Google is braced for a tsunami of requests to remove personal information from its search engine, with the first demands coming just hours after this week’s European Court of Justice ruling.
Sources at the search engine giant say that they are still trying to work out how they will cope with the expected deluge after it was ruled that search engines must remove information deemed “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant” or face a massive fine.
The ruling only demands Google remove the link to the information, rather than the information itself. Sources at the company say they will need to build up an “army of removal experts” in each of the 28 European Union countries, including those where Google does not have operations.
Whether those experts just remove controversial links or actually judge the merits of individual deletion requests are among the many questions Google has yet to figure out, the source added.
Rival Yahoo is “carefully reviewing” the decision to work out the impact for its business and its users, a spokeswoman said, while Bing-owned Microsoft has yet to comment on the move.
It is claimed that Tuesday’s ruling will open up a “can of worms” for the entire communications industry and could affect search engine’s core advertising business as the likes of keywords and meta descriptions – crucial currency in search marketing – will be hit.
The case, which involved a Spanish man who wanted details of his business transactions deleted, is one of 180 similar cases in Spain whose complainants want Google to delete their personal information from the Web. The company, which has no right to appeal, claims forcing it to remove such data amounts to censorship.
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