Google has received 2.4 million URL removal requests under EU ‘right to be forgotten’ laws

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.


From the looks of things, the overwhelming majority of requests are denied.

That’s called the right to have your personal information monetized against your will by an American technology company

And/or a realistic appraisal of the trajectory the world has been taking for years.

Your personal information isn’t personal if you put it online.

This isn’t usually stuff people personally put on there, that’s why they’re asking it to be removed

Er no.. there’s an avenue for that. Talking to the people hosting the actual personal information. This is for content that is non invasive, it just looks bad. That’s why they have no legal standing to get the actual information removed, instead they just try to make it harder to search for.

57% Vs 43% is not an overwhelming majority really.

I’m sure a lot of those are criminal based information.
Bad reviews of businesses and stuff like that.

You have not been on the Internet long enough if you think some insecure jackass didn’t make a request for every website with an opinion they don’t like.

Wow. Those are the actions of one bitter tech company. How unnecessarily vindictive of them.

Errr, what?
Did you read the report?

Similarly, just 1,000 requesters (0.25% of individuals filing RTBF requests) requested 15% of all URLs. Many of these frequent requesters were law firms and reputation management services.
Requests predominantly come from private in-
dividuals: 85% of requested URLs came from private
individuals, while minors made up 5% of requesters. In
the last two years, non-government public figures such
as celebrities requested the delisting of 41,213 URLs
and politicians and government officials another 33,937

Table 16 is particularly interesting with it’s account of takedown requests from news sites for criminal and professional wrongdoing:

These results again highlight two classes of individuals
using the RTBF: those seeking to delist personal infor-
mation appearing on social media and directory sites,
and those targeting news and government sites that re-
port crime-related or professionally relevant information

Also, academics have asked for this RTBF information. Can you not see how this, anonymized, data might be of interest to both academics and law makers?

A boom for criminals across Europe.

If you don’t let a gigantic corporation prostitute your privacy online for their personal profit the terrorists criminals win!

Yes, of course I see bitter people attacking Google here, without acknowledging the government has forced this upon one private company, and the sheer amount of labour involved in this, while the fact that corporations and government public figures are trying to take advantage of it to block relevant information from showing up on only one search engine…

While I understand there should be accountability for a person’s privacy in situations where information is flawed, it shouldn’t be a corporate entities responsibility to determine what is and what isn’t relevant, and hoisting it on Google instead of providing it from an additional tax on all search engine transactions, shows really poor lawmaking in the long term.

I think Google/Alphabet will be ok. But thanks for your concern!

Oh, and this is Europe. Unlike the US, where I understand Bing has some presence, the European search market is 99% Google. And the remaining 1% is people trying some other site – and then going to Google for usable results.

How about anyone in the EU create their own search engine? Google wasn’t first, and sure don’t have to be last. No one is stopping anyone in the EU to use BING or Yahoo or anyone else.

That’s a great idea. If only some other company wasn’t so far ahead that it seems impossible to get any kind of foothold…

Google’s only competitive advantage is in image search.

DuckDuckGo searches the web in general just as well, but they can’t do image searches. No one but Google does that.

Let me revise that; Google also offers "Google Scholar" which is the only free search I know of that’s restricted to refereed journals. If you want that from anyone else I think you need Nexus.

It’s not whether or not Google with be okay, its whether corruption in this case enters the process.

Also, its about long term competition. I fully respect market regulation, but assuming a company is the gateway to the internet when its not, and that its always going to be, is pretty short sited. Those sites still exist, if this becomes strong enough that people stop trusting Google’s results they will find other sources (not just other big corps), and the law becomes less effective in itself.

Or how about this – Google have taken it upon themselves to trawl the entire web, cataloging and caching everything, in order to present it neatly on their own website for people to find, for profit. Nobody asked them to do this. People put stuff on the internet, Google catalog it for profit. It works well, but it turns out there are things some people don’t want cataloged, for a variety of reasons. So Google are being asked to provide a way of removing those things from their catalog, if there is a valid reason for the request.

Seems fair to me.

"Nobody asked them to do this."
You’re joking.
This information is public. If it’s not intended to be public, you limit access with authentication.
These sites aren’t like homes where Google is picking locks, breaking safes and sifting through drawers but rather open tables lining a freeway.
Also, Google obeys robots.txt

on only one search engine

The search engine that has a monopoly in Europe. That is why they get it.

The law only applies to Google? That would be bad lawmaking indeed. It should apply to any search engine or content provider. A person should have a legal right to demand take down on information allegedly "about" them. If it’s just Google, the EU did it wrong.

I shouldn’t have the right to publish information about you that you believe is incorrect for any reason.

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