While the majority of Right to Be Forgotten (RTBF) take-down requests in Europe do not seek to conceal criminal misdeeds, the UK-based Daily Mail argues that in some cases it’s being abused by those trying to suppress criminal records.
The publication cites several egregious examples where criminals have had links successfully removed:
Examples of links deleted by Google include a number of Mail articles detailing issues ranging from drug abuse to incest, murder and spying . . . For instance, Mail received a request to remove a May 2009 article describing the sordid captivity in which Josef Fritzl kept his family . . . Another Mail story removed from Google concerned Ronald Castree, 61, a paedophile who abducted an 11-year old girl with learning difficulties before abusing and murdering her.
The Daily Mail explains that while individuals convicted of “serious crimes” will not have their RTBF requests granted, other innocent parties named in these articles can successfully remove articles, thus creating a potential loophole:
[T]hey can exploit the controversial ruling by asking any friends or family mentioned in the same article to make the request on their behalf.
To date Google has received almost 300,000 take-down requests. Across Europe it has granted roughly 60 percent of those requests.
Beyond Google itself Facebook is the single site in Europe that has been most directly impacted by RTBF and had the most links/content removed.
Last week Consumer Watchdog petitioned the US Federal Trade Commission to enact a European-style “Right to Be Forgotten” (RTBF) in the US.