Google reports on “right to be forgotten” requests

Nearly a month after the release of the latest Google Transparency Report, which showed that government demands for user information have risen 150% over the last five years, a new section has been added that shows how many European privacy requests for search removals have been received by the company.

Since the May 2014 ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union that said that European users have a right to be “forgotten” by search engines, Google has received a little less than 145,000 requests for the removal of nearly half a million URLs.

After the company evaluated all the requests, 58.2 percent of the total number of URLs were removed from search results.

In general, requests from victims of a crime to remove links to pages containing their name were granted, as were requests that were tied to the unintentional leaking of embarrassing private exchanges, and the reposts of self-published images.

On the other hand, individuals that have been investigated for a crime and/or convicted for it have had their requests usually denied. One instance when the request was granted was when the a British man asked for links to a newspaper article about his guilty plea at a local court be removed because “under the UK Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, this conviction has been spent.”

The most URLs from search results were removed from Facebook (3331 URLs removed), Profile Engine (3287), YouTube (2393), Badoo (2198) and Google Groups (1945).

Since the court ruling, Google has been debating with the EU on the implementation of “right to be forgotten.”

Each request is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

“In evaluating a request, we will look at whether the results include outdated or inaccurate information about the person,” the company explained. “We’ll also weigh whether or not there’s a public interest in the information remaining in our search results—for example, if it relates to financial scams, professional malpractice, criminal convictions or your public conduct as a government official (elected or unelected).”

URLs are only removed from results in response to queries relating to an individual’s name, they added, and only for searches made on Google’s European domains.

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