Google is being ordered to remove links to news stories about Europe’s ‘right to be forgotten’ ruling after the tech titan refused to take them down.

The U.K. Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) issued the order late Thursday and has given Google 32 days to comply.

Google last year removed links to news articles about a man’s criminal offense in 1998 after receiving a request from him to do so. Article written later about the right to be forgotten ruling, however, included both the man’s name and the criminal offense — and Google has refused to delist them.

ICO deputy commissioner David Smith said the original stories about the man were removed from Google’s European search engine because they were deemed to no longer be relevant, so subsequent stories mentioning his name should also be taken down.

“Google was right, in its original decision, to accept that search results relating to the complainant’s historic conviction were no longer relevant and were having a negative impact on privacy,” Smith said. “It is wrong of them to now refuse to remove newer links that reveal the same details and have the same negative impact.

“Let’s be clear,” Smith added. “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.”

Europe’s top court ruled last May that people have the “right to be forgotten” online forcing Google to comply with requests from “ordinary people” to remove outdated links and irrelevant information from its search engine. The European Union Court of Justice, in its ruling, said search engines must either edit or erase online search results if they are found to violate a person’s privacy.

Google, in June 2015, posted an online form that Europeans can fill out to request deletion of online information.

But that was not the end of the issue.

EU privacy watchdogs drafted new rules for Google to follow last November demanding the search engine firm, when it receives a right to be forgotten request, remove the links from all Google search engines, not just its European search.

Google is fighting the rules, saying European authorities do not have the right to govern its other search engines.


Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.

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