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Google starts removing results for Europeans who wish to be forgotten…kinda



Right to be forgottonThe WSJ is reporting that Google has begun the laborious process of removing those results that individuals have requested under Europe’s new “right to be forgotten” law.

Google engineers overnight updated the company’s technical infrastructure to start implementing the removals, and Thursday began sending the first emails to individuals informing them that links they had requested were being taken down. Only a small number of the initial wave of requests has been processed.

“This week we’re starting to take action on the removals requests that we’ve received,” a Google spokesman said. “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.”

What’s interesting, and unknown to me up until today, is just exactly how the removal process will work. While an individual can ask for a result to be removed, it will only apply to a search for their name. Obviously the actual page remains on the web, but it also still remains in Google’s index.

“…results would only be removed from individual name searches, not from all of Google’s search results.” (emphasis added)

So, if someone searches for “bankrupt tycoon’s missing fortune” any relevant web page will still show–even if it has been removed from a search for that individual’s name.

The whole thing is a big ole mess. With an expected half a million removal requests in the first year–and a manual review–process, this should all go as smoothly as the Google reconsideration request that we all know works so quickly. ;-)