Google Removes Search Results Under Europe’s ‘Right to be Forgotten’

They say everything you put on the Internet stays there forever, however the Internet is starting to forget. On Thursday, Google began removing results from its search engine under Europe’s new “right to be forgotten,” a ruling by the European Union’s top court that presents individuals the right to request removal of results for their own names that turn up in Internet searches. Google engineers updated the company’s technical infrastructure to start implementing the removals overnight.

On Thursday, Google began sending emails notifying the first individuals that links they had requested were being taken down. The company has even hired a “removals team” to evaluate each request. However, only a small number of initial takedown requests have been processed so far, according to the Wall Street Journal. How quickly Google decides to manage the requests and how broadly it intends to grant them might set expectations for how the principle will be applied to other companies throughout the world.

As of a month ago, Google has received more than 41,000 removal requests via a wed form the company set up in response to the ruling. The ruling stated Google must weigh individuals’ right to privacy against public interest in having certain information available. The ruling came as a surprise, which caused concern within Google and free-speech advocates in the U.S., who argued that the ruling could enable censorship and put Google in the position as a judge on what people have a right to know. Yet, privacy activists said the reactions to the ruling were overblown because the results would only be removed from individual name searches and not from all of Google’s search results.

Google added a blanket notification that appears at the bottom of the results for individual name searches on Google’s European search websites. The notification reads, “Some results may have been removed under data protection law in Europe.”


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Nick Banks

Nick created Front Street Commercial Real Estate Group in 2002 and spent the first eight years developing and acquiring office and retail projects in South Florida as well as North Central Florida. In 2010 the focus of the firm was shifted to primarily serve third party clients and perform brokerage, property management and mortgage banking functions. Nick has personally developed and acquired nearly 200,000 square feet of office and retail properties in markets throughout Florida. Prior to founding Front Street, Nick was the Director of Finance and Dispositions for Stiles Corporation in Fort Lauderdale where he financed and sold over $500 million in commercial real estate. Before joining Stiles, Nick was an Associate Director at GE Capital Real Estate where he sourced over $200 million in financing throughout Florida. Nick is a graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in Finance and a concentration in Real Estate. He serves as a board member and current vice-chair for the United Way of North Central Florida where he also chairs the Development Committee. Nick is actively involved with the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce where he serves as a board member and committee member for the Council for Economic Outreach. He is also a recent graduate of Leadership Gainesville which is a year long leadership program hosted by the Chamber. He is a member of Grace United Methodist Church where he has served as finance chair and as a member of the leadership council. Nick serves as an advisory board member of the University of Florida Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies. Nick was recently named chair of the Gainesville committee for the North Florida chapter of Urban Land Institute (ULI). He is a licensed real estate broker in the State of Florida and is a long time member of the International Council of Shopping Centers.

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