EU ruling impacting on Google

Google is already getting requests to remove objectionable personal information from its search engine after Europe’s top court ruled subjects have the "right to be forgotten".

The top internet search company has yet to figure out how to handle an expected flood of requests after Tuesday’s ruling, said a source.

The decision by the Court of Justice of the EU, which affects the region’s 500m citizens, requires that internet search services remove information deemed “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant.” Failure to do so can result in fines.

Google will need to build up an “army of removal experts” in each of the 28 EU countries, including those where Google does not have operations, the source said. Whether those experts merely remove controversial links or actually judge the merits of individual take-down requests are among the many questions Google has yet to figure out, the source said.

Europeans can submit take-down requests directly to internet companies rather than to local authorities or publishers, under the ruling.

Google is the dominant search engine in Europe, commanding about 93% of the market, according to StatCounter global statistics. Microsoft’s Bing has 2.4% and Yahoo Inc has 1.7%.

Yahoo is “carefully reviewing” the decision to assess the impact for its business and its users, a spokeswoman said. “Since our founding almost 20 years ago, we’ve supported an open and free internet; not one shaded by censorship.”

Microsoft declined to comment.

— Reuters

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