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Search engines hauled before regulators

Thursday, July 24 11:56:43

Google will join Microsoft and Yahoo in a meeting with regulators in Brussels today to discuss the fallout from the so-called "right to be forgotten" ruling.

Earlier this summer, the European Court of Justice ruled that EU citizens had the right to request that information online that is inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant, or excessive be removed from search listings and other non-media websites.

Google reacted to the ruling by placing a form on its Website and is judging each case independently, and then removing some requested links from search results that specifically mention the relevant name and subject.

Google received more 12,000 requests for link removals within 24 hours of its European web form to handle requests being online. That number rose sharply to 70,000 removal requests in less than two months.

The meeting of regulators and search companies, known as the Article 29 Working Party, could place further restrictions and give strict guidance on how Google and other search engines respond to removal requests.

Google publicly expressed dismay on the ECJ’s ruling. Former chief executive Eric Schmidt said in May that “Google believes, having looked at the decision which is binding, that the balance that was struck was wrong.”

Larry Page, Google chief executive, also expressed concern that the ruling will be “used by other governments that aren’t as forward and progressive as Europe to do bad things", though has since distanced himself from that position.

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