To be "forgotten" on Google would seem like a dream come true to many celebrities and politicians who have been in the center of a scandal. Once its published on Google, it's there for good, isn't that right? While that was once the case, it has changed a bit as of today.
Google now offers a form for people to fill out and get that disparaging and embarrassing information removed, as long as it meets the criteria. A new "removal request" form was created for people to get unwanted information taken out of the Google search engines, according to ABC News on May 30.
Can you imagine the things on Google that people would want forgotten? There's no end to the possibilities here, or is there? As with anything else if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The new form is referred to online as the "forget me form" today.
Forbes reports today that ever since the European Union Court of Justice ruled that some users may be within their rights to request the search engine remove results that are "irrelevant" or "outdated," thousands of requests have bombarded the search engine giant. This court in Europe, which is equivalent to the U.S.'s Supreme Court, handed down a ruling that has prompted Google to create a department that will oversee requests from people who want information removed.
Google rolled out the new "removal request" form on Friday May 30 and anyone within the area governed by this ruling is welcome to fill it out and submit it to the folks at Google who will be reviewing the forms. This is only for the folks in Europe who are in the 32 domains covered by the European Union Court's ruling.
The requests already range from a person convicted of owning child pornography wanting articles about his arrest taken down to a doctor who wants reviews about her practice removed. This is something that many in the U.S. might find enticing, creating a digital clean slate on Google, but for now it is only for the folks on the other side of the Atlantic that fall within the area that their court rules over.
Google has stated that the requests will not be automatically honored. Each request will be individually assessed and depending on the content, Google may grant or reject the request. They need to balance the public's need to know with the ruling stipulations. This sounds like a tremendous and overwhelming task that would need an army of people to work the thousands upon thousands of requests that will undoubtedly come into Google .
If an information request is honored, the information taken off Google will still be accessible out of the area of the European court's ruling area, such as the United States and other countries not ruled by this court. People who want to hide some part of their past will need to provide Google with proof of their identity, the links they want taken down and most of all, they will need to explain why they want this removed from the giant search engine.
If there the information requested to be removed has a public interest aspect like "financial scams, professional malpractice, criminal convictions or the public conduct of government officials," these will most likely stay put on Google. Again, each case is different.
Oh, to be forgotten on Google, it sounds like a great concept, but it also sounds like a gargantuan task that will soon find the term back-log coming into play. Will this concept ever drift across the great pond for the folks in America? That remains to be seen!