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Google begins removing search results in Europe

Posting in Technology

In May, the European Union's highest court ruled that individuals have the "right to be forgotten," meaning that anyone in the E.U. could request that Google remove links that appear when you Google search for that person.

On Thursday, Google began removing the first (of thousands of) links from its search results, Wall Street Journal reports. Google hired a "removal team" that will evaluate which links from the requests must be removed, by law (some don't qualify), a job that some anti-censorship advocates find troubling. So far, only a "small number" of links have been removed.

A notification is now at the bottom of Google's European sites that reads: "Some results may have been removed under data protection law in Europe. Learn more."

But there does seem to be a way of checking for missing links if you believe links associated with a person's name have been removed (say you're interviewing someone for a job): use google.com instead of European sites (e.g. google.fr, google.de). At least for now, WSJ says:

At least one privacy regulator has expressed displeasure to Google in recent weeks over the fact that the company is only removing results from name searches on its European websites, but leaving them intact on the U.S.-based www.google.com, a person familiar with the meeting said. European Google users are normally redirected to local European versions of Google, but can easily change their preferences to use the unfiltered U.S. version.

Photo: Google screenshot

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— By on June 27, 2014, 1:45 PM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure