The EU's new rule (the result of a court case published May 13) requiring that online businesses remove on request information that is "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant"
has struck a chord with more than 12,000 individuals
, a number that's rising fast. Other search engines, ISPs, and firms are sure to follow, but the most prominent reaction to the decision thus far, and one that will probably influence all the ones to come, is Google's implementation of an online form
that users can submit to request that information related to them be deleted. The Daily Mail reports that the EU ruling "has already been criticised after early indications that around 12 per cent of applications were related to paedophilia
. A further 30 per cent concern fraud and 20 per cent were about people's arrests or convictions"; we mentioned earlier this month one pedophile's request for anonymity
. As the First Post story linked above puts it, the requirement that sites scrub their data on request puts nternet companies in the position of having to interpret the court’s broad criteria for information meeting the mandate's definition of "forgettable," "as well as developing criteria for distinguishing public figures from private individuals." Do you favor opt-out permissions for reporting facts linked to individuals? What data or opinions about themselves should people not
be able to suppress? (Note: Google's form has this disclaimer: "We're working to finalize our implementation of removal requests under European data protection law as soon as possible. In the meantime, please fill out the form below and we will notify you when we start processing your request." That finalization may take some time, since there are 28 data-protection agencies across the EU to harmonize.)