People who have asked Google to remove links to news stories under the controversial European ‘right to be forgotten‘ ruling are once again finding the move counter-productive. The BBC News site has posted links to stories removed from Google’s search, bringing back into the spotlight stories that are in some cases more than a decade old.
The BBC posted links to all 12 of the stories removed from Google’s search results. They range from the serious – three men accused of possessing bomb-making equipment in Ireland – to the ridiculous, a dispute over a lost dog …
In the Notice of Removal Google issued to the BBC by Google, the search company advised that the requests for removal were not necessarily made by the main subject of the stories, adding to the absurdity.
“Please note that in many cases, the affected queries do not relate to the name of any person mentioned prominently on the page,” the notices continued. “For example, in some cases, the name may appear only in a comment section.”
This would potentially mean that someone who had commented on a news story, and wanted to bring it back into the public eye, could do so by making a removal request.
Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales recently uploaded removal notices received from Google, and stated that those who tried to silence others were interfering with “a human right.”
The ‘right to be forgotten’ ruling has been widely criticized, with the British government describing it as “unreasonable and impossible,” and Google itself said that the company was being asked to make “difficult and debatable judgements” based on “very vague and subjective tests.”