Google censors more than a million links under EU privacy ruling

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Google censors more than a million links under EU privacy ruling

Implements 'right to be forgotten'.

Google has removed more than a million URLs from its search results following demands from EU citizens since May last year.

The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled in May last year that citizens of the economic and political bloc are entitled to ask search engines like Google to remove certain results about them.

Google and other search engines are required to assess if there's a public interest in continuing to display the results, and if not, it has to remove them.

Since May last year, Google said it has received 348,508 requests to remove results and so far has taken down 1,235,473 links, according to its most recent Transparency Report

The requests vary greatly, from individuals asking for results with images of themselves and their addresses to be removed, to convicted criminals wanting links to stories and blog posts about their deeds to be taken out of Google's index.

Google has agreed to remove results in 58 percent of cases, deciding in 42 percent that it is in the public interest to retain them.

Results from social network Facebook account for most of the removed links, along with those pointing to user interest finding site ProfileEngine.

Google properties such as Groups, YouTube, and Google+ also feature in the removal requests, along with Twitter and dating sites.

Search engines such as Google are increasingly under pressure from individuals, organisations and governments to amend search results to meet the demands of privacy, intellectual property and national security legislation.

The scale of removal requests has boomed over the last couple of years.

In the latest update to its transparency report, Google said for October 2015, it received over 67 million requests from copyright owners to remove links.

Government requests to remove links to obscenity, nudity, defamatory material, content that violates privacy and security laws, and other objectionable things rose four-fold between 2009 to 2014, Google said.

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