What is Google’s Right to be Forgotten?

Judith Thompson  10-09-2021

Google is the go to search engine for anybody who wants to find out information about an individual. Employers will regularly carry out searches on prospective employees, to find out whether there is any adverse information about them online, which could be harmful to their business if they took them on. Similarly, people often Google themselves to find out what information might be available to others about them online.

If you find information about yourself online which you would prefer was not available, you can make an application to Google and other search engines for the information to be blocked from a search of your name. This is generally known as the “right to be forgotten”.

The right to be forgotten arises from a decision of the European Court of Justice in 2014, in which the Judge said that where information is irrelevant, outdated, or otherwise inappropriate, it should be possible for an individual to request to a search engine that the information is blocked. Since then, the various search engines (primarily Google, Bing and Yahoo) have set up specific application processes whereby individuals can apply to have results blocked from a search of their name.

Anybody can make the application themselves, although many people prefer to instruct solicitors to carry out this work. We have assisted hundreds of clients with applications to Google and the other main search engines, for the right to be forgotten. The procedure is quick and simple, as well as being cost effective. We always carry out this work on a fixed fee basis, and we will always tell clients how much the fixed fee will be, before any costs are incurred.

All that we need is a list of the URLs that you wish to block, together with an explanation of why you feel the information is irrelevant, outdated or otherwise inappropriate, and a statement about the impact that the continued publication of the unwanted material has upon you.

In some cases, Google will respond very quickly to applications for the right to be forgotten. In other cases, Google will request further information or evidence, which we can provide.

The whole process is far quicker and cheaper than going to court to obtain an injunction to compel the search engines to remove material, or to have the underlying material removed, for example from a newspaper archive or other publication.

If you can see unwanted results appearing in a search of your name, contact us today to find out how we can help you with the right to be forgotten.

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