Google has started to comply with the European Union's "right to be forgotten" initiative, removing search results that have been requested to be removed.
The initiative by the European Union upholds the right of its citizens to have links to information about them prevented from showing up in Google search results.
The "right to be forgotten initiative" began with a case filed by Spaniard Mario Costeja Gonzales in 2009, complaining that a search through Google for his name returned results that linked to an article in a Spanish newspaper that he said were no longer relevant.
The article in question, dated 1998, detailed the foreclosure of Gonzales's property because of accumulated welfare debts.
The European Union's Court of Justice ruled in May that Internet users have the right to control the search results that appear when their names are looked up. The court also mandated that search engines should have in place proper channels through which requests to have search results removed would be processed.
Google has updated the technical infrastructure of its website to begin implementing the removal of results, with the company starting to send the first batch of emails that state that the removal request has been done.
Google has hired a team that is dedicated to the process, which will evaluate each removal request that the company receives. So far though, only a small portion of the requests that Google received has been processed.
"This week, we're starting to take action on the removals requests that we've received," said a spokesman for Google. "This is a new process for us. Each request has to be assessed individually, and we're working as quickly as possible to get through the queue."
Nearly one month ago, Google said that it had already received over 41,000 requests from individuals that wanted specific search engine results removed through a web form that the company had set up.
Requested links that will be removed will only be done so for search results in Europe. The search result will still show up in other locations. In addition, while the search result will be deleted, the information on the web page that the link is connected to will not be removed, as that is property of the owner of the web page and not that of Google.
Google's action on the "right to be forgotten" initiative of the European Union will set a precedent on how the principle will be applied to other companies and other parts of the world.