Europe has forced Google to offer private individuals a way of removing things from Google – if the information is “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive in relation to the purposes for which they were processed”.
Privacy fears have led to a number of EU-created rules that affect search engines and social networks. This latest one attempts to make search engines take responsibility for incorrect or out of date information. There has previously been no specific law preventing Google from indexing and displaying content that may embarrass a person.
For example, a story in a newspaper about a person being sentenced for a crime could appear in search results for many years after that person has already served their sentence. Such an article may continue to embarrass that person while they endeavour to re-build their life, look for jobs etc. A potential employer searching on their person’s name may see the article.
Google has introduced a form to handle a search removal request
Google’s removal request form is here. In order to ask for something to be removed, you need to know the following:
- Each request must be accompanies with some form of photo ID that proves you are the subject of the material. The ID can have details obscured but it needs to be something that shows who you are.
- You can submit multiple URLs (for example, multiple publications that have written the same story about you), but each must be accompanied by a reason.
- You also need to say which country’s jurisdiction you are in – which presumably means this option is not available to just about anyone.
- Explain how each URL in search results is irrelevant, outdated, or otherwise inappropriate.