Google Offers Insight Into Its Right-To-Be-Forgotten Review Process
As discussed in my companion article, it has been a year since the “right to be forgotten” (RTBF) was established in Europe by the EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg. Google reports that in the past year it has received more than 254,000 removal requests from multiple countries across Europe. The top four countries in Europe making […]
As discussed in my companion article, it has been a year since the “right to be forgotten” (RTBF) was established in Europe by the EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg. Google reports that in the past year it has received more than 254,000 removal requests from multiple countries across Europe.
The top four countries in Europe making RTBF requests are the UK, Germany, The Netherlands and France. That’s according to Reputation VIP, the company that runs the Forget.me site, which has released data in honor of the one-year anniversary of RTBF. The most common claim or RTBF motivation is “invasion of privacy.” That’s followed by defamation.
Reputation VIP also said that 70 percent of RTBF requests are now being denied by Google. The average request processing time has also declined from 56 days to 16 over the past year.
Captured by the Wall Street Journal, Google’s global privacy counsel Peter Fleischer recently spoke at a conference in Berlin and offered interesting insight into Google’s process for deciding which RTBF requests are approved and which are denied:
The requests . . . first go to a large team of lawyers, paralegals and engineers who decide the easy cases . . . Google has dozens of people working on the requests, mostly out of the company’s European headquarters in Dublin, a Google spokesman said . . .
The harder ones get bumped up to the senior Google panel. Like many Google meetings, some participants are in a conference room, while others join remotely through the company’s Hangouts video-chat product, a spokesman said. Sometimes the group calls in outside experts, such as lawyers with particular specialties.
The Google employees discuss each case, then vote.
Fleischer contrasted an easy and a hard case in his Berlin remarks:
Easy case: A photo taken of a woman sunbathing topless while on vacation, published without her permission.
More difficult case: A German national was convicted in the U.S. of a sex crime that occurred when he was 16 years old. The victim was two years younger than him. In the U.S., his name was published. Under German law, his name wouldn’t have been published because he was a minor.
According to the WSJ, in the latter case Google decided to take down the link.
If an individual doesn’t like the Google decision, he or she has recourse and can appeal to the local country’s data protection authority.