How Google, Yahoo, and Bing Meeting With EU Regulators Will Affect ‘Right to be Forgotten’

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

European Union regulators are not happy with Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) once again. This time it’s about how the company has complied with “the right to be forgotten.”

Google put up a request form for removal requests after it lost in the European Union Court of Justice case. As the ruling that Google must accept requests from users that some search results be removed only applies in European Union countries, Google set up the form only for European Union residents. Additionally, the removal requests only apply to the European versions of Google. A link removed on Google can still be found on any non-European version of Google, making them still accessible in the European Union by using another version of Google, like the American or Canadian variants of the search engine.

European Union regulators are not pleased about this loophole. They see it as Google not fully complying with the ruling by only removing links from the European versions of Google, reported Reuters. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), parent company of Bing, and Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) also met with European regulators over this issue too. How this will affect the two companies’ plans to comply with the ruling is unclear.

Microsoft originally planned an approach for Bing similar to Google’s response. Yahoo still has made no public announcement about what it is doing to comply with the ruling. Despite the fact that all three companies are American, they have to comply with the ruling if they wish to continue doing business in the European Union. Social media companies such as Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) are similarly affected by this court ruling.

How these will affect Internet users will likely depend on where they live. European Union users may see that their “right to be forgotten” extends to every version of a website. For non-European Union residents, a change in this policy is unlikely to affect them. They only ways it might affect this latter group is if is either they are European Union citizens or if any of these companies decides to extend whatever policy they adopt in the European Union worldwide. The reaction to it will depend on each individual’s perception of the right to privacy versus free speech rights, the central conflict between the European Union and Google right now.

Some professional groups from within the European Union are on Google’s side. BBC reports that the Society of Editors wrote United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron to get him to stand against the ruling. A BBC journalist’s story and links to several Guardian stories have been the targets of these requests.

Websites dedicated to listing “forgotten” links have also sprung-up recently, highlighting what Google has reluctantly removed from its search results and making them accessible in Google search again through these websites.

More from Tech Cheat Sheet: