12,000 Europeans Ask Google to Erase Information from Search Results; Google Worries About Fraud and Abuse

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

A new site Google Inc. set up to comply with a top European court’s “right to be forgotten” ruling has received more than 12,000 requests, reaching a peak of 20 requests per minute, just hours after it went live, a source told MarketWatch.

Google created the site late Thursday after Europe’s top court issued a controversial decision giving European residents the right to make Internet search engines remove links to online content deemed irrelevant, outdated or inappropriate.

Google also set up an advisory committee, which includes Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia, to examine issues related to the European court’s ruling.

“Our role is not just to recommend things to Google, but also to recommend to the public and to legislators,” Wales told The Wall Street Journal. “Hopefully it will be a group that will be looking for some solutions that are a step forward that people on all sides can agree will be a useable set of recommendations.”

Fraud quickly emerged as a key concern. On the site, Google requires a complainant not just to explain the reason for wanting to take down a link, but also proof of a person’s identity.

“Google often receives fraudulent removal requests from people impersonating others, trying to harm competitors, or improperly seeking to suppress legal information,” the company said on the site.

That requirement pointed to a major headache for Google and other Internet companies face as they try to comply with the European court’s ruling.

They need to set up a workable system to deal with what could be a deluge of requests for links to be taken down, one that can effectively filter out fraudulent requests.

A source familiar with Google’s plan told MarketWatch that the requests will have to be handled by people as they cannot be processed using algorithms. It’s an unclear how many people Google will have to assign to deal with the requests.

The potential for abuse is enormous, privacy groups said.

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SOURCE: Benjamin Pimentel
MarketWatch

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