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EU regulators to police Google's ‘right to be forgotten’ response

05 Jun 2014
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European data regulator oversight body, the Article 29 working group, is considering how national watchdogs should monitor Google's response to the European Court of Justice's (ECJ's) 'right to be forgotten' ruling.

According to Bloomberg, the group met today and agreed to look into how national regulators respond to complaints about Google's management of requests to delete online details.

Article 29 pulls together the national information commissioners and V3 has asked the UK's Information Commissioner's Office for comment on the body's intervention. It has not yet provided us with a response.

The ICO has already said it is pursuing a wait and see approach to the ECJ ruling, and the reaction to it.

In late May, Article 29 revealed that it would meet this week to discuss the ECJ decision.

It said then: "A first exchange of views between the EU data protection authorities will take place at the WP29 plenary meeting of 3-4 June 2014 in order to analyse the consequences of the ECJ's ruling and to identify guidelines in order to build a common approach of EU data protection authorities on the implementation of the ruling."

Google received 12,000 applications from people exercising their 'right to be forgotten' on the first day of the search firm's online request form going live. The total now stands at over 40,000.

Google put the form online on 30 May in response to a European Court of Justice decision which endorsed European citizens' right to have personal information removed from search results. It has proved popular.

The company said then that it would liaise with local data protection authorities to further refine the online request process.

Google added that it will look at each application on its individual merits, assessing each as it comes in on a range of criteria.

"In implementing this decision, we will assess each individual request and attempt to balance the privacy rights of the individual with the public's right to know and distribute information," it said.

"When evaluating your request, we will look at whether the results include outdated information about you, as well as whether there's a public interest in the information - for example, information about financial scams, professional malpractice, criminal convictions or public conduct of government officials."

Google has its work cut out here. V3 spoke to Google shortly after the form went live, and the firm confirmed that it received 12,000 completed forms on the first day.

The spokesperson said that Google has had over 20,000 individual requests since the ECJ decision was announced on 13 May. The Wall Street Journal reports that the total now stands at 41,000.

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Dave Neal

Dave Neal is a reporter at The INQUIRER. Previously he worked at, VNUnet, and IT Week in editor and journalist roles.

He started his career when the Y2K bug was a front page story and remains committed to covering the interesting world of technology news.

He left the world of office working four years ago and now represents The INQUIRER from home in Kent with his dog.

Dave has been quoted in papers including the London Metro.

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