringed his privacy. Despite the request of only the links to be removed from the search engine’s page, there are many who are arguing directly for the actual information itself to be removed from online. But should these things really be taken from the internet? We use it each day for new information, reviews, advice and the news, so should this sensitive data be hidden from our views?
No figures have been released by Google of how many takedown requests have been made, however the only comment they have made is that they believe the European Court of Judgement is disappointing, due to a statement made by the courts declaring “an individual’s desire outweighs society’s interest in the complete facts around an incident”.
The court’s announcement contradicts the advice of the European Union advocate general who only last year announced that search engines were not obliged to honour such requests, however the decision has been described as a clear victory for the protection of personal data for Europeans. The founder of Wikipedia has criticised the ruling, calling it “astonishing”, however there are still concerns on the effects upon freedom of speech.
It has been suggested that search engines will find the new rules hard to implement, as it will be excessive to set up an entire industry in order to sift through paperwork to respond to the volume of requests. Some critics have said however, that in Google’s shoes, they would tell an individual to contact the information commissioner’s office due it not being their issue to decide upon.