UK ‘Right To Be Forgotten’ Requests Are Europe’s Third-Highest

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The search engine has received more than 18,000 UK requests under the EU’s ‘right to be forgotten’ data protection laws

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.

The search engine said 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.

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Third-highest in Europe

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.

The removals follow a European Court of Justice ruling in May that links to outdated and irrelevant data should be erased from searches within the EU if requested.

Google said it had agreed to 35 percent of the link removals requested by Britons.

Sample requests

The requests turned down included those of a “media professional” who asked that four links to articles reporting on “embarrassing content he posted to the Internet” be removed, and a public official who asked for the deletion of a link to a student organisation’s petition that he be removed from office.

A doctor requested Google to remove more than 50 links to news articles about a botched procedure, but Google only deleted three that included the doctor’s personal details but did not mention the procedure.

Another request involved a man who asked that Google remove a link to a news summary of a local magistrate’s decisions that included the man’s guilty verdict. The link was removed because “under the UK Rehabilitation of Offenders Act this conviction has been spent”, Google said.

Facebook was most affected by the decisions, with 3,352 links removed across Europe. Social network search engine The Profile Engine was second with 3,298 links removed, while YouTube followed in third with 2,400 removals.

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