On May 13, 2014, Google was instructed by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to confiscate links to personal information about individuals if they request that the links be removed. The ruling stemmed from a case brought before the ECJ by Spaniard Mario. Spaniard argued that links to an article in a newspaper about his bankruptcy 16 years ago should be removed from Google search results because they were no longer relevant. According to Clark, by July 2015, Google received more than 2.4 million removal request links from its search engines but managed to remove more than 600000 links.
Problems Faced by Google
The problems faced by Google include privacy and expression freedom balancing and website compliance determination. The right to be forgotten is a compromise between a person’s right to privacy and the public’s right to access information that must be struck to maintain expression freedom and the right to privacy. This is a difficult line for Google to walk, as any decision could be seen as favoring one side over the other (Clark, n.d).
I would solve the privacy and expression freedom balancing challenge at Google by first creating a dedicated team to handle “right to be forgotten” requests. This team would be responsible for reviewing each request and determining whether or not the information should be removed from search results. They would also ensure that the request is properly processed and that all relevant parties are notified of the decision. Additionally, I would create a mechanism for appealing decisions made by the team. If a party feels that their request was not properly considered, or if they disagree with the decision made by the team, they would have the option to appeal to a higher authority.
Determining which websites should comply; the ruling only applies to search engines, but it is unclear which websites should fall within that category. Many people call for Google to remove links from all results, while others argue that only links from European domains should be removed (Clark, n.d). A possible solution to this problem I would have implemented is to develop a system for determining which websites should comply with requests for information removal. This system could consider the website’s popularity, the accuracy of the information, and relevance to the requester. It would also be important to ensure that these decisions are made fairly and without bias.
What Google did Well
Google has always been very open and transparent about its search engine algorithms and the changes they make to them. They also provide detailed information about how their search engine works, as well as what webmasters can do to improve their website’s ranking on Google. Additionally, Google has always been very good at developing new technologies and products (Clark, n.d). For example, they developed the Android operating system for mobile devices, which is now the world’s most popular operating system. They also developed Google Chrome, which is now the most popular web browser globally.
What Google did not do Well
First, Google company has not done a good job of differentiating between “public figures” and “private individuals.” The right to be forgotten should only apply to private individuals, but Google has been removing information about public figures as well (Clark, n.d). Second, Google has not been very transparent about the process by which they decide which requests to honor and which ones to ignore. Google has been very secretive about it, and people are concerned that they are using its power to censor information selectively.
In conclusion, website compliance and managing privacy concerns are among Google’s problems. Concerning balancing the problem of privacy and expression freedom, I would create a specialized team to handle “right to be forgotten” requests at Google. On the website compliance determination problem, I would develop a method for determining which websites should comply with demands for information removal. A few things Google did well are keeping their search engine system open and transparent to their clients and also coming up with the Android operating system.
Clark, C. (n.d). Case 8 Google and the right to be forgotten. Bentley University.