12,000 ask Google to “forget” them

Google receives 12,000 ‘forget me’ requests on first day

Thousands of EU residents complete online form requesting information about them is removed from the search engine

MORE than 12,000 people across Europe asked Google to erase information from search results on the day its online “scrubbing” form was launched.

It was reported that requests came in at a rate of up to 20 per minute from across Europe after the internet giant launched its online "right to be forgotten" form on Friday morning.

Last month, the European Court of Justice ruled that people could ask for outdated or inaccurate information about them to be removed from searches.

The court’s decision followed widespread concern in Europe about personal, and perhaps damaging, information being published online.

The case was originally launched by a Spanish man who objected to old articles emerging from a Google search of his name. When Mario Costeja Gonzalez typed his name into the search engine, it threw up 16-year-old articles about his home being repossessed, something he would rather have the world forget.

Google refused to speculate on how long it would take to purge data. Requests will be individually investigated to determine whether they meet the court’s guidelines, it said.

Anyone who completes a form has to supply ID and electronically sign it.

A spokesman said: “The court's ruling requires Google to make difficult judgements about an individual's right to be forgotten and the public's right to know.”

Other search engines, such as Yahoo and Bing, are also subject to the court’s decision.

Many have already questioned the effectiveness of the measure. According to reports, links will only be removed from European versions of its search engines and not Google.com.

Photo: Robert Scoble

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