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Google Extending Scope Of Europeans' 'Right To Be Forgotten' Requests To Censor US Search Results

11 February 2016, 9:17 am EST By Menchie Mendoza Tech Times
Google is extending the ‘right to be forgotten’ requests from European users and will now de-list search results in all of its sites, which include Google.com.  ( Justin Sullivan I Getty Images )

Google is extending the "right to be forgotten" requests from European users in order to make "inadequate and irrelevant" search results removed from all of its pages, including U.S. search results.

The company will soon start polishing its search results in an effort to meet the demand of the French data protection authority, which threatened to impose a fine if Google fails to comply.

French privacy regulator Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL) issued a ruling that the right to be forgotten requests should all be delisted globally. The fine amount it has imposed on Google reaches up to 150,000 euros (around $169,000). A separate fine of up to 300,000 euros (around $337,000) will also be charged for repeat offenses.

To meet the ruling, Google would have to filter search results based on a user's IP address, Reuters reports. This means that those who are accessing Google from a location outside Europe will not be affected. For instance, if a German resident sends a request to Google to de-list search results that pop up involving his name in the search, the link will not appear on any of Google's websites even when the search was performed in Germany. This would include de-listing the link at Google.com.

In November, Tech Times reported that Google had received a total of 348,085 requests to de-list 1,234,092 links since May 2014. At least 42 percent of the URLs from the search results were already removed and the other 58 percent remained intact.

Google revealed in the report that the requests came from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Germany, Latvia, Austria, France, Poland, Hungary and Belgium.

Google did not disclose the reasons why it chose to delete certain links over others. According to an earlier report from the Wall Street Journal, Google may have considered certain criteria to come up with a decision. These include whether the person who made the request is a private or a public figure; whether the request has something to do with the humiliating events that happened in the individual's professional or private life and whether a crime-based search is deemed as having a minor or a major impact.

The company had so far informed all data watchdogs in Europe of the changes it is implementing on its search results.

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