BBC economics editor Robert Peston woke up to a surprising email from Google this morning. Google had stripped a blog post he wrote seven years ago from their European search results, complying with new measures that require sites to honor the "right to be forgotten" online.
Here's what Google sent Peston:
Notice of removal from Google Search: we regret to inform you that we are no longer able to show the following pages from your website in response to certain searches on European versions of Google:
The post was removed because someone who was discussed in it asked Google to "forget" them. In the original article, Peston only named one particular individual, Stan O'Neal, a former executive at Merrill Lynch. That narrows down who put in the request to Google with great ease.
Peston describes his post as a discussion of "how O'Neal was forced out of Merrill after the investment bank suffered colossal losses on reckless investments it had made." The post did not outwardly attack O'Neal, nor was it "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant," which are the requirements set for being "forgotten."