May 30 - Embarrassed by personal data on the web? You can now ask Google to remove it - in Europe, at least - via an online 'Search Removal Request'. Ciara Sutton reports.
Requesting material be removed from Google's search results - it could be the perfect solution for those with a murky past. It comes after an EU ruling giving people the "right to be forgotten". Google, which processes around 90 percent of all Web searches in Europe, has created an online form for people to submit their requests. It will then consider whether the results include outdated information about a person versus whether there's a public interest in it. That might be details about professional malpractice, criminal convictions or the conduct of government officials. The decision by the EU Court of Justice puts Google in a tricky position as it will now have to interpret the EU's criteria. Chris Beauchamp is from IG. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHRIS BEAUCHAMP, SAYING: "Google has made its displeasure with this very clear and I think others will follow. But ultimately in the face of governments passing this kind of legislation there is little they can do. But it will just depend on jurisdictions and companies will look to alter their policies as they move from country to country. Of course, for ordinary people there are those who will always find a way round it, but most people will be rather pleased generally that they can control the information that can be seen on the internet and social media." The case was brought by a Spanish man who had his home repossessed and insisted online information about his finances infringed his privacy. Google is keen to preserve its popularity as a resource for all manner of information, and is now bracing for a barrage of requests. It could also face the challenge of processing requests in different languages, some in countries where Google doesn't operate. And failure to meet the EU's criteria for removing information could result in the EU imposing fines.