Google will restrict search terms to a link to a Wikipedia article in the latest attempt under the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) “Right to be Forgotten” legislation.
The ECJ issued a decision in May to back the so-called Right to be Forgotten Law, which means Google and other providers will have to remove search results that infringe on an individual’s privacy. In its decision, the ECJ said search providers should act to remove links when requested and could be coerced into doing so by the authorities if they resist initial applications for change.
The latest move by Google is the first request under the law to affect the 110 million page encyclopaedia.
The individual’s identity who requested the link removal is unknown. said the Guardian, but it will be put into effect “within days”.
Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales, has already expressed animosity towards the ECJ’s decision. He told Techcrunch in June, “You do not have a right to use the law to prevent Wikipedia editors from writing truthful information, nor do you have a right to use the law to prevent Google from publishing truthful information.
“Wikipedia can and should work hard to do a good job, just as Google can and should work hard to do a good job.”
In an interview with Radio 4 last month, Wales said that the ECJ laws have triggered a precarious situation in which the likes of search engines like Google are being given too much censorship power, which he described as a “dangerous path” to go down.
“If we want to go down a path where we are going to be censoring history, there is no way we should leave a private company like Google in charge of making those decisions.”
Wales will be advising Google when he later helps the UK parliament brainstorm search engine law recommendations.
Last week, Google revealed that it has dealt with approximately half of the Right to be Forgotten requests that have come its way, however it still faces criticism from regulators.
The firm revealed its figures at a formal meeting with European regulators and said, of 90,000 or more requests that have been posted, it has complied with around half.
On Wednesday, a damning report from the Lords Select Committee argued the law is “unworkable, unreasonable and wrong in principle”.
The Select Committee made the argument in its EU Data Protection Law: a ‘Right to be Forgotten’ report, claiming the recent legislation – which requires search firms to remove links to results that are outdated or unwanted by individuals – will cause more harm than good.
Committee chair Baroness Prashar said the ruling will put too much pressure on search providers, such as Google, which are currently ill-equipped to handle the extra workload.