A couple of weeks ago, the European Court of Justice completely changed things for those who wanted to hide some piece of their past from Google searches.
The “right to be forgotten” seeks to strike a balance between the masses’ right to have access to information and that of people to protect themselves from their past, from information that is no longer relevant to their lives.
Google has set up a special form to help out with the entire process, since Europeans have already managed to swamp the company with requests. Filling it out is pretty simple, but it takes a few steps.
Filling In the Form
First off, you need to make sure to select the country whose law applies to your request. The list includes all European Union member countries and a few extras.
Then, you have to fill in the full name for which you are requesting search results to be removed. In other words, the exact phrase you use to search for the name on Google and which returns the unwanted links.
If you are representing another individual, you have to type in your own name in the second field, as well as the relationship to the person, such as “attorney,” “spouse,” “sibling” and so on. A contact email address where confirmation email will be sent is also requested.
Then, you get to the part that you’ve been waiting for – telling Google which links associated to your name you want removed.
There are three steps that you must comply with here. First, you must provide the URLs you want removed from the search results for the name you provided above. You can copy the link from the browser bar after clicking on the result.
Then, you have to explain, if not clear, why the linked page is about you or the person you represent. The final step requires you to explain to Google why the URL is irrelevant, outdated, or inappropriate. Google offers a single field by default, but you can add additional ones easily.
Since there are plenty of people who fraudulently try to get links removed that are not associated with them, whether to harm competitors or trying to suppress perfectly legal information, Google requires that you also add a clear, readable copy of your valid ID.
For those acting as the authorized agent of another person, you’ll have to add that person’s ID and authorization.
The final step is to confirm that the data filled in above is accurate and that you have the necessary authorization to make the request, followed by signing the form with a date and name.
What Happens Now?
You should be aware that if you want to file such a request, Google will individually analyze each request, which means that it may take some time to get a response, since the company is still working on refining the process.
The company will look at whether the results include outdated information about you, as well as consider whether there’s a public interest in the information. So, if the data you’re trying to get removed is about a financial scam, professional malpractices, criminal conviction, or public conduct of government officials, the demand will be rejected. There are certainly likely other situations as well.