Google's 'pragmatic' response to Right to be Forgotten ruling praised by ISBA

Google’s move to set up a webpage allowing European citizens the right to request the removal of links has been described as “a pragmatic response to a flawed ruling” by advertising body ISBA, as the search giant attempted to meet the recent EU legal ruling.

The ‘Right to be Forgotten’ ruling, which will allow individuals to request that Google removes search results in which they appear, was made earlier this month.

The webpage features a form for applicants to fill out in order to request for the removal of a link from Google search results.

Bob Wootton, ISBA’s director of media & advertising, responded to news of the new site by praising Google; "Google’s pre-eminence gives advertisers certain advantages, but it has also led to a set of corporate behaviours that consumers and customers alike have issues with. While there is a sound argument that this decision may disadvantage start ups, this was, on the whole, a sensible move by what is by far the most significant search engine on the market."

Meanwhile, ISBA’s director of public affairs, said that the ‘right to be forgotten’ ruling had provoked ‘serious concerns’ among advertisers about how practical and costly the removal of such data could be and the level of fines anyone defying the ruling could face.

“While EU political boundaries mean very little when applied to the World Wide Web, Google deserves credit for grasping this particular nettle and taking some of the burden away from businesses,” he added.

When The Drum spoke to a number of media lawyers for their opinion on what the impact of the ruling could be, their reaction was mixed.

“I think what the ruling gives you is a limited right to be forgotten as long as the information is out of date, plainly incorrect or doesn’t serve some kind of public interest,” said Steve Kuncewicz, head Of IP & Media and associate at Bermans.

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