Google may have been ordered to play by the rules of the European Union, but it still wants to control the game as best as it can. Following the “right to be forgotten” ruling from a few weeks ago and tens of thousands of link removal requests, Google plans to include notifications in the search results pages where it erased information.
The entire thing would take the form of an alert placed at the bottom of each page where links have been removed, which would make the entire process a bit more transparent, The Guardian reports.
The decision taken by the European Court of Justice is quite controversial because many consider that it doesn’t strike the right balance between people’s right to be forgotten and the world’s right to be informed.
According to the ruling, search engines need to allow citizens of the member countries of the European Union to demand the takedown of URLs from search results, if they feel like they’re not relevant anymore.
Of course, while this may be beneficial to some, there’s a huge risk of abuse of this new feature. Google has reportedly received demands from at least one pedophile looking to have links about his conviction taken off the search results pages.
When it launched the special form, the company made it as clear as possible what type of information it considered worthy of public interest. Google said that it wouldn’t remove links related to criminal charges, financial scams, professional malpractice, or public conduct of government officials, but the list may grow by the day, given the influx of demands. On the first day alone, Google received over 12,000 link removal requests.
In fact, by the time the first weekend was over, Google had racked in 41,000 requests, nearly a third of them being related to fraud or scam, one fifth related to serious crimes and 12 percent connected to child pornography arrests.
While Google may not show the link results that it has agreed to take down, it doesn’t mean that people shouldn’t know that action has been taken in regard to some content. The company does the same thing with links that were removed following complaints filed under the DMCA where there are copyright issues.
The Internet giant is also reportedly looking to include statistics about the “right to be forgotten” removals in its transparency report, alongside the data requests it receives from the world’s governments.
Basically, Google has been given the added job of deciding what’s relevant and what’s not and the company is still struggling to figure out how to make things less subjective and how to code an automated system to work through the demands.