12,000 users ask Google to forget them

12,000 pleas from users looking to be forgotten have been submitted to Google in the first 24 hours since the company created a dedicated submission page for such requests, the AFP reported on Saturday.

The page has been set up in the wake of the May ruling of the European Court of Justice that users have a right to be “forgotten” by search engines if the information tied to their name is inadequate or irrelevant, and may ruin their reputation.

Time will tell whether such an enthusiastic reaction from the public will continue in the days to come, but one thing is sure: a lot of people were very eager to be allowed the opportunity to delete part of their online footprint.

“We will assess each individual request and attempt to balance the privacy rights of the individual with the public’s right to know and distribute information,” Google explained on the page. “When evaluating your request, we will look at whether the results include outdated information about you, as well as whether there’s a public interest in the information—for example, information about financial scams, professional malpractice, criminal convictions, or public conduct of government officials.”

Users should also not expect an immediate reaction – Google is still working on finalizing their implementation of removal requests under European data protection law.

Finally, in order for their request to be considered and in order for fraudulent removal requests to be prevented, users will have to attach a legible copy of a document that verifies their identity.

“The document does not need to be a government-issued ID or passport. You may obscure parts of the document (e.g., numbers) as long as the remaining information identifies you,” the company says, and promises: “Google will use this information solely to help us authenticate your request and will delete the copy within a month of closing your removal request case except as required by law.”

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