Google has confirmed that it will be updating its ‘right to be forgotten’ so that any hidden content under the ruling is removed from all versions of its search engine in countries where it has been approved.
The programme, which has been in practice in Europe to some degree since 2006, permits any EU citizen to ask search engines to remove information published about them online that they consider to violate their privacy, or no longer relevant to public interest. The individuals must provide both the links that they would like removed, as well as the search terms linked to that content.
Currently, if a request is granted Google will remove the links for the given search terms, and not for others. Until now Google had also only been removing results from the originating country and European versions of its search engine, such as google.co.uk and google.de.
The EU had previously asked for an extension of the rule to include all versions of Google. Last year, French data protection authority CNIL threatened the tech giant with a sanction of €150,000, should it not remove data from all of its global platforms – such as google.com – in addition to its European sites.
In December, the French watchdog commented: “Following the assessment of the complaints, the CNIL has requested Google to carry out the delisting of several results. It was expressly requested that the delisting should be effective on the whole search engine, irrespective of the extension used (.fr; .uk; .com …).”
Google’s new extension of the ‘right to be forgotten’ is expected to come into force over the next few weeks.
Since the introduction of the ruling, Google has only removed around 43% of requested URLs, which equates to a total of roughly 1.4 million links. However, these figures were recorded with the non-EU loophole still in place.