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Hundreds of Greeks want Google to remove links related to their past

23 December 2014 / 15:12:33  GRReporter
1885 reads

Since May when the European Court’s decision that entitles each of us, under certain conditions, to ask search engines to remove concrete results entered into force, over half a million Europeans have bombarded Google with such requests. In the first month after the enactment of the decision, over 70,000 users hastened to ask Google to remove specific links associated with them, considering the information contained therein as "inappropriate, no longer relevant or excessive". The company has already provided users with the relevant online form that everyone can fill in to submit a request for removing the links.

According to sources, already hundreds of Greeks have taken advantage of the "right to be forgotten". The latest example is actor Argyris Angelou, as Google automatically shows (auto-complete) the word "gay" upon entering his name in the relevant field. The actor has asked the company to delete the specific results, filling in the required form, filing a complaint in court at the same time (he has lost the case because it is considered that the issue has already been resolved through the online procedure).

It is noteworthy that, since then, the notification that "certain results could have been removed under the new EU law on data protection" has appeared when searching information on Angelou in Google. The company is already under pressure not to show this information for results from which links have been removed in accordance with the decision of the European Court.

It is however specified that search engines are obliged to remove only the relevant results but not their sources. I.e. the offensive texts remain online but simply do not appear in a simple search. This is the first line of Google’s defence, i.e. that the company is not responsible for the information that appears on its pages.

Although these developments are adopted with enthusiasm by the majority of citizens who perceive it as a victory of the movement for personal data protection on the Internet, there are doubts as to whether this type of intervention is ultimately in our interest. "Maybe this will enable us to "retouch" the past to such an extent that we will write new history?" states one of the important questions that have sprung up.

Reactions

In any case, the discussions on the issue between defenders of the "right to be forgotten" and those who defend the right to information and expression are becoming more violent. There have already been reactions from journalists who cannot find their articles when searching for them, the most widely discussed case being that of BBC economic editors who have established that an old post of theirs about former president of investment company Merrill Lynch, Stan O'Neal, has disappeared.

Tags: GoogleSearch enginesLink removalEuropean court
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