Google has started complying with the EU’s “right to be forgotten” law

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Google is now complying in full with a European Court Of Justice ruling last month which requires it to remove specific personal information from search results when an individual has made a request for the removal of “outdated” or “irrelevant” information about them. A search for a person’s name on a European Google website now includes the following disclaimer flagging up the fact that some information may have been removed, and including a link to a Google FAQ explaining why: “Some results may have been removed under data protection law in Europe.” The same search on Google.com does not bring up the disclaimer as the ECJ ruling only requires Google remove information from European search results.

Google Inc. said Thursday that it has started removing results from its search engine under Europe’s new “right to be forgotten,” implementing a landmark May ruling by the European Union’s top court that gives individuals the right to request removal of results that turn up in Internet searches for their own names. Google engineers overnight updated the company’s technical infrastructure to start implementing the removals, and Thursday began sending the first emails to individuals informing them that links they had requested were being taken down. Only a small number of the initial wave of requests has been processed. “This week we’re starting to take action on the removals requests that we’ve received,” a Google spokesman said. “This is a new process for us. Each request has to be assessed individually, and we’re working as quickly as possible to get through the queue.” As of nearly a month ago, Google had received more than 41,000 removal requests via aweb form it had set up in response to the ruling, which said Google must weigh individuals’ right to privacy against a public interest in having certain information available.

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