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Google to meet EU privacy groups over link removal

Google meets watchdogs

Google will meet with EU data and privacy watchdogs today to discuss the right to be forgotten ruling.

The European Court of Justice’s decision in May means members of the public can request that links to sensitive material be removed from Google’s search results – and should the material be deemed ‘irrelevant’, Google must comply.

The search giant will be joined by representatives from Yahoo and Bing – which launched its own right to be forgotten form last week – in Brussels to meet the Article 29 Working Party. This group is made up of a representative from the data protection watchdog of each EU country.

Removal to go global?

The right to be forgotten ruling has been plagued by controversy and concerns which are set to be discussed in the meeting. The Financial Times reports that the watchdogs will argue Google’s actions in response to the ruling have been inadequate; furthermore they will call for the links in question to be removed from all versions of the search engine across the world, including Google.com. As it currently stands, the ‘forgotten’ links can still be seen in SERPs here.

Christopher Graham, the UK’s Information Commissioner and representative in the Article 29 Working Party, told the BBC:

“The polluter pays, the polluter should clear up. Google is a massive commercial organisation making millions and millions out of processing people’s personal information. They’re going to have to do some tidying up.”

Editors urge resistance

Meanwhile the UK’s Society of Editors, which includes editors from the BBC, The Times and The Guardian, has sent a letter to David Cameron urging the government to “firmly resist” the ruling.

The letter claims there is “serious cause for concern”, and that a “vital principle” is at stake.

Carla Fazakerley, head of SEO at theEword, commented: “As many predicted, the EU right to be forgotten ruling has far-reaching implications, and the ECJ decision in May was just the beginning – it will be interesting to see what comes out of this meeting, especially with regards to global search results.”

Written by Rachel Hand

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