European authorities have questions about how Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG), Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) are implementing the removal of search engine listings of people who request to be delisted. After a meeting in Europe with the search engine providers, a list of questions the commission has will be submitted by the end of July, a press report said.
It is unknown what issues in particular are being addressed, but reports from the meeting indicate that search engine officials said the guidelines for removing a listing were “very vague and subjective.”
EU ordered Google to delete inadequate/irrelevant data
In May, when the European Court of Justice ordered that anyone could apply to have search results relating to them deleted from Google under the new “right to be forgotten” rule, it mandated that Google delete “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant” data from its results when a member of the public requests it.
As reported in ValueWalk, the rules could also be used to make making bad actors and their questionable decisions anonymous. In 2007 Peston penned an article on the BBC website titled “Merrill’s Mess,” a piece that explains how Merrill Lynch chief Stan O’Neal was pushed out of the investment bank after enduring significant losses on the back of what were called careless investments. Peston received a surprise. A “notice of removal” from Google told him his article, “Merrill’s Mess,” would no longer be shown in European Google search results.
Search engines: Posting methods objectivity and accuracy
As search engines and social media sites increasingly become an important news gathering source, the objectivity and accuracy of their posting methods becomes increasingly significant.
In the meeting Google said it has refused about 30 percent of requests, according to the statement from the European data protection authorities. The search engine received 91,000 take-down requests concerning 328,000 links to Web addresses, a Google spokesman confirmed to PC World. About 15 percent of requests prompted Google to ask additional information, while over half of all requests have been granted, the report said.
During the meeting the authorities requested search engines to explain their de-listing process and were asked if they contact web site owners if links were being de-listed. Search engines were also questioned about where the links were de-listed. Google, for instance, de-lists links in its Eurpopean focused search engine, but not Google.com, which is global in focus, the report noted.