If you’ve messed up in the past, Google won’t let you forget

If you requested Google to remove links from the internet that reveal more about your past than you can handle, there's a chance Google may just turn down your request.

In May 2014, the highest court of the European Union had upheld the 'right to be forgotten' principle, thus directing Google and other search engines to remove pages on the internet whenever requested by the citizens.

Exactly a year after the ruling, Google has published a transparency report that contains its track record in preserving the citizens' 'right to be forgotten' in the year that went by.

As per the report, Google received an astronomical 254,271 removal requests and consequently flagged down 922,638 URLs related to those requests. A large number of requests originated from the UK.

However, just 41.3 per cent of the URLs were actually removed from Google's search results. These URLs can still be searched out by changing the country in Google's website.

Removal of relevant URLs from its search pages is not binding on Google, or for that matter, any web-based search engine. Hence, if any publication of a particular data is legal and has a public interest bearing, search engines will be well within their rights to refuse any requests to take them down.

For instance, a doctor requested Google to remove 50 links from its search pages which were based on a 'failed procedure' that he had conducted. Since this hinged on public interest and that the public had a right to know such facts, Google removed only three links which hovered more around the doctor's personal life and less about the botched procedure.

If there is a treasure of knowledge available on the internet based on your life and times, their removal from public memory won't just be based on your whims but on the importance of that knowledge as well. You are free to go to court, though!


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