Europe doesn’t operate like North America. In the case of Internet privacy, that’s a really good thing. As a result of a ruling from a EU court, Google has set up a webpage that lets EU residents request the removal of certain links containing personal information.
Google’s webform lets EU residents submit requests to have those links removed, though Google has not yet released a widespread removal date. Here are the additional details.
For the EU Only
If you are currently a resident of the European Union, you can submit your information via Google’s new web form. The details of your request must contain the link that is offensive to you, and that link must include some kind of personal details. Google will then review the request, the link, and the details, and the company will remove the link at a future date (as stated above, Google has not yet released the details of this date).
As you might imagine, the number of requests that will soon flood in from EU residents is going to be enormous. This is also going to be a major task that Google must now undertake. Why did the court make this ruling? It’s called the “Right to be Removed” ruling, and it was handed down after citizens complained that too much information is stored in Google’s archives. There are some rumors that Google stores these details in order to collect information about people (to, potentially, feed to companies and marketing agencies), but there’s another reason why Google isn’t getting rid of any personal information – at least not all of it. It’s just too time consuming.
A Band Has Been Assembled
Google has told press that the company has not created a team of people that will effectively work to handle all of the impending removal requests. It will take the team some time to get rid of all the offending links, so hold your horses if your request hasn’t been processed yet – it’s a really big project to take down millions of links! But, first, you’ll have to convince Google that the link you are requesting removal of actually is offensive or contains personal information.
The webform that Google has set up includes criteria such as whether or not a link removal request is irrelevant, inappropriate, or outdated amongst other criteria. If Google decides that the link isn’t really a threat, it might not be taken down. Google is going to have a hard time making sure that the right links are removed. The court ruling wasn’t specific about what the EU considers to be objectionable links, so it’s going to be a trial and error lesson for Google. The other kicker here (for Google) is that the company also has to manage all of the removal requests in various languages – not an easy thing to do.
What happens if Google doesn’t remove all the links that the EU considers offensive? The company will face big fines. If Google doesn’t play ball correctly, the company could find itself doling out a lot of cash.