Seeking Oblivion? Click here and fill in this form, says Google

Following this Kat’s piece To Oblivion, and Beyond! Google and the Right to be Forgotten, an update on Google’s reaction to the Court of Justice of European Union’s (CJEU) decision in Google Spain effectively granting EU citizens the right to be forgotten, aka the “right to oblivion”, and the removal from the Google search engine of links to outdated or irrelevant information returned in search results for an individual’s name.
The start of one night Merpel would like to be forgotten
The BBC has reported that the beneficiaries of this decision thus far have been, amongst others, paedophiles, stating that “more than half of the requests sent to Google from UK individuals involved convicted criminals”, although they did not provide any information on whether those convictions were spent or otherwise historical (and if so, why should they be kept online forever, ponders Merpel, no doubt having in mind an embarrassing driving incident from her youth on an evening she’d overdone it on the catnip).
In a step which is either a sign of Google embracing the CJEU’s decision or just cutting down on the admin burden by automating some of the take down process, Google has set up an online take down form, here. This now sits alongside all of Google’s other take down forms.
The form, which is stated to be a work in progress, is prefaced with this message:
“A recent ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union found that certain users can ask search engines to remove results for queries that include their name where those results are “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive in relation to the purposes for which they were processed.
In implementing this decision, 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 When evaluating your request, we will look at whether the results include outdated information about you, as well as whether there’s a public interest in the information—for example, information about financial scams, professional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.
If you have a removal request, please fill out the form below. Please note that this form is an initial effort. We look forward to working closely with data protection authorities and others over the coming months as we refine our approach.”
Anyone looking to submit a take down will need to explain why their request fits the CJEU’s test and provide a “valid driver's license, national ID card, or other photo ID” to prove they are who they say they are.
Don't forget your cat, or us Kats, readers
An applicant also has to select “the country whose law applies to your request” from a list which features the 28 members states of the EU along with Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
Over on The Guardian, some have commented on the irony of the search giant requesting photo ID before taking down links: meaning that the process requires you to identify potentially embarrassing content on the Internet, provide confirmation that such content does concern you and then give Google a copy of an official document to prove it. Thereby creating a database within Google of certified embarrassing facts…

Seeking Oblivion? Click here and fill in this form, says Google Seeking Oblivion? Click here and fill in this form, says Google Reviewed by Darren Meale on Friday, May 30, 2014 Rating: 5


  1. Apparently searches from outside the EU will still show the relevant links. It's not difficult for people in the EU to arrange to have search requests forwarded through non-EU ip addresses.


  2. I am pondering the implications of the ruling for the search engine YaCy.
    YaCy describes itself as "a free search engine that anyone can use to build a search portal for their intranet or to help search the public internet. When contributing to the world-wide peer network, the scale of YaCy is limited only by the number of users in the world and can index billions of web pages. It is fully decentralized, all users of the search engine network are equal, the network does not store user search requests and it is not possible for anyone to censor the content of the shared index. We want to achieve freedom of information through a free, distributed web search which is powered by the world's users."


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