Google, UK Authorities Negotiating 'Right To Be Forgotten'
Tech giant Google is in talks with regulators in the United Kingdom over almost 50 "right to be forgotten" cases there. The British Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) said it hoped to resolve the dispute during a round of talks, but noted that it could turn to enforcement powers if that doesn’t happen.
The ICO told the BBC that it was discussing 48 cases it believed Google didn't get quite right and has asked the Internet giant to revise its decisions. News of the talks comes a year after a ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union that Google -- and other search engines -- must remove links to articles that contain "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant" information about an individual. Under the decision, the person named must make a request to have the links removed from the results for a specific search.
Google has said repeatedly that it doesn’t want to be made the arbiter in such cases, as the ruling effectively makes it. Should negotiations falter between Google and the ICO, the agency could levy a fine and a legally binding enforcement notice that could lead to court action if Google refused to comply. The ICO would only take such action if it determined that Google's processes were not fit for purpose, rather than as a direct reaction to a single complaint.
Most Were Correct
The ICO said that since the details of the right to be forgotten ruling were first announced, it has handled over 183 complaints from people unhappy with Google's response to their takedown requests. In approximately three-quarters of those cases, the ICO ruled that Google was correct to turn down individuals' requests to have their information removed. But, the ICO added that there were still a significant number of cases where it thinks Google should revise its decisions.
"We haven't always got privacy right in Europe, not just because of errors we've made, but our attitude, too," a Google spokesman told the BBC. "But our swift and thoughtful implementation of the right to be forgotten ruling showed that for Google this was a genuine 'we get it' moment. We've also worked hard to give users more control over the data we collect and we're looking at how to make those tools easier to find and use. So stay tuned."
Free speech advocates have said the ruling makes it easier for people to hide references to them online, even if those references are fair and accurate. Others, though, have said the ruling helps people avoid bad news stories unfairly dominating the results of searches related to them.
Google said it has received more than 250,000 requests to remove about 920,000 links, 41.3 percent of which have been removed from its search results, according to the company's transparency report.
The ICO also said it is running a review of Web sites and apps used by children. That report will look at how information collection is explained and what parental permission is sought on 50 Web sites and apps.
Image credit: Google; Artist's concept.
Posted: 2015-05-13 @ 8:13pm PT
Why have all RTBF cases not come first to the EU Court of Justice, then, when the decision is made by the court, the court would inform all the search providers. This would stop the search providers from having to second guess what the court would determine.