Online Reputation Management Webcide.com about the Right to Be Forgotten . The right to be forgotten is a concept discussed and put into practice in the European Union (EU) and Argentina since 2006. The issue has arisen from desires of individuals to "determine the development of their life in an autonomous way, without being perpetually or periodically stigmatized as a consequence of a specific action performed in the past.":231 There has been controversy about the practicality of establishing a right to be forgotten to the status of an international human right in respect to access to information, due in part to the vagueness of current rulings attempting to implement such a right. There are concerns about its impact on the right to freedom of expression, its interaction with the right to privacy, and whether creating a right to be forgotten would decrease the quality of the Internet through censorship and a rewriting of history, and opposing concerns about problems such as revenge porn sites appearing in search engine listings for a person's name, or references to petty crimes committed many years ago indefinitely remaining an unduly prominent part of a person's footprint.In Article 12 of the Directive 95/46/EC the EU gave a legal base to internet protection for individuals.:233 In 2012 the European Commission disclosed a draft European Data Protection Regulation to supersede the directive, which includes specific protection in the right to be forgotten in Article 17.
To exercise the Right to be Forgotten and request removal from a search engine, one must complete a form through the search engine’s website. Google’s removal request process requires the applicant to identify their country of residence, personal information, a list of the URLs to be removed along with a short description of each one, and attachment of legal identification. The applicant receives an email from Google confirming the request but the request must be assessed before it is approved for removal. If the request is approved, the link is removed from search results but the content, however, remains online and is not completely erased. After a request is filled, their removals team reviews the request, weighing “the individual's right to privacy against the public's right to know,” deciding if the website is “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive in relation to the purposes for which they were processed.” Google has formed an Advisory Council of various professors, lawyers, and government officials from around Europe to provide guidelines for these decisions. However, the review process is still a mystery to the general public. Guidelines set by EU regulators were not released until November 2014, but Google began to take action on this much sooner than that, allowing them to “shape interpretation to [their] own ends.” In May 2015, 80 academics called for more transparency from Google, in an open letter.
The form asks people to select one of the twenty-eight countries that make up the European Union, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. “The form allows an individual or someone representing an individual to put in a request” for the removal of any URLs believed to be a violation of the individual’s privacy. Regardless of who is submitting the form, some form of photo identification of the person the form is being submitted for must be presented. The purpose of this is to provide proof that the person for whom the request is being made for does in fact approve.