The right-to-be-forgotten law was implemented by the European Union in May 2014, and in the first 12 months Google received 282,407 requests for information to be removed.
The law allows citizens of the EU to request for outdated, misleading or erroneous information to be removed from the search engine. Google battled against the ruling, but following the law passing has approved the majority of requests.
Interestingly, the 282,407 requests actually asked for information to be removed from 1,027,207 webpages. Google approved 58.7 per cent of the requests for information to be removed, with 602,000 webpages removed from Google Search in Europe.
The massive numbers has caused some outlets to claim the right-to-be-forgotten law is used by criminals and other shady types to keep information out of the public domain. Google and the EU court have both made sure that isn’t the case, with manual overview of each case.
Google is not the only search engine providing right-to-be-forgotten services, Yahoo, Microsoft and DuckDuckGo offer similar ways to remove data. That said, numbers for other search engines are much lower, with Bing only receiving 20,000 requests as of early 2015.
Having the ability to remove information from search engines has become a key goal in Europe, as our online life starts to affect job applications and opportunities. Keeping a clean record, even on social sites, is starting to become a must.
The EU is not fully satisfied with Google’s current arrangement, since the search engine only removes information from the home country and other European domains on request. The EU believes Google should remove data from the main domain, Google.com, to make sure nobody receives false information.
Google is also facing a second anti-trust battle against the EU Commission, looking into potential anti-competition practices abused by Google on search and Android. Google is facing similar anti-monopoly rulings in Russia, following Yandex complaining to the anti-monopoly court on Android’s anti-competitive app policies.