For the first time, a link to a Wikipedia entry has been removed from Google’s search results, as a consequence of the new EU ‘right to be forgotten’ law.
Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia’s founder, has previously expressed his disapproval of the new EU legislation, which was passed back in May. The law means anyone can send a request to Google to have a link about them removed, as long as the information is irrelevant or outdated. Once a link is removed, users in the EU won’t be able to see it in Google’s search results.
As part of a Google-appointed panel, Mr Wales is responsible for creating guidelines on how search engines should decide which removal requests can be approved. In a comment to The Guardian, Mr Wales said: “The legislation is completely insane and needs to be fixed”.
[themecolor]Dangerous to put Google in charge of ‘censoring history’[/themecolor]
Back in July, Mr Wales said the law is currently confusing, as the ruling from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) is not easy to interpret. He added that it was dangerous to let Google be in charge of censoring history.
The Lords Home Affairs EU Sub-Committee also believes that the law is unreasonable and that companies like Google should not be making the decisions regarding what should and shouldn’t be removed.
The law has been the subject of many discussions since its implementation. Some groups are in favour of the law, which offers more privacy, whilst others have called it censorship, as it removes the right to free speech.
So far, Google has received more than 90,000 requests to remove links from its search engine results and now other search engines, such as Bing, are accepting public removal requests too.
Some of Google’s removal decisions have come under fire already, such as the removal of a BBC article by Robert Peston – a decision which was later reverted.