ICO orders Google to cull links to right to be forgotten news stories

Google building

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has ordered Google to remove search results linking to news stories about 'right to be forgotten' link removals.

Google has 32 days remaining to remove nine links to existing news stories, all of which discuss reports which the search giant had to remove from its results pages after people made requests under the EU right to be forgotten law.

The law allows EU citizens to request the removal of search result links relating to them which are deemed to be "inadequate, irrelevant, or no longer relevant".

But after Google removed search results linking to reports of a decade-old criminal offence after the person involved made the request, news posts about this removal made reference to the crime, and were then included in Google search results.

The ICO decided to force the search giant to cull these links to after the company refused to remove them, claiming they were in the public interest as examples of right to be forgotten link removal requests.

The watchdog's deputy commissioner, David Smith, said: ""The European court ruling last year was clear that links prompted by searching on an individual's name are subject to data protection rules. That means they shouldn't include personal information that is no longer relevant."

Google could appeal against the decision.

Last month, Google resisted calls from a French regulator to institute the right to be forgotten ruling outside the EU, which would have meant the search giant would have needed to remove links from domains such as google.com, as well as EU-specific sites.