EU privacy regulators have inferred that they want to scrutinize Google’s actions in response to the recent ‘Right To Be Forgotten’ court ruling, according to Bloomberg.
According to reports, Google had been put under fire after dealing with link removals around right to be forgotten requests, with the suggestion being that the company has been drawing yet more attention to personal information which has been requested to be hidden from the SERPs and websites.
There’s also been plenty of questions regarding why removed links on Google’s European site remain for viewing on google.com.
Currently, guidelines are being written up regarding how Google should request removals from websites, citing the issue that by requesting information to be taken down, Google has been drawing yet more attention to the sensitive information.
Back in May, the Right to be Forgotten rule was implicated on Google to remove information from search engine results and from websites wherein the person or persons included in said information did not wish it to appear. Since then, there’s been around 120,000 requests to cut links.
The rules of the new guidelines, which have been completed this weekend, will be finalised in November.
Who Deserves to be Forgotten?
The RTBF rule suggests that any information about a certain person or corporation which is ‘no longer relevant’ should be removed in accordance with personal privacy. Stories about these people or corporations are to be removed form Google’s index and links requested to be removed, so that the public will forget about them entirely. It’s a tall order; especially since the internet never forgets.
Unsurprisingly, there’s been a bit of a backlash. The Daily Mail, for example, seem pretty adamant about keeping links to stories about those who have requested removal under the RTBF legislation.
Martin Clarke, publisher on MailOnline, makes a salient point: “These examples show what a nonsense the right to be forgotten is. It is the equivalent of going into libraries and burning books you don’t like.
“MailOnline intends to regularly publish lists of articles deleted from Google’s European search results so people can keep track of what has been deleted.”
In June, anybody who didn’t want ‘irrelevant’ information to come up after Googling their name could have it requested to be removed. Irrelevant information seemed to mainly include previous counts of misconduct, such as insurance fraud or previous criminal convictions.
A form appeared from which anybody could request the removal of URLs from Google’s index, which could be removed subject to evaluation by the search engine giant. The information would be removed depending on whether there was any current ‘public interest’ in the information, making things a little more difficult for anybody within the public eye (such as government officials, as specified in the form).
Interestingly, in that Daily Mail article I cited earlier, the articles are still appearing in a search for the article name or related queries, and names mentioned in the articles still have images appearing in an image search which are attributed to the Daily Mail article in question.
Can Google Forget your Content?
How many of us have written an embarrassing blog post when we have had a couple of glasses of wine? Lots of us. I know I have. If you act quick enough (really quick) you can stop Google from ever knowing it was there just by deleting it. But if it’s already been indexed, you’ll need to confuse people.
The best thing to do is to just go on the post in your admin, and delete all the content from it. Then, just wait for the page to be indexed again.
The way, even if someone tries to view the post on a cached viewer, they’ll just see a blank page.
It won’t stop content from appearing in Wayback machine though, or remove any snippets anybody else has taken of the post.
I suppose the main rule of thumb is, just don’t write a blog post after a couple of glasses of wine. Or tweet, for that matter. Someone should invent an app that stops you tweeting after a few. It would probably help a great deal of people.