BBC To Publish List Of ‘Forgotten’ Links


Stories were removed by Google under the EU’s controversial ‘Right to be Forgotten’ law

The BBC has said it will publish a continually updated list of links to articles on its website that have been removed from Google under the EU’s “Right to be Forgotten” rule.

BBC editorial policy head David Jordan told a public meeting hosted by Google that it had so far been notified of 46 links that have been removed under the law, and said more emphasis should be put on the public’s “right to remember”, according to a BBC report.

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Public meetings

Google is hosting a series of meetings to stir up debate on the issue, featuring a panel of experts invited by the search giant. The meeting in London followed others in Rome, Paris, Warsaw and Berlin as the penultimate in the series, with the final meeting to be held in Brussels on 4 November.

Google is obliged to remove links upon request if the information they provide is “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant”, according to the ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in May. Since then the company said it has struggled to process floods of requests, with 12,000 being filed in the first day after the company created an online application form in late May.

The search engine notifies websites when a link is to be removed, and the BBC said it would begin posting a list of the links in the next few weeks. The stories will not be republished and the list will not include information identifying who may have asked for the link’s removal.

Public interest

Jordan said some of takedown decisions were contestable, such as one where new of a trial involving members of the Real IRA was removed from search results. Two of the defendants were later convicted, but the report wasn’t visible in Google searches.

“It seems to us to be difficult to justify this in the public’s interest,” Jordan reportedly said.

A blog post by the BBC’s economics editor was also removed, Jordan said.

He called for a formal appeals process and said Google should provide more information to the sites affected, such as the identity of the person making the request, on the condition that this remained confidential.

Those requesting links to be removed are required to supply a photo ID to help prevent fraud.

One-tenth of the requests for links to be removed under the EU’s “right to be forgotten” laws come from the UK, according to Google, which said earlier this month it has removed 498,737 links from its search results since May, including 63,616 as a result of 18,304 requests from the UK.

The figure is the third-highest in the EU, after France with 29,010 and Germany with 25,078, Google said. Across Europe there were 145,000 requests, or more than 1,000 per day, Google said in a transparency report.

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