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Google has released data on the link-removal requests it’s received in Europe following a ruling on the so-called right to be forgotten.
It may be noted that the European Court of Justice had directed earlier this year that people worried about their privacy can ask Google and other search engines to remove sensitive links from their search results.
The search engines, however, can decline the requests if they believe the links in question are in the public interest.
Google said that it had received 144,954 requests so far involving 497,695 URLs. Of that total, it has removed only 42%, keeping 58% in its results.
The company also gave a few examples of the type of requests it’s received so far. A rape victim in Germany asked Google to remove a link to a newspaper article about the crime. That page no longer appears in search results for the individual’s name.
But the search engine declined the request of a finance professional in Switzerland who asked Google to remove more than 10 links on his arrest and conviction for financial crimes.
The removal process remains controversial with free speech advocates complaining that the court ruling places too much power in the hands of search engines.
Individuals whose requests are denied by Google can request that local data protection authorities review the decision. Google says it is working to create a channel for appeals by webmasters whose links are removed from search results.