Google taking requests to censor results in Europe

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 30, 2014 at 5:38 pm •  Published: May 30, 2014
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Google will designate another team of its employees to sift through the requests to remove personal information from search results and decide which have grievances that should be honored under the European court ruling. The company won't decide how many employees will be assigned to this task until it gets a better sense of how many removal requests are likely to pour in from Europe.

Depending on the volume, it could turn into a monumental headache, even for a company with the financial and technological resources of Google.

Investors so far haven't given any sign of being worried about the new realities facing Google in Europe. The company's most widely traded class of stock has climbed 6 percent since the European court issued its game-changing decision. The shares closed at $571.65 Friday, leaving Google with a market value of about $385 billion.

Europe is one of the biggest markets for the online ads that generate most of Google's revenue. But implementing the "right to be forgotten" isn't expected to drive traffic away from Google because its major rivals must also abide by the new rules in Europe.

Imposing more limitations on what kind of personal information Google and other search engines can show in Europe has raised fears about the censorship affecting everything from elections to the safety of children. For instance, politicians might be able to block damaging information from showing up in search results. Other critics of the ruling have warned that even pedophiles might be able to delete past convictions from their results.

Supporters of the European court ruling, though, argue that people should be able to remove some information about youthful indiscretions, financial missteps and arrests that never resulted in convictions.

Google says that whenever it scrubs personal information from its European search results it will include a notice about some links being omitted, just as it has previously done when laws in countries such as China have required the company to censor data.

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