Yesterday, The Guardian reported that Google has been ordered by the Information Commissioner’s office to remove nine links to articles about old news stories which had been previously deleted from search results under the Google Spain (right to be forgotten) ruling.

Publications such as The Telegraph and the BBC have published articles this year listing links to their articles which have been removed from Google’s search results for searches for certain terms under the ‘right to be forgotten’.

By republishing the links as a current news story, it allows Google to re-index the link, meaning it could once again show in a search result for that particular search term it was removed for – for example, a person’s name.

Google now has 35 days to remove nine links where this has happened. ICO Deputy Commissioner, David Smith has commented:

“We understand that links being removed as a result of this court ruling is something that newspapers want to write about. And we understand that people need to be able to find these stories through search engines like Google. But that does not need them to be revealed when searching on the original complainant’s name.”

Right to be forgotten

The ‘right to be forgotten’ – as it’s now commonly known, was the result of a landmark ruling in May 2014 which gave individuals in the EU the right to request outdated or irrelevant personal information to be deleted from Google’s search results for certain search terms.

Google’s latest transparency report shows that the search engine has received 253,617 removal requests since May 2014, rejecting 70% according to the International Business Times.

The Guardian revealed last month that 95% of requests came from the general public wanting to protect their personal and private information online; not from criminals, politicians and high-profile public figures as was previously assumed.

Google is very unlikely to remove a link from a certain search unless there is good reason and it falls under the guidelines set. At Igniyte, we’ve worked with hundreds of individuals to challenge or remove defamatory or irrelevant online content, and we know what’s likely to accepted under a right to be forgotten request. If you’re struggling with online content about you, get in touch with Caroline Skipsey on tel: +44 (0) 203 542 8689 or email [email protected] in confidence.