Following the ruling made by the European Court of Justice, Google now plans to alert searchers about ‘Right to be forgotten’ link removals. From the ruling, Europeans can request Google to erase any information it has on them in their searches. In Google’s response to this, each page with removed links will now have an alert at the bottom. Also, next to be it may be a link that sends users to a different page with information on the complainant and keywords of the content.
The court ruling allows European citizens to ask for those links they think are inadequate, out of date, or irrelevant not to appear in Google’s search results, though the original search page will have them. Within a few days after the ruling was published, Google received over 41,000 link removal requests. One report suggested that new employees may have to be hired by Google in order for the deluge to be dealt with.
Though it has not yet been effected, Google may flag removed links in a similar manner to how users are normally alerted on illegal contents that have been taken down, like materials that infringe copyrights. In addition, the “right to be forgotten” information will also be included by Google in the transparency report they release biannually. This will reveal all the requests made by governments for materials to be removed from Google’s search results.
It is not mandatory for Google to flag up all link removal requests. They first have to take public interest into consideration before removing the content. An advisory committee has since been set up by Google to give its recommendations on how far the public interest goes into a request.
Flagging of removed links in search results is however likely to be a disappointment to people whose take-down requests were granted. The fact that users can see that there’s some missing information on the given individual is likely to arouse their interests into trying harder to find out what it is that could be hidden. In the long run, some users may still find the information out of their curiosity.
Source: The Guardian, 2014