Google Launches Removal Request For Your Online Footprint
Recently the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that certain users can ask search engines to remove results.
The results that can be removed are for queries that include the user’s name where the results returned are “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive in relation to the purposes for which they were processed.”
The ruling from the Court of Justice is commonly being referred to as a “right to be forgotten” request.
Google is currently working towards finalising the implementation of removal requests under the European data protection law.
They have already made an initial Removal Request Web Form available and state that they are working closely with data protection authorities to refine their approach.
In order to use the current form Google state, you will need to have a copy of a valid form of photo ID available.
They also state that In implementing their decision, they will assess each individual request and attempt to balance the privacy rights of the individual with the public’s right to know and distribute information.
Your Digital legacy
With more and more of us publishing our blogs and social media online, the right to be forgotten is not only relevant to those of us who are living and wanting to take down any data from our past which may adversely affect us.
It is also a very relevant subject when thinking of one’s death, what information do you want to stay in the public domain and what do you want to be removed forever.
There are many types of online accounts to consider including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and more, each of these will have their own processes when it comes to managing your data and its privacy.
Google state that when considering a removal request, they will look at whether the results include outdated information about you, as well as whether there’s a public interest in the information.
For example, information about financial scams, professional malpractice, criminal convictions, or public conduct of government officials.
Whilst the approach of submitting a Right to be forgotten request when your alive may be becoming more accessible, you may want to consider setting up a digital Will to allow your digital Guardians to manage your accounts and passwords and ensure the Digital Legacy you leave behind is closest to the one you would have wanted.
Think of it as managing your data at its source, as after all Google is a search engine that finds and collates your information from the online accounts you broadcast information about yourself from.