Google has been forced to allow users to submit links containing personal information to be removed following a landmark lawsuit in Europe, whereby a Spanish man sued Google. Mario Costeja Gonzalez sued Google for defamation after he found it was displaying news articles relating back to 1998, containing his social security debts as the first search result under his name. Mr Gonzalez had since resolved all of these debts and his case was built around the loss of reputation, honour and dignity. Following the ruling, Google has received over 40,000 applications in the first few days of allowing submissions.
What do search engines remember about you?
Anywhere your name appears is logged and remembered by a search. Search engines cache information so that even if it is deleted or changes over time, a saved version will be available to view.
How can I get a search engine to delete any links about me?
Currently, only Europeans can request that Google removes links about them. The form for Europeans is available here.
If you want information about yourself removed online, you will have to contact the website hosting the content and tell them why you would like it removed, however it is are under no obligation to do so, unless it is breaking any laws.
Will Australians’ have the right to be forgotten in the future?
It’s hard to say whether or not Google will bring this to Australia, as it is in response to a lawsuit rather than Google’s own wishes. It’s likely that we will only see this feature introduced here if an Australian successfully sues Google in a similar manner to the case in Spain.