Google Attempting To Maintain Transparency Ethos With Information Removal Alert


Following the recent EU ruling enabling people living in Europe, ?the right to be forgotten?, Google has revealed its plans to include an alert at the bottom of each page that has had links removed.

The ruling made by the Court of Justice of the European Union gives individuals the power to request information that is inadequate or irrelevant, be removed from search results. Since the ruling was made, Google has received tens of thousands of requests from people wishing to obscure sensitive or detrimental information.

Google recently announced that they had begun procedures to comply with the new ruling and in addition they revealed plans to include an alert that makes users aware of any removed search results. Plans to include information about removal requests are also to be included in Google?s bi-annual transparency report which will reveal the number of government requests worldwide.

The alert, flagging users to the removal of information according to the ruling, appears to be an attempt by Google to maintain their ethos of being a completely transparent organisation. When carrying out a search we found that the alert appeared on most search results which begs the question of whether the alert is generic and will appear regardless of whether or not links have been removed.

Many are divided by the ruling and the number of issues it conflicts with, such as freedom of speech. There is also the fact that many users in Europe will still be able to access this information if they avoid country-specific search engines. For example, someone in the UK could access which does not have to conform with the European ruling – consequently, search users can still access search results removed from European domains.

Several have made it clear of their concerns that a private company is essentially responsible for making the decision on whether information should be removed. To address concerns regarding the limitations and impact of the ruling, Google has set up an advisory committee to issue recommendations regarding what exactly will be in the interests of the public to be removed.

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