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Google Inc. will create a mechanism for German users to request the removal of links to information about them from the company’s popular search engine within the next two weeks, German privacy officials said Thursday, a sign that Google is moving quickly to implement a landmark decision from Europe’s top court that users have a right to such removals.
“They promised to come up with a process within two weeks for users to log their complaints,” Ulrich Kühn, deputy commissioner for Hamburg’s data-protection authority, said in an email following conversations with local Google representatives. The Hamburg data commissioner is Germany’s lead privacy regulator for Google because the company has its largest German office in the city.Google Will Have "Right to be Forgotten" System, In Germany, Within Two Weeks [blogs.wsj.com]
But figuring out how to write a policy for amorphous questions like whether a piece of information is truly irrelevant, or whether a person cited is a public figure, is a question even privacy regulators are still wrestling to answer.
The Guardian understands that the applications have been made to remove links to information that the complainants say is outdated or irrelevant including, in the UK, a former politician who is now seeking office and wishes information about their behaviour while in office to be removed. A man convicted of possessing child abuse images has demanded links to pages about his conviction are taken out of the index, while a doctor has said that negative reviews from patients should not be searchable.
The devil is in the details. How this all shakes out, and whether it becomes a usable feature or not, remains to be seen.