Google and Microsoft to discuss Right to be Forgotten

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Google, Microsoft and Yahoo will convene to discuss the controversial Right to be Forgotten law with EU privacy officials next week.

The three tech companies will talk about the impact of introducing the law -which came into force in May - ontheir customers and the public in general.

The Right to be Forgotten ruling means that anyone can request information about them be removed from search engines deemed ""inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive" but it's up to search engines themselves to decide how to go about removing the links.

Google started stripping out search results in May, after it received 70,000 requests to remove such links, although since then it hasbacktracked a little and has started restoring some of the links to articles.

Microsoft has recently opened a forum where its users can request that articles relating to their namebe removed. However, because Bing's marketshare is so much smaller than Google in the EU, it's thought the search engine won't receive a high volume of requests.

The form says the search engine will "consider the balance between your individual privacy interest and the public interest in protecting free expression and the free availability of information, consistent with European law. As a result, making a request does not guarantee that a particular search result will be blocked."

Although none of the companies have publicly revealed what they plan to talk about when they attend EU HQ in Brussels next week, Google and Microsoft said they will co-operate with the organisations.

Many media companies and other companies who rely on search results to give their brand visibility have said the ruling is creating a censorship whitewash and influencing search results in such a way.

Earlier this week, a new website showing Google's blocked searches showed up online. Hidden from Google claims to have received hundreds of responses alerting them to search results hidden by the search engine.

Last week, the UK Government demanded that the EU's Right to be Forgotten law be dropped, saying it is "in the wrong position."

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.