Your Right to Be Forgotten Online

Your Right to Be Forgotten Online

The European Union’s right to delist law, better known as the “Right to Be Forgotten” law grants individuals and entities the ability to direct search engines like Google to remove unwanted search results from the internet. The Right to Be Forgotten law was enacted in 2014 in the European Union (EU).

During the three years since the Right to Be Forgotten was enacted by the EU, Google reports that:

  • 2.4 M URLS were requested for delisting by Europeans
  • Only 43% of these requests have been fulfilled
  • 89% of requests came from individuals

Of the remaining 11% of requests the majority (40%) of delisting requests came from minor children. The balance of the requests came from corporations (21%), politicians (11%), public figures (14%), and other non-categorized requests to be forgotten.

The report also shows that of the 2.4 Million URLS that were requested to be forgotten, 19% are directories, 12% are social media accounts, 18% are news articles, and 3% are government URLS.

The right to be forgotten has been in practice in the European Union since 2006. The concept is that individuals and corporate entities have the right to live life offline without their personal or sensitive information indexed by search engines. Examples of damaging data can be revenge porn, disparaging ratings, or any other information a person wishes to remove.

The Google Spain SL judgement, Directive 95/46/EC, the Right to Delist,now commonly known as the Right to Be Forgotten applies to European Union citizens. The Agencia Española de Protección de Datos (Spanish Data Protection Agency; ‘the AEPD’) was to stop at removing listing from European search results. However, French courts argued the delisting should be global otherwise it is ineffective. The French Data Protection Authority, the CNIL, strongly supports the view that delistings should be global to be effective. Whether this law can expand outside of the EU borders or apply to someone who is not now connected with the EU is unclear. It has yet to be challenged by a claimant.

To apply for your right to be forgotten by Google, visit Google privacy center.