Hidden From Google is a website set up in order to list the links which have been removed from Google after the court ruling for the right to be forgotten. The webpage was originally only made as an excuse to test software by Afaq Tariq, however he finally realised upon creation that no-one had yet created a list of removed articles and believed it could be a great attraction point with the current situation.
Despite having hundreds of tip offs from users, Tariq has found it difficult to determine which pages have and haven’t been censored by the European ruling, having to check whether a link can be found across all European domains and then continuing to check if it can be found on other Google domains such as Google US. Without this process being difficult enough, some removed links have been returned to their rightful place on Google, making the general process something somewhat similar to running in circles.
It is important to remember that the court ruling does not rid an article of it’s link – it just removes it from Google’s search results, although with Google being such a popular search engine, the effect it has is about equal to that of the page losing it’s link entirely. Other developers have helped to add to the list of links although the list still remains short and limited.
Campaigners believe that the court ruling is an attack on the freedom of speech, although they are hoping that the silenced placed on these pages results in a Streisand Effect. This effect was named after the singer who attempted to suppress images of her home, however the suppression resulted in a boost in attention.
Out of the links that have been removed, two of them belonged to the BBC, one relating to a Portuguese child abuse case in 2010. An uproar in comments upon the Hidden From Google website have voiced disgust and concern at this article being removed, demanding that such articles be placed back where the public can see due to having a right to this knowledge.
The right to be forgotten continues to battle on with over 70,000 requests so far and 1,000 new requests each day, although there appears to be no middle ground yet. In the past, an individual would go to the court and have them decide on a person’s right to have information to be removed, however now that Google is playing Judge Judy, they don’t agree with it and they aren’t afraid to express that either.