Google has announced that it will remove Right to be Forgotten requests from its entire global search database, but within certain parameters.
France ordered Google to apply the Right to be Forgotten ruling worldwide in 2015, but Google resisted. Peter Fleischer, the firm's global privacy counsel, argued at the time that it would undermine the freedom of the web.
However, Fleischer said in a blog post on Friday that Google has now changed its position and will remove results across its entire database, including those already hidden.
"Starting next week, in addition to our existing practice, we will also use geolocation signals (like IP addresses) to restrict access to the delisted URL on all Google Search domains, including google.com, when accessed from the country of the person requesting the removal," he wrote.
"We’ll apply the change retrospectively to all delistings that we have already done under the European Court ruling."
However, as Fleischer noted, this will apply only when people search in the country of origin for that delisting.
"Let’s say we delist a URL as a result of a request from John Smith in the UK. Users in the UK would not see the URL in search results for queries containing [john smith] when searching on any Google Search domain, including google.com," he wrote.
"Users outside the UK could see the URL in search results when they search for [john smith] on any non-European Google Search domain [i.e. Google.com]."
It remains to be seen whether the move fully appeases the regulators, as Google's new system still does not give those requesting information to be removed the assurance that it cannot be seen at all.
However, Fleischer explained that the new system had come about as a result of “specific discussions” between Google and EU data protection regulators.
“We believe that this additional layer of delisting enables us to provide the enhanced protections that European regulators ask us for, while also upholding the rights of people in other countries to access lawfully published information," he said.
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