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Google faces EU grilling over 'right to be forgotten' handling

Will meet with European data regulators in Brussels today
Thu Jul 24 2014, 13:33

GOOGLE WILL MEET with European regulators on Thursday to discuss the implications of the recent European Court of Justice (ECJ) "right to be forgotten" ruling.

Google will meet with EU data regulators in Brussels today along with representative from rival search engine firms Microsoft and Yahoo to discuss the "right to be forgotten" ruling. The ruling, which came into effect in May, means that "irrelevant" and outdated links can be removed from search results upon a user's request.

The firms will meet with a group called the Article 29 Working party, which comprises data communications regulators from countries across Europe who are concerned about the handling of the ruling. This comes after Google recently admitted that it has made some mistakes.

There are many factors under scrutiny. One of these factors is Google's decision to remove search results from only its European search engines, which means that hidden results can be easily accessed by heading to, while another is Google's decision to notiy the owners of websites that have had links removed.

Speaking ahead of Thursdays meeting, the Working Group set out its aims, saying, "The objective was to elaborate co-ordinated and coherent guidelines on the handling of individuals' complaints that may be submitted to the authorities in the case of negative responses from search engines to the request for removal from indexing."

It added, "The data-protection authorities have invited search engines to discuss with them, the practical implementation of the key principles in order to finalise the WP29's guidelines foreseen for autumn 2014."

UK information commissioner Christopher Graham spoke about the meeting on Radio 5 Live on Thursday, saying that Google needs to step up and listen, after previously having voiced concerns that the whole thing will be difficult to manage.

"The polluter pays, the polluter should clear up," he said. "Google is a massive commercial organisation making millions out of processions people's personal information," he said. "They're going to have to do some tidying up."

Google declined to comment on Thursday's meeting. µ


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