A new service has launched which aims to make it much easier for people living in the EU to make a request to Google to remove their information from the search results. This ‘right to be forgotten’, as it’s called, comes after a ruling by the European court which explicitly gave people this power over the information kept about them online.
The new Forget.me service, which has been launched by Reputation VIP, offers a free, simple process for anyone living in a EU country to make the request. If you live elsewhere in the world you will not be able to use the service.
The service also can only help individuals, not companies, and while the winners will have their information deleted from Google’s European servers, it will not disappear from search results anywhere else in the world, such as the US or Asia.
The service will also help people format their request (using the right words) and select accurate URLs to make sure they have the maximum chance of succeeding in their request, although it should be remembered that Google’s criteria is very strict. In order to qualify the information must be found to be inadequate, obsolete, or excessive, which means that just because you don’t like the way someone wrote about you on the Web is probably not going to be good enough to warrant removal from the results.
So far, more than half the requests that Google has received from UK individuals have come from convicted criminals anxious to cover up evidence of their past activities. In these cases it is highly likely that the request will fail if it is deemed to be against the public interest. Individuals will also have to attach a valid photo ID to their request, which should add to the difficulty of getting redress.
This is going to be an interesting thing to watch as the process unfolds.