The Guardian reports today that Google is considering letting users know in the search results pages when search results have been removed due to the recent EU ‘right to be forgotten’ privacy ruling.
Since the ruling by the European court of justice on May 13th, Google has received tens of thousands of requests from internet users to take down sensitive information.
The Guardian says that “it is understood” Google is planning to flag censored search results. Google is planning to place an alert at the bottom of each page where it has removed links, similar to how Google alerts users to takedown requests over copyright infringing material.
Google also intends to include information about “right to be forgotten” removals in its biannual transparency report. This information would reveal the number of government requests worldwide to remove material from its search results.
Last Monday, Google says it had received 41,000 requests so far to take down sensitive material from people in Europe since the ‘right to be forgotten’ ruling.
Google chief executive Larry Page has said that nearly a third of the 41,000 requests received related to a fraud or scram, one fifth concerned serious crime, and 12% are connected to child pornography arrests.
However, Google does not have to comply with every request, but must consider whether removing information is in the public interest.
There has been much criticism over this ruling, including criticism from respected Web personalties like Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales:
I think the decision will have no impact on people’s right to privacy, because I don’t regard truthful information in court records published by court order in a newspaper to be private information. If anything, the decision is likely to simply muddle the interesting philosophical questions and make it more difficult to make real progress on privacy issues.
Google has declined to comment.
If you live in Europe, here is more information about the form you can fill out to request that Google removes links about you from its search results.