Celebrities and public figures hoping to use the recent “right to be forgotten” ruling to wipe the slate clean on embarrassing press coverage could be in for a nasty shock.
According to Google insiders, the company will turn down such requests because it does not believe the European Court of Justice ruling covers public figures who want to have potentially damaging material removed.
Google has already had 50,000 requests to remove search results and started to take-downs late last week.
Searches for people’s names now include a message at the bottom of the results page that says results “may have been removed under data protection law in Europe”, although this does not mean the person has requested links be deleted.
Complaints over Google’s interpretation of the court ruling could be taken to the Information Commissioner’s Office, although the regulator has already stated it could be “some months” before guidance is issued.
Larry Cohen, a London-cased partner at the legal firm Latham & Watkins, told The Sunday Times: “The ruling makes clear that public figures have a lower expectation of privacy. This judgment will help certain people, but not when it concerns public figures or people in whom there is a genuine public interest.”
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