Some are twisting the facts in requests to be forgotten, Google says

Some requests are being made with 'false and inaccurate information,' Google says

Some of those seeking to scrub their histories from the Web under Europe's "right to be forgotten" rule are being economical with the truth when making their requests, Google said Thursday.

In a letter to European data regulators, Google listed some of the challenges it faces in complying with the ruling, which allows people to compel search engines like Google and Bing to remove links to pages that mention their name, if the references are "inadequate," "irrelevant" or "excessive."

Part of the problem is that Google must often rely on information submitted by the requester in granting or rejecting a request.

"Some requests turn out to have been made with false and inaccurate information," Google said in the letter. "Even if requesters provide us with accurate information, they understandably may avoid presenting facts that are not in their favor."

For example, it said, someone might want to remove an old article about crimes they committed when they were a teenager -- without revealing they'd been convicted of similar crimes as an adult.

As a result, Google might not be aware of information that would support leaving the search result intact.

Google has criticized the ruling in the past but said it's working to comply with it nonetheless. Its letter Thursday was in response to a questionnaire from regulators seeking more details about how it handles the requests.

As of July 18, Google had received more than 91,000 requests involving more than 328,000 URLs. On Thursday it said it had removed around 53 percent, or just over half, of those URLs. It declined to remove about a third of them, and requested more information in 15 percent of cases. It said those percentages could shift over time.

Reasons it might not grant a request include if removing the link would not be in the public interest, or if the contents of a link involve political speech, it said.

People in France and Germany submitted the most requests, at 17,500 and 16,500, respectively, Google said, followed by the U.K. with 12,000 requests, Spain with 8,000, Italy with 7,500 and Holland with 5,500.

Some webmasters have complained to Google about the removal of links to their sites, it said.

Others besides Google have criticized the ruling. This week, a U.K. House of Lords subcommittee said the ruling was unworkable and misguided. It said it could be particularly damaging for smaller search engines that don't have the resources to handle the requests.

Google provides a form online for the removal requests. So does Microsoft's Bing.

"We continue to work out the details of the process we'll use to evaluate the requests," a Microsoft spokeswoman said.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Internet-based applications and servicesGooglesecuritylegalinternetsearch enginesprivacy

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Zach Miners

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

D-Link PowerLine AV2 2000 Gigabit Network Kit

Learn more >

D-Link TAIPAN AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi Modem Router (DSL-4320L)

Learn more >

Crucial® BX200 SATA 2.5” 7mm (with 9.5mm adapter) Internal Solid State Drive

Learn more >

Xiro Drone Xplorer V -3 Axis Gimbal & 1080p Full HD 14MP Camera

Learn more >

ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q – Reign beyond virtual world

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >


Learn more >

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

ASUS VivoPC VM62 - Incredibly Powerful, Unbelievably Small

Learn more >

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Best Deals on PC World

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.


Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?