The US search engine, Google, has come under pressure from the European Union who has instructed it to remove people’s personal info that is now irrelevant or offensive to them. This action has been taken upon the complaints of European citizens under the “Right to be forgotten” ruling (since 2006).
Right to be forgotten actually states that individuals possess the right to request search engines to remove material that is linked to their personal data. The conditions include that data would be removed if it is impropriate, offensive or sparse.
Initially, Google acquired an immediate action and played along the ruling since last May and launched a web page for those people, who wanted to remove their private data from the search engine. According to a close source, 174,266 requests have been filed for removing 602,479 links since May 2014 and Google has removed 58.5% (352,450 links) from Europe. The company explained that search results will be blocked entirely under the Right to be forgotten ruling, if they include the person’s name. Otherwise, if the search is made through using keywords or not mentioning the name, the browser will show the required results.
Simply then, Google was accused of misinterpreting the court decision and acting “silly political games” for deleting links of apparently harmless new articles and applying the ruling incorrectly. Some specialists gave their points of view about this matter and stated that Google has only touched off this controversy to stimulate a response from people.
Google denied all these accusations, but now it is demanding to restrict the censorship to Europe. The Google Advisory Board has decided that they would not extend the censorship efforts beyond Europe. On the contrary, EU regulators have the perspective that the Right of Being Forgotten should be applied globally and to all versions of Google. Their representatives, in November, have alleged that the internet is global so privacy of people must be made globally, but Google has aggressively indicated that it will not expand this program worldwide. It has limited the takedown requests to its European domains.
The Google Advisory Council has issued a 44 page report last week and has strongly recommended that it’ll only apply the directive to European based browsing services. It has held its decision by mentioning that 95% of search engines access local version of Google. The report also states that this right is European concept and should be applied with in Europe.
Well, this is it until now. Google still has the sheer volume of requests, but it has firmly decided to limit this so called Right Of Being Forgotten in Europe only.
This issue has divided the Media law experts and a war has started between privacy campaigners and activists of freedom of speech. Many have seen the removals as censorship and websites have put up to discover and post those links which have been withdrawn by Google under the ruling. . Google has also faced opposition from BBC and CNN for removing the searching content. There are other views that say that the court ruling is not supposed to allow people to “Photoshop their lives”.