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Google refuses to touch 59% of "right to be forgotten" links

Google's link removal rate drops from 50% to 41% one year since legislation introduced

One year after "right to be forgotten" legislation was introduced, Google has taken down 41 just per cent of search result links it's received complaints about.

Last year, a European court upheld legislation that requires the search giant to remove links from its search results if they're found to be out of date or incorrect.

The companyhas received 253,617 requestssince last May, leading to the removal of 920,258 links from search results.

That means Google is leaving up 59 per cent of links that people requested be removed, according to the web giant's own stats.

In the UK, slightly less are being approved, with 37 per cent of 32,076 requests approved.

Google highlighted some of the requests it encountered, saying of one UK case: "A media professional requested that we remove four links to articles reporting on embarrassing content he posted to the internet.We did not remove the pages from search results."

The UK data watchdog, the Information Commissioner's Office, said it was investigating 48 of the refusals, according to the BBC.

"Since the details of the right to be forgotten ruling were first announced, we have handled over 183 complaints from those unhappy with Google's response to their takedown request," the ICO told the BBC."In around three-quarters of these cases, we have ruled that Google was correct to turn down an individual's request to have their information removed. This suggests that, for the most part, Google are getting the balance right between the protection of the individual's privacy and the interest of internet users."

The ICO said it has asked Google to "revise" it's decision in a "significant number of cases," and it had in "many cases". As to the rest, the watchdog is hoping to sort out the issue with "discussion and negotiation" but stressed that it does have enforcement powers if necessary.

Googlealso reported that ten sites account for eight per cent of all removal requests - the top three being Facebook, Profileengine.com, and its own groups.google.com.

The stats are a bit of a shift from last year. In July 2014, Google said it had removed more than 50 per cent of requested links, more than the rate it's currently delinking.

Between May and July last year, it had received 91,000 requests regarding 328,000 URLs, according to reports at the time.

At the moment, the delinking only applies on European Google sites - something EU regulators are hoping to change, as the links remain on Google.com. Delinking for copyright reasons under US law, meanwhile, applies across all of Google's global sites.

"We want the removals to be applicable on all Google sites," Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, head of France's data protection regulator, CNIL, told The Wall Street Journal. "Their position will have to change."

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