Google Gets More Than 12,000 Privacy Requests

Thousands fill out a form asking the search engine to block sites containing damaging or outdated information about them.

More than 12,000 people have asked Google to “erase” information from search results within hours of the service being launched.

A spokeswoman told Sky News requests came in at a rate of up to 20 per minute across Europe after the internet giant launched its online “right to be forgotten” form on Friday morning.

The flood of requests came after Google bowed to a European court ruling which upheld the right to have some personal information blocked by online search engines.

The company introduced a mechanism for people to request the censorship of links to other internet sites which they believe contains outdated or damaging information.

Each request will see Google weigh the privacy rights of an individual against the public’s right to know.

Larry Page, the co-founder of Google and the company's chief executive
Larry Page has warned the rules could help repressive governments

The online request form asks for copies of the URL complained of, reasons the search results should be removed, and photo ID to prove an individual’s identity.

The system used to decide on each request has not yet been set up by Google – but decisions will be made by humans rather than computer algorithms.

A spokesman said: “We’re creating an expert advisory committee to take a thorough look at these issues. We’ll also be working with data protection authorities and others as we implement this ruling.”

Those unhappy with the outcome of their request can appeal to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) – Britain’s data watchdog – or take their case to court.

The ICO has told Sky News that sufficient time must now be given for Google and other search engines to set up internal structures to handle the requests, before it will rule on them.

Google chief executive Larry Page has warned the new privacy rules will make it hard for internet start-ups, and be exploited by repressive governments.

He told the Financial Times: “We’re a big company and we can respond to these kind of concerns and spend money on them and deal with them, it’s not a problem for us.

“But as a whole, as we regulate the internet, I think we’re not going to see the kind of innovation we’ve seen.”

He added: “It will be used by other governments that aren’t as forward and progressive as Europe to do bad things.

“Other people are going to pile on, probably … for reasons most Europeans would find negative.”

Next week, all of the EU states’ data watchdogs are due to meet as part of the Article 29 Working Party on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data.





Source: Sky News

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