The EU organization charged with overseeing Europe’s Right To Be Forgotten appeals process – Article 29 Working Party (WP29) – says its review system for RTBF complaints is working just fine, and that the majority of RTBF requests denied by search engines are justified.
After creating a set of guidelines for reviewing RTBF appeals last December, WP29 – a group made up of data protection authorities from the EU’s member states – recently surveyed national regulators and has determined its process for reviewing appeals is operating efficiently.
In a statement released by the WP29 covering its survey results, the group claimed, “It follows from the answers received to the questionnaire that the system put in place by the WP29 has efficiently played its role.”
It also said of the nearly 2,000 complaints it has received, the great majority of RTBF requests denied by search engines were justified. WP29 confirmed the majority of complaints it reviewed concerned Google – which makes sense as Google owns the largest share of Europe’s search market.
While the WP29 found its process to be working efficiently, it did report a need to reassess its criteria for reviewing complaints.
”Some criteria might need to be refined in order to gain some more clarity. This is, for example, the case of the “role in public life” criteria. Data protection authorities will also need to reflect on how to assess to what extent a complaint is well-founded. Moreover, they will have to specify at what point a piece of information can be considered as outdated and thus irrelevant.”
WP29 also shared its process for reviewing complaints, explaining how data protection authorities from the individual EU member states have created teams to review, evaluate and respond to appeals following the guidelines the group created last September. While it did not specify specific authorities, it did say some had set up an “escalation system” for complex requests that were, “…subject to validation at a high level.”
Enacted a year ago, Europe’s Right to Be Forgotten law allows individuals the right to request outdated, inaccurate or irrelevant information attached to their names be removed from search engine results.
A report on TechCrunch pointed out that, considering the number of URL removal requests received by Google, the number of appeals received by the WP29 is relatively small.
“Thus far, some 2,000 delisting complaints have been received by regulators — which is pretty small when you consider that the total number of requests received by Google as of this month is just shy of 272,000,” writes TechCruch reporter Natasha Lomas.