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Microsoft joins Google in accepting 'right to be forgotten' requests

updated 07:55 am EDT, Thu July 17, 2014

Four-part request form allows Internet users to remove listings from Bing

Microsoft is following after Google in complying with a decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union over the "right to be forgotten." Microsoft has created a four-part form for users to request the removal of European search listings from Bing relating to their name, in cases where information can be deemed "inadequate, irrelevant, or no longer relevant."

Bing's request form comes two months after the ruling, reports Reuters, with the search engine taking up just 2.5 percent of the European search market as a whole Just as with Google, Microsoft states the request form will "help us to consider the balance between your individual privacy interest and the public interest in protecting free expression and the free availability of information, consistent with the European law." Microsoft also advises that filling out the form completely does not guarantee the results in question's removal.

The "right to be forgotten" ruling has been an issue for Google, with its removal requests having decidedly mixed results. As of last week, Google has received over 70,000 requests covering 250,000 webpage listings, with requests including the removal of posts critical of a politician's policies, criminals hiding news stories of violent crimes they were involved with, and professionals taking umbrage at online reviews.

The balance of what should be removed and what should remain is difficult for Google, as the public interest requirements of the ruling are "very vague and subjective tests." One widely-criticized removal involved a news story from the BBC covering the ouster of Stan O'Neal from Merrill Lynch. While the story was brought back into view for searches of O'Neal, it is believed the initial request causing the issue related to a story commenter, rather than anyone involved in the story itself.

by MacNN Staff



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