In a further twist in the “right to be forgotten” saga Google has been criticised for removing a BBC article from its search results under the ruling by the very same people who brought it in – the European Commission.
Ryan Heath, spokesman for the European Commission’s vice-president, said he could not see a “reasonable public interest” for the action. He added that the ruling should not allow people to “Photoshop their lives”.
This week Google began removing links to certain stories in European search results based on requests people have made claiming that the stories were “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant.”
The BBC’s economics editor Robert Peston received the following notice from Google about the removal of one of his articles from search results:
“Notice of removal from Google Search: we regret to inform you that we are no longer able to show the following pages from your website in response to certain searches on European versions of Google.”
Peston was curious about which article was being disappeared and who might have made the request. It turns out the only person mentioned in the 2007 article was former Merrill Lynch chairman Stan O’Neal. Peston’s article, titled “Merrill’s mess” dealt with why Mr O’Neal was ousted from Merrill Lynch, and described in detail Merrill’s “colossal losses on inventories of sub-prime loans”.
The US internet giant said on Thursday that it’s getting 1,000 requests a day to scrub results since the ruling.
At least three British media, including the Guardian newspaper and public broadcaster BBC, said Google notified them search results in Europe would not contain some links to their publications.
“It is the equivalent of going into libraries and burning books you don’t like,” Daily Mail Online publisher Martin Clarke said.
However, some have questioned whether Google’s over-zealous deletions of search results might be calculated to show up the European Court’s ruling, and create further debate over censorship. The search giant might see this as its only option, since it’s unable to appeal the court’s decision.Leave a comment on this article