The European Court of Justice has ruled that Google must remove any links that lead to content which may be ‘irrelevant, inadequate or no longer relevant’, otherwise they would face a fine. While the content itself is not deleted, the links that appear in the search results will be.
When a user is searching for a topic on Google, they will receive a message at the bottom of the page – one that you may have already seen due to trials – saying that ‘some results have been removed under the data protection law in Europe’. However, this is only on google.co.uk as visitors from the American site (google.com) will not be affected, even if their IP address shows that they reside in the UK.
So far, there have been over 250,000 complaints made to the search engine to remove links to certain content, and even though Google does not release identities, all applications must provide verification to prove that the unwanted content relates to them, or that they have the authority to act on an affected person’s behalf. The House of Lord’s EU committee published a report in June claiming that the ‘right to be forgotten’ scheme is wrong and unworkable, stating that it is simply out-dated and using old principles.
They have said that they do not believe individuals should have the right to remove links to accurate information about them just because they do not like what is being said. However, the deputy commissioner and director of data protection for the ICO, David Smith, has said that the criticisms are misplaced due to the fact that the initial implementations have proved successful. All of this demonstrates the importance of having relevant and up to date content on your site, something which we can help you with.