What It Takes to Be 'Forgotten' on Google

What it takes for the search engine giant to forget you.

May 30, 2014, 12:22 PM
PHOTO: Attendees wait for the start of an event at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. on January 5, 2010.
Attendees wait for the start of an event at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. on January 5, 2010.
AFP/Getty Images

May 30, 2014— -- If only there was a magical online form one could fill out to wipe their digital life completely clean and start fresh.

People looking for a digital blank slate may be heartened to learn that such a form was rolled out by Google today.

However, there are some caveats.

The online form made its debut two weeks after the European Union Court of Justice ruled that some users may be within their rights to request the search engine remove results that are "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive in relation to the purposes for which they were processed.”

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Google said it is working to "finalize our implementation of removal requests" as it pertains to the ruling. Those seeking to be forgotten were welcomed to fill out the form and applicants will be notified when their request is processed, Google said.

Want to make it like you and Google never met? Not so fast. Here's the entire process explained:

Who and Where It Covers

Sorry, Donald Sterling. Google won't forget the former Los Angeles Clippers owner and his racist rant.

The ruling only applies to search results within the nearly three dozen domains under the jurisdiction of the European Union Court of Justice’s ruling.

So, if something about a Spanish guy gets removed, someone outside of Europe will still be able to access the link.

How to Make A Request

People who want to hide an aspect of their past will need to prove their identity, provide the links they want taken down and will need to explain why.

How Google Decides What to Take Down

Google said it will "assess each individual request and attempt to balance the privacy rights of the individual with the public’s right to know and distribute information."

That means balancing the public's need to know while also honoring the court's ruling and removing information that could be outdated or irrelevant.

Information about financial scams, malpractice, criminal records and public conduct of government officials?

That's all fair game on the Internet.

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