Here’s How To Get Google To Delete Search Results

    May 30, 2014
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

Google has revealed a new process for takedown requests in relation to the recent controversial “right to be forgotten” ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union. The ruling says that Google and other search engines must take requests from people for search results to be deleted. The search engines will consider them on a case-by-case basis, so there’s nothing automatic here, but if Google or another search engine declines to comply with a request, the person doing the requesting should be able to take them to court, where a judge will decide what action is to be taken.

Do you think this is the right direction for search engines to be moving in? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Google has a new request form up here. The company will reportedly only remove results from EU versions of its search engine, and when it does so, it will disclose right in the search results that it has. In other words, people doing the searching will still see that you had Google remove results about yourself.

You’re required to select the country whose law applies to your request. These countries include: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. A few of these are outside of the EU.

Above the request form, Google offers the following statement:

A recent ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union found that certain users can ask search engines to remove results for queries that include their name where those results are “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive in relation to the purposes for which they were processed.”

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. When evaluating your request, we will look at whether the results include outdated information about you, as well as whether there’s a public interest in the information—for example, information about financial scams, professional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.

If you have a removal request, please fill out the form below. Please note that this form is an initial effort. We look forward to working closely with data protection authorities and others over the coming months as we refine our approach.

The company notes that it is still working on finalizing its implementation of the removal process.

Requesting a removal requires a copy of a valid form of photo ID. This, according to Google, is to prevent fraudulent removal request from people impersonating others, trying to harm competitors, or improperly seeking to suppress legal information. You shouldn’t have to worry about a new way for competitors to launch negative SEO attacks against you.

It lists spouses and attorneys as examples of people who can fill out the form other than the person who is the subject of the request. You’re then asked to provide the URL for each link appearing in a Google search for your name that you want removed, as well as an explanation (if not clear) why the linked page is about you, and an explanation about how the URL in search results is “irrelevant, outdated, or otherwise inappropriate.”

Upon completing a request, Google sends an email that says, “We have received your legal request. We are currently building our system for removing links from our search results according to EU data protection law. In the meantime, your message is in our queue. Once we have our system up and running, we’ll process your request as quickly as our workload permits.”

Danny Sullivan reports, “A trusted source familiar with Google’s plans tells Search Engine Land that in the near future, those requests be reviewed by people who are part of Google’s removal team. The timeframe isn’t set. Removals could happen in a matter of days, though they might not start for weeks.”

He reports that when requests are rejected, individuals will be notified and told they can appeal to their country’s data protection agency.

Google is not happy about having to do all of this. After the ruling, a spokesperson called it “disappointing…for search engines and online publishers in general.”

The ruling opens the doors for people who shouldn’t have search results removed to try and have them removed. While Google can reject a request, who knows how many court battles this will lead to? As soon as the ruling came out, Google got requests from a convicted pedophile, a doctor with a negative review, and a politician how had allegedly engaged in some questionable behavior while in office, among thousands of others.

Even before Google released this new request process, just since the ruling, 31 percent of its requests have were related to fraud and scams, 20 percent related to arrests or convictions for violent or otherwise serious crimes, 12 percent were related to child pornography arrests, 5% were from government and police, 2 percent from celebrities, and 30% “other”.

These people will apparently have to make their requests again using the new process.

Comedian John Oliver had a pretty good take on the ruling after it was made (I encourage you to watch the whole clip from his new HBO show). He said, “Okay, a failsafe question to ask yourself when drafting a law is, ‘Might child pornographers like this?’ If so, maybe take another pass at it.”

Google considers takedowns to be a form of censorship, and is unlikely to comply with any requests that don’t really have a legitimate reason behind them. It’s going to have to be more than “I don’t like this.” Google will get many, many requests, and it will no doubt be quite burdensome for the company. Furthermore, the ruling could set a precedent to be followed by other parts of the world in time, which could make things all the more complicated.

Do you think the new content removal request tool is going to be a legitimate solution to a complicated problem? Let us know what you think.

Image via Google

  • Truthsayer36

    Several relevant Links > re: Google corp. corruption,
    sleazy duplicity & creepiness, arrogance, and
    lack of responsible business practices…

    1. – (July 2013):
    “Google gets Lowest Score Ever in Customer Satisfaction Survey” =>

    2. – also, view:
    “Customer Service Scoreboard” site (note: Google Corp. has
    “Terrible” rating) =>

    3. –
    & peruse…


  • wertwert

    Oh Google… always taking the low road.

  • https://www.thegroovygroup.org THE ! GROOVY ! GROUP ! ®

    We do agree that Google should take off invalid information about someone. After all the information data does not belong to Google. But more important, what about Bing and Yahoo? The same rules should apply to those search engines too!

    Best regards

    THE ! GROOVY ! GROUP ! ®

  • Kevin Morley

    If the information is wrong remove it, if it’s true then it will always be valid. Take a fraudster or sex offender, they co it their offences over a long period intermittently. We remove records of their indiscretions from search so if you come across them for whatever reason and decide “I’ll run a check just to be safe” there’ll be no info and you’ll think you are safe when you may definitely not be.
    I think the main reason for this to be passed is for fraudulent politicians and their friends to cover their tracks but it will affect the most vulnerable in society in the long run.

  • Sensible one

    I think everyone should have the right to privacy, even ex-offenders who have served their time regardless of peoples personal feelings and opinions. People have the right to have their details removed and in the case of ex offenders, the decision should be approved by police and probation first.

  • Frank Ferth

    What a great idea! Take Google to court. Have you even looked into the cost of the retainer to do so?

  • Parrotheadpete

    I think that the Search Engine is retrieving data that is published already. The place to resolve the issue is at the source. In this case I actually side with Google, which is quite remarkable considering that I don’t use Google as I don’t trust their relevancy algorithm.

  • John

    Quote “Google has revealed a new process for takedown requests in relation to the recent controversial “right to be forgotten””

    is nothing “controversial” When a greater number of humans perceive
    that something is wrong – ie the abuse of the right to privacy from a
    mega company who has the dollars to do virtually anything it likes, when
    it likes. Then people will make their voice heard. That’s not
    “controversial.” Just because it it makes the news, it’s not
    controversial. Just because Google puts up resistance, it’s not
    “controversial.” When Google can’t get its own way it cries like a baby
    trying to make us believe that the company has been wronged. I have no
    sympathy or trust for Google, because it has done nothing to deserve

  • Kumar Vijay

    how to delete webpro news email plz mail to ramesh852963@gmail.com