Google Launches Forget-Me Form For EU Users Who Want Search Data Removed

Earlier this month, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that consumers have a legal “right to be forgotten” when it comes to Internet search engines and said there should be a way for users to request that certain data be excised from Google’s results. In response, the company has created a form that anyone in the 28 affected EU countries can use to ask to be forgotten.

The high court ruling allows for people in these countries to ask that their names no longer be attached to search results that are “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive in relation to the purposes for which they were processed.”

What this won’t do is remove correct-but-unpleasant search results. So if you were recently arrested for a DUI and that info makes it online, it may still turn up. However, if a search for your name turns up info about someone else being arrested for a DUI, then you’d have an argument to make for having those results removed.

The data removal process is not automated, and requires that each person making a request provide a photo ID.

“Google often receives fraudulent removal requests from people impersonating others, trying to harm competitors, or improperly seeking to suppress legal information,” the company explains. “To prevent this kind of abuse, we need to verify identity.”

Even then, Google isn’t just going to press a button to remove all those photos of Suzanne Somers that inexplicably show up when you Google yourself.

“In implementing this decision, we will assess each individual request and attempt to balance the privacy rights of the individual with the public’s right to know and distribute information,” writes Google. “When evaluating your request, we will look at whether the results include outdated information about you, as well as whether there’s a public interest in the information—for example, information about financial scams, professional malpractice, criminal convictions, or public conduct of government officials.”