Google hit by takedown requests

Search engine Google is being flooded by requests to remove objectionable personal information from its search engine after Europe’s top court ruled that subjects have the “right to be forgotten.

Apparently Google is still trying to work out what to do about the the flood of requests after Tuesday’s ruling.

The Court of Justice of the European Union, which oversees the region’s 500 million citizens, requires that Internet search services remove information deemed “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant.” If it does not, it could be fined.

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt told the company’s annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday that there was a lot in the ruling which is tricky.

He said that there is a collision between a right to be forgotten and a right to know. Google believes having looked at the decision, which is binding, that the balance that was struck was wrong.

The search engine will need an “army of removal experts” in each of the 28 European Union countries, including those where Google does not have operations. Whether those staffers merely remove controversial links or actually judge the merits of individual take-down requests are among the many questions Google has yet to figure out, the source said.

Under the new rules, Europeans can submit take-down requests directly to internet companies rather than to local authorities or publishers. If a search engine elects not to remove the link, a person can sue them.

Search engines will also have to authenticate requests, to ensure that the person seeking a link’s removal is actually the one he or she claims to be. Golly!