SEATTLE, July 16 Microsoft Corp on
Wednesday started taking requests from individuals in Europe who
want to be removed from its Bing search engine results following
a court judgment in May guaranteeing the "right to be
Microsoft, whose Bing search engine has 2.5 percent of the
European search market, follows market leader Google Inc
which complied with the ruling in May, and started
removing some search results last month.
The Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union
in May ordered Google to remove a link to a 15-year-old
newspaper article about a Spanish man's bankruptcy, effectively
upholding people's "right to be forgotten" on the Internet.
The ruling, which affects the EU's 500 million citizens,
requires that Internet search services remove information deemed
"inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant." Failure to do so
can result in fines. It only applies to EU countries, meaning
links that have been removed in Europe will still appear in
search results elsewhere, including the United States.
Microsoft's form, available on its Bing website (here),
is a four-part questionnaire. Microsoft advises those
interested in completing the questionnaire that it will "help us
to consider the balance between your individual privacy interest
and the public interest in protecting free expression and the
free availability of information, consistent with European law."
The form states that making a request does not guarantee
that a particular search result will be blocked.
European privacy concerns, and tech companies' sensitivity
to them, have exploded in the past year after former U.S.
National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed
details of mass U.S. surveillance programs involving European
citizens and some heads of state.
(Reporting by Bill Rigby; Editing by Tom Brown)