Posted by Aimee Clifton 22 Jul 2014

Is Google Retaliating to the ‘right to be forgotten’ Rule?

'The right to be forgotten'

It’s no secret that new rules have been put in place in order to assist people in clearing their online reputations. However it’s the fact that the removals have been actioned with seemingly little justification that’s caused such a stir. A May ruling by the European Union Court of Justice stated Google must consider every request to have content removed, and in some circumstances it must comply.

Robert Peston said the content removal showed that the "right to be forgotten" will be "abused to curb freedom of expression and to suppress legitimate journalism that is in the public interest".

“The right to be forgotten” is based on the premise that outdated information about people should be removed after a certain period of time. However it is alleged that Google have reacted by removing articles that do not necessarily need to be removed in order to be compliant with the new legislation.

So is Google retaliating by trying to show how bad the new ruling could be? Or are they simply just encountering some teething problems?

The argument over ‘the right to be forgotten’ and ‘freedom of expression’ is a controversial one, and there are growing concerns from major news outlets surrounding unnecessary removals of journalism work from their correspondents.

It has also been suggested that the deletion of Preston’s article is merely a public relations stunt from Google in retaliation to the new regulations. What I am seeing is a reverse PR game Google is playing — create a storm," said Rishi Lakhani, an online marketing consultant."

While many are in favour of the court ruling, it is feared that the implementation of the rule will be somewhat difficult to execute, with the boundaries of both rights being somewhat blurred.

So whether Google’s reaction is intentional or not, it looks like the actioning of this ‘messy’ legislation could be a lengthy and controversial process.