The BBC is helping Google Inc. with its European amnesia problem. In the wake of the European Union’s controversial “right to be forgotten” ruling, which requires search engines to comply with requests to remove links in certain situations, the British news organization is planning to publish a continually updated list of its article links that have been removed from Google.
The plan was announced by David Jordan, the BBC’s head of editorial policy, who said at a public meeting hosted by Google that he believed some BBC articles have been wrongly hidden, according to the BBC’s Dave Lee. According to Lee, Jordan said he believes the public has a “right to remember,” despite the EU law stating otherwise.
In a decision that angered journalists and free-speech advocates on both sides of the Atlantic, the European Union Court of Justice ruled in May that individuals may request that Google and other search engines remove links to Web pages that contain information about themselves -- even accurate information, in some cases. Under the ruling, search engines have to comply with such requests if information is deemed to be outdated or irrelevant. Google now has a “right to be forgotten” form on its support page.
The EU’s ruling stemmed from a 2010 case in which a lawyer, Mario Costeja González, argued that a decade-old article about his debt troubles should be removed from a newspaper website, given that his troubles had since been resolved. Instead, Spanish officials ordered Google to remove links to the article, while allowing the article to remain online. Europe’s highest court backed up that decision, affirming that citizens of the EU have a right to request that personal data be removed from search engines.
The BBC, similar to most news organizations, disagrees, and now it will publish an ongoing list of article URLs that have been wiped from Google. According to Lee, the plan is set to begin in “the next few weeks.”