THE ARTICLE 29 European data watchdog is putting its minds together in an attempt to come up with a unified response to people who have submitted a Google "forget me now" request but have been unsatisfied with the result.
How it will react towards Google is the question, and we have already seen the UK Information Commissioner's Office admit that frankly it does not have a clue, yet.
"We won't be ruling on any complaints until the search providers have had a reasonable time to put their systems in place and start considering requests," said David Smith, ICO deputy commissioner and director of data protection in May."After that, we'll be focusing on concerns linked to clear evidence of damage and distress to individuals."
This deeper thinking has apparently begun. According to Bloomberg the working group met today and approved the additional scrutiny. We have asked the ICO to confirm its attendance.
Google reportedly recieved 12,000 completed takedown forms on the day it published its response to the European Court of Justice "right to be forgotten" ruling, and has had 41,000 to date.
The rush of requests was likely expected. Google got thousands of takedown requests on the day that the ECJ told it to comply with privacy rules from the 1990s, and we read that a colourful collection of characters had approached it about their personal link removals.
Google released the form in late May with apparent reluctance, and it promised then to polish and refine the system with national data regulators.
"In implementing this decision, we will assess each individual request and attempt to balance the privacy rights of the individual with the public's right to know and distribute information," it said.
"When evaluating your request, we will look at whether the results include outdated information about you, as well as whether there's a public interest in the information - for example, information about financial scams, professional malpractice, criminal convictions, or public conduct of government officials."
A few days later Google come forward with some numbers, explaining that it had taken 12,000 requests on the first day, and 8,000 more in the days after. Now, according to the Wall Street Journal, that number has reached 41,000 and Google is looking to expand the number of people it has working on it.
Google has said that it will consider each takedown application on its individual merits.
Other search engines, including Yahoo and Microsoft's Bing, are also affected by the ECJ's decision. Yahoo said it is in the process of developing a similar solution to Google's form, and Microsoft said in a statement, "the courts and data protection authorities will strike the right balance between protecting privacy rights and the freedom of expression." µ