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Google Ordered to Forget 'Right to Be Forgotten' Stories

Google removed articles after "right to be forgotten" requests; now, Google must remove articles about those articles.

Shutterstock / Volt Collection

A Google by any other name still can’t catch a break in Europe.

The search engine is locked in a lengthy battle with regulators across the Atlantic over the “right to be forgotten.” The latest twist: Even after Google complies by removing results from its search page, it is told it must do more.

After a European Court ruling last year, Google removed selected news articles that mentioned a 10-year-old criminal case after the person named in it filed a petition. Turns out, that makes for good copy. And plenty of news outlets published the story about the removal.

On Wednesday, the Information Commissioner’s Office, a watchdog agency in the United Kingdom, ordered that Google remove those news articles about the removal of the original news articles. The IOC gave Google a 35-day deadline.

The agency’s deputy commissioner, David Smith, seemed aware of the bizarre implications. “Let’s be clear,” he said in a statement. “We understand that links being removed as a result of this court ruling is something that newspapers want to write about. And we understand that people need to be able to find these stories through search engines like Google. But that does not need them to be revealed when searching on the original complainant’s name.”

Google declined to comment.

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