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Google right to be forgotten is little more than a self-serving publicity stunt

Staff writer |
A Google-commissioned report advising that the Internet giant implement the right to be forgotten only in Europe is little more than a self-serving publicity stunt, Consumer Watchdog said, adding that the important privacy protection should be implemented in the United States.

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"The right to be forgotten is an important privacy protection in the digital age. It's not censorship; it merely gives people some control over access to irrelevant information about them from the past," said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog's Privacy Project director.

"Instead of trying to limit its scope, Google should be working to adapt the policy for the United States."

In May the European Court of Justice ruled that a person has the right to request the removal of search engine links to information that is inadequate, irrelevant, no longer relevant, or excessive. The removal isn't automatic if requested. There needs to be a balance between the individual's privacy and public's right to know in making a decision to remove a link.

Since May Google has only implemented the ruling on European Internet domains like,, and The advisory panel endorsed – though not unanimously – Google's approach.

The Google panel's recommendation and Google's implementation are at odds with the position of the Article 29 Working Party, the organization of all European data protection authorities. The group has said the right should be applied to all Google Internet domains, including

In its Transparency Report Google says it has received evaluated 769,858 URLS for removal and removed 257,973 or 40.3 percent of them. Here is an example of a link Google says it removed: A woman requested the removal of a link to decades-old article about her husband's murder, which included her name. Google removed the link from search results for her name.

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