Google has received over 2.4 million requests to remove URLs from its search engine under Europe’s “right to be forgotten” laws since they were introduced in May 2014. The new data comes from Google’s move to expand its transparency reports, and starting today, it will also add new data dating back to January 2016 (when Google’s reviewers started manually annotating URL submissions).
In addition, the new data will also show: a breakdown of private individuals and non-private individuals like government officials or companies making requests; the content of the request; the content of the site; and the content delisting rate. Of the reasons behind the requests, “professional information” tops the list at nearly a quarter (24 percent), followed by “self-authored” at 10 percent, and crime and professional wrongdoing at 8 percent and 7 percent, respectively. Google also outlines examples of requests it received, the context of why the request was made, and the resulting outcome.
About a third of the removal requests were related to social media and directory services, while around 21 percent were URLs related to news outlets and government websites that mostly covered someone’s legal history. Google has released a draft of its research paper on the topic, called “Three Years of the Right to be Forgotten,” which has also been submitted for peer review.
The European Court of Justice established the “right to be forgotten” laws in May 2014, which allows Europeans to request search engines like Google to delist information about themselves from results. The search engine would then have to review whether that information is “inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant, or excessive,” and whether the public interest in it remains.