Google Readies Takedown Tool After EU Ruling Creates Surge Of Requests

Peter Judge has been involved with tech B2B publishing in the UK for many years, working at Ziff-Davis, ZDNet, IDG and Reed. His main interests are networking security, mobility and cloud

Policiticans and paedophiles have asked to have links removed from search results. Google will make an automated tool to sift the requests

Google is preparing an automated tool for people who want links removed from its search results, after an EU judgement on the “right to be forgotten” unleashed a flood of takedown requests.

The European Court of Justice ruled that a Spanish national had the right to edit out links to pages covering his financial difficulties in the 1990s from Google’s search results, and since then the search giant has received a lot of similar requests.

While policy-makers have criticised the precedent created by the ruling, Google is reported to be creating automated tools to handle the flood it expects to receive.  

blog-google_search1

Privacy versus censorship

Among those to have already demanded that links be removed include  an ex-politician seeking re-election who wants Google to forget his behaviour whilst in-office, and a paedophile who wants the search engine to ignore stories about his conviction, according to the BBC.

These requests only apply to the inclusion of links in search results, not to the actual pages they point to.The company has warned that the volume of requests will be difficult to handle.

“This is logistically complicated — not least because of the many languages involved and the need for careful review,” it said in a statement. “As soon as we have thought through exactly how this will work, which may take several weeks, we will let our users know.”

But two German regulators have said an automated tool is on the way, similar to those provided for the takedown of copyright material.

A basic online tool to request the removal of potentially harmful links will be available in two weeks, Hamburg’s data protection regulator told the New York Times, but the details of the mechanism have still to be finalised.  According to Johannes Caspar, the Hamburg data protection the tool will include an authentication mechanism which can weed out phoney takedown requests before a human evaluates genuine queries.

Shhh! We have a privacy quiz!