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August 15, 2014

Right to Be Forgotten Request Denied?

If you have had a Right to be Forgotten application denied by Google then this article looks at some of the common mis-conceptions around the legislation and why Google can reject based on wide criteria

If you have had a Right to Be Forgotten Request denied by Google, you are not alone.

We have made many applications to Google on behalf of existing and new  clients at Igniyte, many of which have been rejected due to Google citing ‘Public Interest’.

There seems to be a lot of confusion amongst people we talk to about how the ruling will apply to them. To recap, the ruling is about: removing incorrect personal information that is no longer relevant or deemed to be in the public interest. The ruling does not apply to Companies, Brands or Products so you cant get reviews removed for example.

Misconceptions:

‘Delete every thing about me from Google under the new legislation’

This is a common request that we receive – no consideration is given to whether the content conforms to the legislation criteria. In these cases we will advise the client to reconsider whether they should make applications as there will be a decreased chance of success.

‘Someone has written something about me online that is factually incorrect regarding something I did or was involved in therefore Google must pull it’

This isn’t the type of content that is likely to be pulled under the new legislation. Google is not going to get involved in ‘he said/she said’ type arguments, even if they are played out in the media or justice system. Where it does apply is aged/incorrect/out of date personal information e.g addresses.

‘How can that content about me be in the public interest?’

We do not know the criteria for public interest that Google is applying but we can see from the applications that we have made and had rejected that it is extremely varied. If its been in the National Press or Media or if its to do with a court case, conviction, fraud, sexual offenses or scams and it’s recent, it seems unlikely that content will be de-listed without very good supporting reasons. We know of applications that relate to court cases as far back as the mid-70’s that have been rejected by Google. However, there are some stories emerging recently of cases where individuals have successfully challenged Google and won – Man Tells Google why he has Right to be Forgotten

 ‘I have been told that my case falls under the new legislation therefore Google must pull the content’

Unsurprisingly there are a large number of ‘experts’ emerging who are giving advice, but my advice; is if you are taking an opinion from someone, ask them how many applications they have actually made as an indicator of their experience/ knowledge/ expertise and about what is and isn’t getting pulled by Google

 

The general lack of understanding has meant a lot of frustration amongst those people wishing to challenge content online and disappointment when the application is rejected.

Unfortunately, having the Right to be Forgotten in legislation is not as easy in practice to implement. The law allows for a lot of interpretation and the main interpreter is an organisation that fundamentally doesn’t agree with the law.

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