Google gets take-down requests objectionable personal info after court ruling

May 15 2014, 10:28 IST
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Court ruling requires that Google Inc removes information deemed 'inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant'. (Reuters) Court ruling requires that Google Inc removes information deemed 'inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant'. (Reuters)
SummaryGoogle Inc has yet to figure out how to handle the expected flood of requests.

but has no formal relationship with the company.

Search engines will also have to authenticate requests, he noted, to ensure that the person seeking a link's removal is actually the one he or she claims to be.

Google is the dominant search engine in Europe, commanding about 93 percent of the market, according to StatCounter global statistics. Microsoft Corp's Bing has 2.4 percent and Yahoo Inc has 1.7 percent.

Google has some experience dealing with take-down requests in its YouTube video website, which has a process to remove uploads that infringe copyrights. Google has automated much of the process with a ContentID system that automatically scans uploaded videos for particular content that media companies have provided to YouTube.

Google may be able to create similar technology to address the EU requirements, said BGC Partners analyst Colin Gillis.

Even if Google does not automate the process, the extra cost of hiring staffers is likely to be insignificant to a company that generated roughly $60 billion in revenue last year, Gillis said. If Google were to pay staffers $15 an hour to process take-down requests, for example, the company could get a million hours of work for $15 million, he said. "It's the cost of doing business for them."

Google has said it is disappointed with the ruling, which it noted differed dramatically from a non-binding opinion by the ECJ's court adviser last year. That opinion said deleting information from search results would interfere with freedom of expression.

Yahoo is "carefully reviewing" the decision to assess the impact for its business and its users, a spokeswoman said in a statement. "Since our founding almost 20 years ago, we've supported an open and free internet; not one shaded by censorship."

Microsoft declined to comment.

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