Brussels - Google has begun removing some search results to comply with a European Union ruling upholding citizens' right to have obsolete personal information about them hidden in search engines.
The so-called “right to be forgotten” was upheld by Europe's top court on May 13 when it ordered Google to remove a link to a 15-year-old newspaper article about a Spanish man's bankruptcy.
“This week we're starting to take action on removals requests that we've received,” a Google spokesman said on Thursday. “This is a new process for us. Each request has to be assessed individually and we're working as quickly as possible to get through the queue.”
Google received over 41 000 requests over four days after it put up an online form allowing Europeans to request that search results be removed, raising fears that the freedom of information on the web would be trampled upon in Europe.
But the ruling from the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) only applies to EU countries, meaning links that have been removed in Europe will still appear in search results elsewhere, for example in the United States.