Google extends European Right to Be Forgotten link blocks – USA TODAY

8 months ago Comments Off on Google extends European Right to Be Forgotten link blocks – USA TODAY

SAN FRANCISCO — Google will extend the platforms that will block links of people who have successfully lobbied European regulators for their “right to be forgotten.”

The search giant will block links on all its international platforms, including the U.S. search platform, for searches coming from the country of the person who requested the block, according to a person familiar with the new policy.

In simpler terms, this is how the change will work: if a person in Austria were to successfully petition to have a link about themselves blocked, it would be blocked when someone searched using any of Google’s European domains — and also when someone in Austria searches, or

The link would still be visible to anyone outside of Austria who searched those sites.

Blocking searches on non-European sites represents a change from its previous policy, when only its European-based sites would block links. .

Google notified the European Union’s Data Protection Agency of the coming change two weeks ago. It is expected to go into effect soon, the person said.

The Menlo Park, Calif.-based company has been fighting the E.U. on the breadth of what it must block under European data privacy law for two years. The change came because of ongoing pressure from European courts and policymakers in several E.U countries, the person said.

The news was first reported by EFE, a Spanish news agency based in Madrid.

“In addition to our current practice of removing links from European domains, we will soon begin removing those links in all Google domains, for people searching from the applicant’s country,” Google told the news service.


Under European privacy law, individuals have the right to ask their country’s Data Protection Agency for removal of search engine results that link to information that is inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant or excessive.

The original Right to be Forgotten ruling came in 2014. It was the result of a Spanish man’s request to delete a legal notice in a Spanish newspaper’s online archive about the 1998 repossession of his home. The notice popped up when his name was searched in Google.

He said that because the proceeding had happened years ago and was now irrelevant, it should be removed from the newspaper’s searchable archive.

The Spanish court ruled the paper could keep the page up on its own site but that Google and other search engines must remove the listing from their search indexes, to protect the man’s privacy.

Since that ruling, Google and other search engines have been blocking links when Europeans successfully petition to have information “forgotten.”

However those blocks only applied to the European sites of the search engines, such as in Germany or in France. Searchers in Europe could easily get around the blocks by going to or another the international site outside of Europe.

Users in the U.S. can’t request such blocks.

Google extends European Right to Be Forgotten link blocks – USA TODAY

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