Right to be forgotten on Google: FAQs

As a result of the decision established in May 2014 by the European Court of Justice, individuals have the “right to be forgotten”, that is the right to ask search engines like Google to delist a result for queries related to his name and which are considered a danger for his own reputation and privacy. Although a few years after the introduction of these new data protection laws have passed, many doubts still exist around this difficult subject: that’s why Google has published a list of FAQs about European privacy request Search removals. Let’s analyse together the most frequently asked questions and their Google’s answers.

How does Google’s procedure work?

Individuals who want to remove some content from Google for their right to be forgotten have to complete a specific Google web form. These individuals can also let their representatives complete their web form for them. Once the decision is reached, the individual or his representative will receive a reply by email, notifying him the decision and a brief explanation of the reason for that (especially if they do not accept to delist).

Who makes decisions about removal requests?

The decisions about removal requests and requests to delist content are up to a qualified team of auditors, part of the Staff of Google LLC. This team works mainly in Dublin and uses dedicated escalation paths and redeployment routes to target senior staff and Google lawyers, in case of need for the most complex and challenging cases. 

Which are the phases of the evaluation process?

In accordance with the guidelines of the Article 29 Working Party, some detailed criteria have been established to be followed during the removal request analysis. No removal request is automatically rejected by machines or people, but every request is meticulously analysed by the staff presented before. The evaluation process consists mainly of four phases: the first one consists in assessing whether the request contains all the necessary information to make a decision; after that, the staff determines whether the person making the request has a European citizenship or residency and whether the pages appear among the search results related to the applicant’s name. Finally, the page requested for delisting has to include inadequate, irrelevant, no longer relevant or excessive information. If necessary, the reviewers will ask for more information to support the evaluation.

What are the factors the reviewers look at?

There’s no absolute factor, but more criteria that are taken into consideration during such a decision. Among the most important factors, there are the attendant’s role in public life, the source of information, the release date of the news, the effect on Google’s users, the truthfulness of the content and the presence of sensitive data