As we here in the U.S. were entering holiday mode last week, official “Right to Be Forgotten” guidelines made their way to the public over in Europe. These come from the Article 29 Working Party, which is made up of data protection officials from throughout the European Union.
In case you haven’t been keeping up, the Right to Be Forgotten came as the result of a ruling a few months ago. It enables people to request that search results about them be removed from search engines. Search engines like Google have been tasked with determining whether or not requests are legitimate as well as which ones to act upon. Search engines obviously don’t like removing results because it’s a form of censorship.
Now, at least the engines have some guidelines to use as criteria for their evaluations rather than just kind of wining it as Google has been doing so far. The search engine, for the record, has been discussing approaches with various experts around the world.
The new guidelines are as follows:
Does the search result relate to a natural person – i.e. an individual? And does the search result come up against a search on the data subject’s name?
Does the data subject play a role in public life? Is the data subject a public figure?
Is the data subject a minor?
Is the data accurate?
Is the data relevant and not excessive?
Is the information sensitive within the meaning of Article 8 of the Directive 95/46/EC?
Is the data up to date? Is the data being made available for longer than is necessary for the purpose of the processing?
Is the data processing causing prejudice to the data subject? Does the data have a disproportionately negative privacy impact on the data subject?
Does the search result link to information that puts the data subject at risk?
In what context was the information published?
Was the original content published in the context of journalistic purposes?
Does the publisher of the data have a legal power – or a legal obligation– to make the personal data publicly available?
Does the data relate to a criminal offence?
Here’s the full document, which elaborates on each of these, courtesy of Search Engine Land (or you can find it on the government website here):
The blog also points to some findings from Forget.me including that Bing has only received about seven hundred requests to Google’s one hundred and sixty thousands.
Image via Google