Google removes first search results after EU ruling

BRUSSELS Thu Jun 26, 2014 7:40am EDT

A Google logo is seen at the garage where the company was founded on Google's 15th anniversary in Menlo Park, California September 26, 2013. REUTERS/Stephen Lam/Files

A Google logo is seen at the garage where the company was founded on Google's 15th anniversary in Menlo Park, California September 26, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Stephen Lam/Files

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Google has begun removing some search results to comply with a European Union ruling upholding citizens' right to have objectionable personal information about them hidden in search engines.

The so-called "right to be forgotten" was upheld by Europe's top court on May 13 when it ordered Google (GOOGL.O) to remove a link to a 15-year-old newspaper article about a Spanish man's bankruptcy.

"This week we're starting to take action on removals requests that we've received," a Google spokesman said on Thursday. "This is a new process for us. Each request has to be assessed individually and we're working as quickly as possible to get through the queue."

Google received over 41,000 requests over four days after it put up an online form allowing Europeans to request that search results be removed.

Internet privacy concerns shot up the agenda last year when former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed details of mass U.S. surveillance program involving European citizens and some heads of state.

The EU executive has been critical of several major U.S. web companies, such as Facebook and Google, over their handling of swathes of personal data. National governments recently moved towards extending Europe's strict data protection rules to all companies, not just European ones.

(Reporting by Julia Fioretti; editing by Tom Pfeiffer)

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Comments (5)
inMyView wrote:
Search engine that omits results ? Look up what happened to bobo – a bird who couldn`t fly.

Jun 26, 2014 11:44am EDT  --  Report as abuse
dd606 wrote:
What a bunch of paranoid nuts. I can only imagine the kinds of people requesting omissions. I’m sure they have plenty of aluminum foil on hand.

Jun 26, 2014 3:22pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
BrianProws wrote:
As Google removes objectionable “private” information, I wonder how many politicians, pubic figures and other citizens will request removal of unacceptable information on the Web. Will the EU also require print media to remove undesirable content from newspapers and magazines? Will historical events get wiped from digital history in the name of “privacy?” What are the rights of content seekers over “content makers?” Meanwhile, social media journalists will re-write events on Facebook and Twitter. Of course, the EU might want to strip those comments too.

Jun 26, 2014 4:38pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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