When something goes up on the internet, it’s almost permanent. Your data lies with so many people –your clients, partners, and other parties. Even when you stop taking services from someone, your data still stays with them.
If you’ve done something embarrassing in the past, it can linger on with you forever. Especially, if you’ve committed an offense.
And you can’t do anything about it really, can you? Luckily, if you’re in the EU, you have the right to be forgotten.
What is the right to be forgotten?
In 2014, a Spanish man asked Google to remove old news links about his bankruptcy. As a result, the European Court ruled that people’s data is controlled by search engines and they must consider requests related to outdated or irrelevant information that appears in search results.
This means that if you live in the European Union, you have the right to ask the search engines to take down any old and irrelevant data about you.
Since the law is made for personal privacy, there can be millions of people who want their old information to be removed.
As this number increases, there will be a need to set up a few organizations to review the requests and see if they should be fulfilled or not.
The GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is currently only in the EU. But other countries might soon adopt it as well.
Here’s how you can apply for your information to be deleted
- Find the links that you need to be removed
- Have a valid reason why you want them to be removed
- Visit the Google online form.
- Enter your details on the form. If you’re requesting information removal on behalf of someone else, you’ll need to upload their identification data.
Once you submit the request, Google will display a message that they have received your request and are currently building a system that would help them show their results according to the EU law.
After this law, Google received thousands of requests even before they put up the form. And since each request will be seen on a case-by-case basis, it will take time. Maybe a few days, maybe months. After all, Google will need to set up a special team to review each request.
This EU ruling isn’t just for Google but for all search engines. So Yahoo and Bing have to comply with the new laws as well.