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Google extends "right to be forgotten" to all versions of its search engine

Google has succumbed to pressure from European data regulators and announced a wider system of delisting where it agrees to remove search engine results under the so-called "right to be forgotten" principle.

Where Google agrees to delist results these will now be filtered from all versions of Google when a search is conducted in the state from which the original complaint was originally received.  For example, where a delisting request has been made from within the UK, if Google accedes to the request the relevant links will not appear against a search undertaken in the UK on any version of Google (e.g, etc).  For searches undertaken in another EU state, results for EU versions of Google (e.g., etc) will be filtered, but non-EU versions will not.

The policy will be automatically applied retrospectively to all results previously delisted.

It remains to be seen whether data regulators or the European courts will be satisfied that this change of policy goes far enough or whether Google will be expected to filter results from all versions of its search engine across the EU.

A copy of Google's statement on its change of policy can be found here.

The position remains that searches undertaken from outside the EU on non-EU versions of Google will remain unaffected.  Right to be forgotten requests to Google can only be made from individuals residing within the EU.

Since May 2014 Google has received some 49,053 requests from UK individuals for 184,270 URLs to be delisted. Google has agreed to remove 38.6% of the URLs and rejected 61.4%.  These figures illustrate that the term "right to be forgotten" is misleading; there is no absolute right for individuals to have search engine results filtered.  In each instance, the data protection rights of the complainant and the distress/damage they are suffering must be carefully weighed up against any public interest in the links continuing to be made available in search engine results.

Click here for more information on the law relating to the "right to be forgotten" law and how Brett Wilson LLP Solicitors can help you seek the removal of out of date, inaccurate, unfair or irrelevant search engine results.


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Articles are intended as an introduction to the topic and do not constitute legal advice.