Google revealed that the internet and technology giant has received nearly 150,000 requests to remove websites from the search engine, after the ‘right to be forgotten’ win this year. In May, a court ruled in favor of an individual who had said that he had the ‘right to be forgotten’ by the internet, which rarely forgets anything, mostly because it’s a giant database.
That being said, this past week after having a fairly quiet summer on the ‘right to be forgotten’ front, Google was once again checked at the door. This time, the company came out showing results. However, the results were not what most would have imagined. The expectation was that Google would have acted and shut down most of the URL’s that were called into question, quelling most customer complaints.
However, that was not the case. Google revealed that the company specifically received 145,544 requests under the act and that the company has gone on to evaluate almost 500,000 specific URL’s for removal while approving just 41.8% of those cases.
The other 58.2% of cases were simply denied and the individuals were left to dealing with the matter themselves, or perhaps trying to have the content that was either damaging, or inappropriate to be taken down by different means.
The interesting portion of the reveal is that Google seems to be taking a moral stand in their choosing to execute certain removals, and pass on others. For example, the company explains that they denied the request of a financial professor who wanted several links which reported on his arrest for financial crimes taken down, and that didn’t feel the same as some other queries individuals made.
For example, Google went on to explain that they took seriously, and took down the request a woman made which was “decades old,” and was about her husband’s murder. The article had her name on it, and essentially she wanted to be disassociated with the event. Google reacted swiftly to that request and had it taken down without any hesitation.
Google noted that the requests for such removal, or anonymity on the internet are reviewed by people, not computers – or algorithms. Most recently a case in Japan as spurred new conversations around what the tech giant can, and should take down – and under what circumstances.