Google today confirmed that it will remove some search results from all of its sites starting next week, if those searches are made within the European Union.
In 2014, an EU court decided that Google must comply with requests to remove some search results, in a decision that became known as "the right to be forgotten." As part of that decision, European users can submit a request to Google, asking the company to delist results that are "no longer relevant" or otherwise outdated. Until now, however, Google would only delist results for its European sites, such as google.co.uk and google.fr. Presumably, then, EU users could still find the delisted results by visiting google.com.
Company will attempt to geolocate EU search users
In its announcement today, Google confirmed that "in response to discussions with regulators," the company would begin delisting from all sites, beginning next week, if Google detects that a search user is in the EU.
"Starting next week, in addition to our existing practice, we will also use geolocation signals (like IP addresses) to restrict access to the delisted URL on all Google Search domains, including google.com, when accessed from the country of the person requesting the removal," Google said in the statement. "We’ll apply the change retrospectively, to all delistings that we have already done under the European Court ruling."
The right to be forgotten has proven controversial, as free speech advocates have squared off with those calling the right an important privacy protection. "Since May 2014, we’ve worked hard to find the right balance as we implement the European Court’s ruling," Google wrote today. "Despite occasional disagreements, we’ve maintained a collaborative dialogue with data protection authorities throughout. We’re committed to continuing to work in this way."