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Google rejecting majority of ‘right to be forgotten’ requests

Google is rejecting the majority of requests it receives under the EU’s controversial “right to be forgotten” ruling.

Since being enforced last year, the search engine has had to remove links upon request when they are deemed inadequate or no longer relevant.

Read more: Embarrassed EC: Right to be forgotten not a right to “Photoshop your life”

However, despite concerns that the ruling would enable individuals to “Photoshop their lives,” figures from French company Reputation VIP have revealed that Google is rejecting more “right to be forgotten” requests than ever before. Although the search engine giant was accepting most of the requests last year, it has refused 70 per cent of all applications in recent months.

It is no surprise that Google is being particularly stringent with requests, as the firm has long argued that the EU ruling is unworkable and ineffective. If a proposal is accepted, Google will remove the offending link from its European sites, however the website will still be accessible through, leading some commentators to request the extension of the ruling to include the US.

Google’s most recent Transparency Report indicates that out of the 922,638 URLs that it has evaluated for removal, only 41.3 per cent have been accepted. Using a country-by-country breakdown, France has seen 48 per cent of its removal requests accepted, Germany 48.9 per cent and the UK just 37.6 per cent.

Examples of the kinds of enquiries sent to Google include a request to remove a decades-old article about the murder of a woman’s husband that included her name. Although this request was accepted, Google rejected another from a UK-based media professional asking to remove links reporting on embarrassing content.

Read more: EU regulators demand global “right to be forgotten”

Google also revealed which websites are targeted most by removal requests, with social media sites like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Google Plus all featuring.

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with IT Pro Portal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.