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Google has 35 days to remove ‘Right to Be Forgotten’ stories: UK Watchdog

Google has been given a period of 35 days to remove links to articles that are related to the company’s earlier right to be forgotten link removal requests in Europe. The order was issued this week by UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office, which has instructed Google to erase nine links to current news stories about earlier reports as they itself were removed from search listings under the ‘right to be forgotten’ mandate.

Google had earlier removed links related to a criminal offense committed 10 years ago under the right to be forgotten ruling. Though the removal of those links related to that offense spawned new posts, that had details about the removal, which were apparently indexed by the search engine giant. Hence, the order essentially implies only the removal of links that include search listings that includes the person’s name; it does not state the removal of all new links.

Google denied the removal of these links related to the crime that popped up via later news posts, which apparently had all the details related to original crime including the plaintiff’s name. The company argued their case by saying that these news posts form an essential part of the current news story and are in the public interest. The Mountain View-based tech giant now has a period of 35 days – from August 18 – to erase these links from its search engine listings for the plaintiff’s name. The company, however, has the right to appeal their concern to the General Regulatory Chamber against the ruling.

The right to be forgotten essentially allows citizens in the UK to appeal against any links in search engines which includes personal details about a user that are “inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant or excessive.” It was initially confirmed in 2014 by European Court of Justice, when a Spanish woman asked to remove search results linking her to long resolved property repossession.

In a short span of time, Google then received 281,242 URL removal requests from European users for a permanent removal of such links. Google then obliged and removed 41.3 percent of those link requests. Meanwhile, advocacy group Consumer WatchDog recently claimed that Google’s inability to offers its users in the US the same right to be forgotten privacy allowed in the UK, is a clear breach of the US law on unfair and deceptive trade practices. Back in July, the group submitted a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), asking them to look into the situation.