Google is Facing a Fight Over Americans’ ‘Right To Be Forgotten’

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After Europe, it might be America’s turn to enjoy the ‘right to be forgotten‘. A consumer advocacy group in the US is urging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate why Google hasn’t extended this option to users in the country.

Consumer Watchdog’s privacy project director John Simpson wrote to the FTC yesterday, complaining that though Google claims to be dedicated to user privacy, its reluctance to allow Americans to remove ‘irrelevant’ search results is “unfair and deceptive.”

Following a ruling passed in the European Union last year, Google began honoring users’ requests to remove irrelevant, outdated or inflammatory search results that are on its European domains. France’s privacy regulator called for the results to be wiped from every version of Google’s search engine just last month.

The company has received over a million removal requests from users in Europe since last May and has honored 41 percent of them.

Google has previously removed sensitive information like social security and credit card numbers from its search results in the US. It also began removing links to ‘revenge porn‘ last month.

Simpson argued, “As clearly demonstrated by its willingness to remove links to certain information when requested in the United States, Google could easily offer the Right To Be Forgotten or Right To Relevancy request option to Americans.”

However, FTC chairwoman Edith Ramirez told Time last year, “An expansive ‘right to be forgotten’ is not something that’s likely to pass Constitutional muster here in the United States because there is a First Amendment right to both access to public information and freedom of expression.”

We’ve contacted Google for comment and will update this post when we hear back.

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