Google Lawyer Takes Aim at Right to be Forgotten

Google has further criticized the EU’s Right to be Forgotten ruling. This time it’s the company’s chief legal officer that has taken aim at the situation.

right to be forgotten

Photo: Google

Lawyer, David Drummond wrote in an op-ed in The Guardian that he was siding with the newspaper’s concerns over the removal of news stories, which The Guardian had criticized recently.

“It’s for these reasons that we disagree with the ruling. That said, we obviously respect the court’s authority and are doing our very best to comply quickly and responsibly,” said Drummond, adding that Google has received a wave of requests to remove search results, including dodgy politicians and criminals that want to eradicate their history, which are all “difficult value judgments”

“It’s a huge task, as we’ve had over 70,000 take-down requests covering 250,000 web pages since May.”

“So we now have a team of people reviewing each application individually, in most cases with limited information and almost no context,” he added.

The key to determining what needs to be removed is what is in the public interest, says Drummond. Google considers a number of factors for this such as the source of the information, if it relates to a public figure and how recently the details have been published.

The Guardian and BBC, last month, took particular exception to the Right to be Forgotten when a number of their articles were removed, including details of an embattled banker at Merrill Lynch, which commentators deemed was very much in the public interest as it relates to the mortgage crisis. These links were ultimately reinstated but Drummond did not address this particular story in his op-ed, leaving many questions unanswered such as how did Google not feel it was in the public interest?

The issue also highlighted the shortcomings of the ruling as searching for someone’s name will not return the result but searching a selection of usually vaguer terms together like, for example, job title, year, context (or even charge) could still find the articles in question.