It was ruled as part of the ‘right to be forgotten‘ case in Europe last year that individuals could request to have links removed from Google search results, and now another group is calling for that right to be expanded to the United States. An activist group on Tuesday filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission that Google needs to expand the ‘right to be forgotten’ ruling to the United States, arguing that users should have the right to have inaccurate links removed from search results (via The Hill).
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The group argues that Google is misleading its users by claiming it is devoted to privacy while not offering the ability for them to have links removed. In Europe, Google has taken action over 41.3 percent of URLs requested by users to be removed. The EU remarked last month that most of the denials were justified and that few people appealed to the ruling handed down by Google over links.
The Consumer Watchdog in its complaint published on Tuesday said the following:
“Without a doubt requesting the removal of a search engine link from one’s name to irrelevant data under the Right To Be Forgotten (or Right to Relevancy) is an important privacy option. Though Google claims it is concerned about users’ privacy, it does not offer U.S. users the ability to make this basic request. Describing yourself as championing users’ privacy while not offering a key privacy tool — indeed one offered all across Europe — is deceptive behavior. Not offering Americans a basic privacy tool, while providing it to millions of users across Europe, is also an unfair practice.”
While many argue that a ‘right to be forgotten’ type program would not succeed in the United States due to the First Amendment protecting both public information and freedom of expression, Consumer Watchdog says that it is not censorship as it does not fully remove the information from the web.
Last month, France gave Google 15 days to expand ‘right to be forgotten’ worldwide to avoid facing sanctions. France said that when Google removes a link in Europe, that link should be removed from its search engines in every country, as well.