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The right to be forgotten by Google

We all leave our digital footprints whether by sending emails, posting on social media sites or being part of any event that is published online. Unfortunately, these footprints are there to stay for good on the World Wide Web. Search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing classify and index photos, videos and articles so it is easy for users to find information on the net. Hence, anyone can easily pull out all your personal info with a few clicks. This is the main reason the EU tabled the right to be forgotten by Google so you can erase your tracks and remain anonymous.

The specifics

Now, there is a way to remove your personal details and activities that you have done whilst online. The EU recently filed a petition with Google based on a 2012 directive that protects individuals from the consequences of internet activities.

  • How you are indexed

Google compiles all information that exists on the web. It employs crawlers and uses links and once you are indexed, anyone who is searching for you will eventually find out everything that you have been doing online and offline. Hence, the top results yielded by the search engine will provide all your info where your name cropped up or in related search keywords.

  • The EU Directive

In May 2014, the European Court of Justice ruled in favour of a complainant requesting the right to be forgotten by Google. This means that EU citizens have the right to request that online information be removed from search listings. Hence, upon request, private individuals or companies can ask their names to be removed from search engine results. Anyone can insist on the right to be forgotten by Google based on the following circumstances:

  • Outdated, inaccurate or excessive information

Data about you which are no longer relevant can be misleading. Thus, to improve internet research and data integrity, you can ask that certain info be removed or amended.

  • Malicious acts

For security reasons, you might want to remove your name and that of your company to avoid being targets of revenge and other malicious acts.

Issues

The right to be forgotten by Google is not without controversies. People say that this derogation mainly benefits rich and powerful persons. It is not meant to filtre down to ordinary folks. Others see this ruling as a form of censorship. Internet research will also be affected in terms of data quality. Note that link removals by Google are only valid for website domains in Europe.

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