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Google extends ‘right to be forgotten’ policy to all EU searches

Google extends ‘right to be forgotten’ policy to all EU searches
Google has announced it will use geolocation to make its ‘right to be forgotten’ policy in EU work, not only on its European subdomains but on its general Google.com domain as well.

While responding to European requests for certain search results removal in accordance with the “right to be forgotten” law, Google would previously delist the entries in question only from its sub-domains within the EU, such as google.fr or google.co.uk. The delisted entries could still be found on Google.com. But now that loophole is closing.

"Starting next week, in addition to our existing practice, we will also use geolocation signals (IP addresses etc) to restrict access to the delisted URL on all Google Search domains, including google.com, when accessed from the country of the person requesting the removal," the company said in a blog.

The tech giant says the decision to enact change to search results comes after “specific discussions” with EU data protection regulators that have been ongoing in recent months.

“We believe that this additional layer of delisting enables us to provide the enhanced protections that European regulators ask us for, while also upholding the rights of people in other countries to access lawfully published information,” the company said.

The “right to be forgotten” policy was established in 2014 by the Court of Justice of the European Union to protect the internet freedom of individuals online.

The court judgment ruled that internet search engines are responsible for the “processing that it carries out of personal data which appear on web pages published by third parties.”

It gives Europeans the right to ask the search engines to delist links about them that are inaccurate or outdated.

To implement the ruling, an individual must submit the URL they want to delist through Google's webform. If the internet giant deems the request meets the criteria of the European Court, then Google will delist the URL from the search results.

Since May 2014, Google says it has evaluated 1,400,006 URLs, removing slightly over 42 percent of the URLs. Up until now Google has received 397,502 requests from European internet users. The largest number of requests came from France, with over 84,000, followed by Germany with some 68,000, and the UK with close to 49,000 requests.