Earlier this week, the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) ruled that individuals should have the right to remove outdated information about themselves from search engine results.
Now, the BBC reports that Google has received fresh takedown requests, from a former politician who’s currently seeking re-election and who wants mentions of his “behaviour in office” deleted. Also, a man convicted of owning images of child abuse has requested links about his convictions to be removed, while a doctor has sought to delete negative reviews from his patients.
The ‘right to be forgotten’ case was proposed by the European Union in 2012, and it essentially means that an individual should be allowed to request that outdated or irrelevant information be removed from a company’s servers and therefore removed from being publicly accessible on the Web. The case was brought about by a Spanish man, Mario Costeja Gonzalez, whose name returned 16-year-old news articles about his sale of properties when he got into financial difficulties, which he wanted removed from the Web. Ironically, his past has become much more well-known since the outcome of this case.
Though the EU ruling this week is still likely to be challenged from many quarters, we’re already beginning to see the implications this could have across the Web. And it will become increasingly difficult for Google, Microsoft and the rest to start censoring specific results. However, the Wall Street Journal reports that Google will create a mechanism for German users to request the removal of links to information within the next two weeks.