Last week Google announced a new online form which allows users to request their private information be removed from the Google search engine. The form can be found here.

Following a judgment in the European Union court in the Google Spaincase, users can ask Google to remove results which are “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive in relation to the purposes for which they were processed”

In order to submit a removal request, users must:

  1. Provide their basic details;
  2. Provide the URL for each link about them which appears in a Google search which they wish to be removed;
  3. Explain how the page is about them (if not clear);
  4. Explain how the URL is irrelevant, outdated or otherwise inappropriate;
  5. Provide photographic ID and an electronic signature.

Google has said that it will “assess each individual request and attempt to balance the privacy rights of the individual with the public’s right to know and distribute information”. They will consider “whether the results include outdated information about you, as well as whether there’s a public interest in the information—for example, information about financial scams, professional malpractice, criminal convictions, or public conduct of government officials”.  Decisions about the removal of the data are being made by Google and complex cases or any disagreements will be discussed with the relevant national data protection agencies.

It is expected that information will start being removed from mid-June 2014 and there will be flags to alert searchers to the fact that the results may have been affected by removal requests.

It has been stressed that the current version of the form and procedure is in its early stages and this process may change over the next few months.  There is little doubt that Google will find themselves inundated with requests for removal.