Google to extend 'right to be forgotten' to all search sites for EU users

News
11 Feb, 2016

Europe users won't see right to be forgotten search results, regardless of the Google engine they use

Google will hide "right to be forgotten" content across all versions of its search engine when viewed from European IP addresses.

Under the right to be forgotten privacy ruling, if EU citizens ask Google to remove certain content about them that is considered “inadequate, irrelevant, or no longer relevant” from their search engine, the company is required to do so.

Previously, Google only removed content from its European search websites, which include google.co.uk and google.fr.

However, it is now extending this filtering across all of its search websites worldwide to include google.com, google.jp, and others.

Google will now filter results according to the user’s geographic location and IP address, meaning users in Europe will not see results that have been marked for delisting when searching on non-EU Google domains, but users outside of Europe will still see them.

It comes after EU privacy regulators had previously pressured Google into such a move, with the French data protection authority, known as CNIL, threatening the company with a fine if it did not comply.

Yesterday, the same authority published an order for social network Facebook to stop transferring data to the US.

IT Pro understands that the extension had been planned following discussions with other EU regulators. We also understand that the change has not been actived yet, though the BBC said it could come into force later this month.

The “right to be forgotten” has been defined in the past as “the right to silence on past events in life that are no longer occurring”. For instance, an individual may want potential damaged information about removed about them for professional reasons.

Privacy rulings in the EU have been causing headaches for US tech giants, but it is a topic that is not going away on this side of the Atlantic.

The recent Privacy Harbour agreement is supposed to guarantee that personal data from the EU will receive adequate protection when processed by US firms.