About the Information Commissioner’s Office and Contents Removal on the internet

Thanks to the right to erasure, also known as the “right to be forgotten”, you can ask online search engines to remove internet search results containing your personal data if, searching your name through the search engine, you see a result containing information about you and the information in that link is having a negative effect on your privacy. In this case, we can talk about the right of “delisting”, that is the possibility to stop that result from appearing in future searches with your name. Anyway, search providers are not forced to remove the link: there are some criteria explained by the UK’s independent authority set up to uphold information rights. If you want more details about the Information Commissioner’s Office and Contents Removal on the Internet, please read the following article. 

When you can remove contents from the internet and how to do it

Thanks to the right to be forgotten, you can ask search engine results to be taken down if some requirements are present, that mainly are: the search has to be made against your name, and the search result has to affect your privacy rights significantly. In these cases, you will be able to fill and send the search engine a right form to ask them to delete links. Try to give all the information you are asked for, because giving wrong or inaccurate details means your request is delayed or rejected. In any case, if you decide to request a search engine to remove a content, you have to know that it is not forced to do it. The search engine will decide depending on what you told him and whether there is a public interest in it remaining available. 

What to do if a search provider refuses to remove a content

If the search provider refuses to remove a personal content of yours, you can report your concern to the UK’s independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals, that is the Information Commissioner’s Office. You can report your concern and, after sending that, it won’t ask the search engine to immediately take down the result, but, likewise, they will consider a list of factors to decide whether the search provider should remove the results. Among the most common factors taken into account, there is the relation to a natural person, the appearance of the result against a search on the individual’s name, the potential role of the individual in public life, the age of the individual (if he/she is a minor), the accuracy of data, the presence of hate speech, slander, libel or similarly offensive content, the reference to health/religious information, the publishing date of the news, the potential risk or damage to the individual.