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EU rages at Google's lousy 'right to be forgotten' attitude, demands better

James Temperton
24 Jul 2014
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EU watchdogs will criticise Google over failures to correctly implement controversial new privacy law

Google will face the wrath of Europe's privacy watchdogs on Thursday with the search giant accused of messing around with controversial new 'right to be forgotten' requests. Authorities will haul Google, Microsoft and Yahoo into discussions to ensure that people maintain the right to have outdated search results removed from listings.

It is believed that European privacy watchdogs have grave concerns about how Google is implementing the new legislation, with the possibility of a court date looming if the search giant doesn’t comply.

Causing particular concern is Google's decision to only remove results from European search engines. As 'right to be forgotten' requests only apply in the EU, Google is only removing them from versions of its site that fall within this jurisdiction such as google.co.uk, google.fr and google.es.

It will be argued that Google has made a mockery of the ruling as people are easily able to view uncensored search results by using the US version of the search engine, google.com.

According to reports it will be argued that such an approach defeats the purpose of the ruling. Legal experts have claimed that Google doesn't have a leg to stand on and that the ruling applies to all versions of Google accessed in the EU, not just localised sites.

Google is also likely to be questioned on its decision to inform the owners of websites when search results are removed. The BBC, MailOnline and The Guardian all ran stories explaining what articles had been removed. EU privacy watchdogs are worried that by notifying websites about the removals Google is drawing attention to people who are seeking the right to be forgotten.

Google has said that working out how to handle requests would be a learning process and has set up its own advisory council to encourage debate.

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