Europeans have already been asking Google to "forget" them, since a ruling by a European Union court allowed for European citizens to have the "right to be forgotten" in search results. Now, Bing is joining its search engine companion in hiding certain results.
The requirements for people requesting to be forgotten are that the information must be "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant." If the search result meets one of those three criteria, it will no longer show up in Google or Bing results in Europe. The link, however, will still exist and the search result will still appear in other parts of the world.
While this is meant to protect people's privacy, some have already taken advantage of this with Google, getting them hide items such as this BBC story and several Guardian pieces, that reflected poorly on their subjects. Politicians with poor track records and businesses seeking to hide bad reviews have also gotten on board. Thus far, Google has received 70,000 removal requests.
Bing has now set up their own removal request process, so overall search engine requests for removal will certainly increase going forward. With Bing's form, those looking to be removed must prove their identity, explain their role in society, identify which pages they are asking to remove and why, and offer a signature proving this is the truth. It is a rather involved form, and may deter some users who are looking to remove things that, perhaps, do not meet the "right to be forgotten" criteria.
A website, "Hidden From Google," has been set up to help keep track of what has been removed from search results under this new law.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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