Web Log: Google warns over ‘right to be forgotten’

Tech giant pushing back against the extension of right beyond the borders of Europe

At its heart, the European Union's "right to be forgotten" ruling aims to grant a clean slate where appropriate; it began in 2010 when a Spanish citizen lodged a complaint against a Spanish newspaper and Google (Spain and Inc.) because search results for his name revealed an auction note on his repossessed home.

It was ruled that these search results infringed on his privacy rights because the legal proceedings related to the results had been resolved years before.

Google allowed for certain links to be delisted from name search results, making more changes in March 2016 to ensure that people using Google from the same country as the person who requested the removal can no longer find the delisted link, whether they search from Google.com, .ie or any other regional version.

Google's global privacy counsel Peter Fleischer said in a recent blog post that while Google is not disputing its compliance with the right to be forgotten – having delisted about 780,000 URLs to date – it is pushing back against the extension of this right beyond the borders of Europe, warning that it "would open the door to countries around the world, including non-democratic countries, to demand the same global power".


Effectively, it could be a backdoor for a government to prune their citizen’s view of the web and change history to their liking.