Google "right to be forgotten" tool reportedly in works

Google is reportedly cooking up an automated tool that will allow users to submit "right to be forgotten" requests, expecting a flood of demands to be pared from the search engine's index after a recent EU ruling. The decision by the European Union last week that users had a right to have links to inaccurate information cut from search listings was met with scorn from Google chairman Eric Schmidt, but that hasn't stopped the company's coders from apparently swinging into action to semi-automate the process.

The tool, described by Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection Johannes Caspar, will be available online and effectively automate the verification process, Computerworld reports.

Some degree of authentication will also be included, to ensure that the requests are coming from those legally entitled to make them, as well as to avoid legitimate information being sniped down. One of Google's persistent fears has been that some will use the legislation to try to redact embarrassing – but legally published – details about themselves.

Nonetheless, while the tool is said to be in the works, Google still intends to appeal against the decision. A spokesperson would not comment on the rumored online tool.

Google already automates many aspects of its interactions with users, which include the ability to remove personal information – or even have entire houses blurred in Google Street View photography – for Europeans.

"You have a collision between a right to be forgotten and a right to know," Schmidt said of the ruling last week. The decision was prompted, among other things, by a Spanish man who wished to have vanity search results linking to a former legal issue – now settled – deleted.

The source articles themselves are still of course present, but since Google is so often the gateway to those results, by dropping them from the index there's a fair chance they'll rarely be discovered organically.

VIA Computerworld