It seems that pressure on the search engine giant is increasing constantly. Google has just been told to extend its right to be forgotten service and also offer it on its international.com search tool. According to a panel of EU data watchdogs, the move was crucial to ensure that the law wasn’t being circumvented by anyone. Results are currently de-listed by Google, which can be seen in its search engine in Europe, but the same isn’t applicable to international versions of its search engine. The panel of the protection watchdogs said that they would give advice to the data protection agencies of all member states regarding the new guidelines.
Currently, when users attempt to access the Google.com website, they are simply directed to local versions of the search engine such as Google.co.uk. However, on the bottom right-hand corner of the screen, users can see a link that offers them the option of switching to the international.com version if they desire. But, this link will not be seen if the users tried to go to the regional version the first time. Even then, it means that people in Europe have the option of opting out of the censored lists.
The data watchdogs said that this wasn’t sufficient for guaranteeing the rights of the citizens who are currently residing in one of the 28 member countries of the union. Google’s spokesman said that the company hadn’t as yet seen the guidelines, but it would study them thoroughly when they do get published. It was in May that the right to be forgotten rule was established through a ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union. The ruling dictated that a Spaniard had the right to prevent an article from giving a reference to his financial problems, which appeared in the search results of Google.
This could only happen if the incident was 16 years old and the individual in question had resolved his issue. The presence of the actual article wasn’t affected by this ruling. It was also added by the court that the complaints would have to balance the public’s interest of having that information and the sensitivity of the data to an individual’s private life. Later it was clarified by the European Commission that information would have to be deleted by search engines if they received the request from someone who was affected by the outcome and had decided that it fulfilled the criteria of deletion set by the court.
In situations where search engines decide the link shouldn’t be removed, the individual has the right to take the matter to the court or to the local watchdogs. Since then, the total number of requests received by Google has reached 174,000 and they pertain to about 602,000 links. According to the information provided by the search engine giant, 58.5% of the links haven’t been removed whereas 41.5% have been modified or removed, as required. Examples include removal of an article pertaining to a murder, which also mentioned the name of the widow.