12,000 Europeans ask Google to forget them

12,000 Europeans ask Google to forget them

EU eraser image courtesy of ShutterstockOn the first day that Google unenthusiastically provided a form to allow Europeans to ask that their pasts be e-forgotten, 12,000 made the request, according to Agence-France Presse.

The requests were submitted on Friday, after Google set up a form to allow Europeans to request that results about them be removed from internet searches.

Google was forced into providing the form after the European Union’s Court of Justice earlier in May ruled (PDF) that under existing EU data protection laws, search engine operators must be held responsible for processing personal data that appear on web pages published by third parties, so if the subject of a search doesn’t want said data to pop up, he or she has the right to ask that they be taken down.

Is that all the e-forget-me requesters have to do? Are their electronic selves now going to go up in a puff of e-smoke?

Heck, no.

Google’s not telling us how long it might take for a request to be approved or processed.

It says it will assess each request on its merits, looking for a balance between an individual’s right to privacy with the public’s interest in accessing data about them.

People whose pasts include nefarious escapades in particular might find it tougher to get returns taken down, given what Google says is a need to continue displaying information related to:

financial scams, professional malpractice, criminal convictions or public conduct of government officials

Google is also requiring petitioners to send along proof of identity in its efforts to keep imposters or others from inserting a monkey wrench into the workings of business competitors or legal actions.

The web form, which Google has said is just a placeholder until it gets the proper procedures up and running, asks for links to the outdated information that a requester wants to see go away, plus an explanation of why the data should be removed.

Will the numbers of petitioners rise? Or is it just a pent-up demand of people wanting to blip their e-existence?

Image of EU eraser courtesy of Shutterstock.