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15 May 2014
Google's memory

Google - The right to forget?

Hundreds of people including an ex-politician seeking re-election, a paedophile and a doctor have applied to have details about them wiped from Google's search index since a landmark ruling in Europe on Tuesday.

The deluge of claims trying to exercise the "right to be forgotten" follows a decision by Europe's highest court, which said that in some cases the right to privacy of individuals outweighs the freedom of search enginesto link to information about them although the information itself can remain on web pages.

The Guardian understands that the applications have been made to remove links to information that the complainants say is outdated or irrelevant including, in the UK, a former politician who is now seeking office and wishes information about their behaviour while in office to be removed. A man convicted of possessing child abuse images has demanded links to pages about his conviction are taken out of the index, while a doctor has said that negative reviews from patients should not be searchable.

In total hundreds of people have made claims across Europe since the ruling was released on Tuesday morning.

Google, which has more than 90% of the search market in Europe, declined to comment on how many applications it has received, or their nature.

A Google spokesperson said: "The ruling has significant implications for how we handle takedown requests. This is logistically complicated not least because of the many languages involved and the need for careful review. As soon as we have thought through exactly how this will work, which may take several weeks, we will let our users know."

Source: The Guardian.

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