News stories ‘forgotten’ from Google searches

British news outlets are having their stories removed from European Google searches under the continent’s “right to be forgotten.”

The Guardian, BBC and the Daily Mail have reported that their stories are being deleted from searches within Europe, which writers worried would be a threat to journalism.

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At the BBC, economics journalist Robert Peston wrote that he received a notification from Google on Wednesday that the Internet giant is “no longer able to show” Europeans a link to a 2007 blog post to. The post was about a former head of investment bank Merrill Lynch who was forced out after the bank suffered “colossal losses” on some of its investments.

“Most people would argue that it is highly relevant for the track record, good or bad, of a business leader to remain on the public record — especially someone widely seen as having played an important role in the worst financial crisis in living memory,” Peston wrote in questioning the action. 

The Guardian, meanwhile, found that articles about a disgraced soccer referee, a French office worker’s art and other stories had been scrubbed from searches. 

Links to stories about the soccer referee at the Daily Mail were also taken down

The European Court of Justice in May ordered Google to remove links to websites that may be embarrassing or out of date. 

The order only applies to searches from foreign versions of Google, such as google.fr. American versions of the site will continue to show the links.

The California-based Web firm began implementing the so-called “right to be forgotten” last week, and has reportedly received thousands of requests to take down links. The company has said that complying with the court order would be a gradual process.

The First Amendment makes a similar move in the U.S. seem unlikely, but some American privacy advocates have urged tech companies to consider the option.  

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