How Europe Is Testing Whether You Can Make Google Forget

Kashmir Hill, whose Forbes blog The Not-So Private Parts is a new favorite, brings word of what could become a landmark case for the future of the Internet. A Spanish plastic surgeon is fighting to have a single, negative Google search result for his name expunged from the record. Google doesn't want to do it. In the U.S., the company's corporate power has been enough to keep it from having to do such individual scrubs. But in the European Union, regulators may just force Google to let people have more control over what shows up about them in the search engine's database.

It's a fascinating case all around. Check out the particulars:

A cutting edge legal complaint in Europe over Internet reputation could force Google to rethink how it handles individuals' control over the search results for their names.

Spanish plastic surgeon Hugo Guidotti Russo wanted Google to liposuction from his results a 1991 news article about a patient angry about an allegedly botched breast surgery. The article, from El País, about a breast surgery gone wrong that led a female patient to accuse Russo of malpractice, has the translated headline, "The risk of wanting to be slim." Russo was later cleared of wrongdoing in the surgery but the article -- which doesn't mention his acquittal -- shows up on Russo's first page of results. Google, as is its policy, refused to scrub it.

The case is one of over 80 in Spain in which the country's privacy regulator, the Agency for Data Protection, has ordered Google to intervene and delete links from search results because they are out of date or contain inaccurate information.

Read the full story at Kashmir Hill at Forbes.

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