Those who follow international or tech news may be familiar with the EU’s “Right To Be Forgotten” law. In essence, the law allows an individual who does not want a URL pertaining to them seen by others to ask a search engine to delist that URL from search results related to the person. While it’s still accessible on the web, people essentially have to be looking for it in order to find it without the help of a search engine like Google or Bing. Google has been complying with these takedown requests on the site that’s local to the person requesting delisting for some time, but they announced a while ago that they will begin using geolocation techniques, such as GPS and network location, to avoid serving contested results for a region to anybody searching from that region, no matter which Google site they go through. That change is set to begin next week.
The change will not only affect new delistings, but will affect old requests retroactively, allowing some extra peace of mind for those who had made requests to Google under “Right To Be Forgotten” in the past. In order to view the contested results from their region of origin, people will have to know that they’re looking for contested content and make use of a tool or other method to fool the geolocator. The links can also still be reached through their site of origin. This move is not Google removing pages from the internet, only delisting them from their searches.
Free speech supporters, businesses and a host of other entities have raised controversy regarding the “Right To Be Forgotten”, but Google seems to have taken a “the law is the law” stance. This latest change, making it more difficult to access restricted search results from their region of origin, is likely to cause a backlash of some sort, but most search engines have been complying simply because noncompliance with applicable law is, obviously, a good way to attract unwanted attention, fines and perhaps even shutdowns, in extreme cases. To see the full details on the change directly from Google, head through the source link.