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This article was published on March 6, 2016

Google expanding its ‘right to be forgotten’ in Europe just means you’ll now need a VPN

Google expanding its ‘right to be forgotten’ in Europe just means you’ll now need a VPN
Ben Woods
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Ben Woods

Europe Editor

Ben is a technology journalist with a specialism in mobile devices and a geeky love of mobile spectrum issues. Ben used to be a professional Ben is a technology journalist with a specialism in mobile devices and a geeky love of mobile spectrum issues. Ben used to be a professional online poker player. You can contact him via Twitter or on Google+.

When Google was ordered to start censoring its search results for users within Europe back in 2014, it meant that anyone who requested delisted information from any of the search giant’s European sites couldn’t access it.

There was, however, one giant hole in that system – anyone visiting Google.com got a full list of results regardless of where they were accessing the search engine from, essentially rendering the ‘right to be forgotten’ ruling a bit pointless.

From this week, that’s set to change as users within Europe to any of Google’s search engines will now be subject to the same set of restricted results.

EDP

In November last year – around 18 months after Google started enacting removal requests – it said it had removed more than 440,000 links from its search results.

Of course, users outside of Europe get the same unedited results, so I guess firing up a VPN and selecting an appropriate IP address is still an option if you want to see a full list of results.

For Google to stop this, it would need to put the right to be forgotten into effect for all its sites and all users, which doesn’t sound likely anytime soon.

Whether or not EU residents should need to use a VPN to access uncensored search results is a different question altogether.

➤ Adapting our approach to the European right to be forgotten [Google Policy blog]

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