Graphic of keyboard with keys spelling out PRIVACY

CC Photo courtesy of g4ll4is on Flickr

The recent EU court’s ruling on the “right to be forgotten” is an interesting wrinkle in the debates around privacy and public information in the world of cyber-connection.  Even those who have carefully guarded what information they have “put out there” can find that information related to their name or face exists online and can be mined and redistributed in any number of ways.   While the EU  just forced  Google to institute a procedure for removing items from the “results” for searches originating in Europe (Google.fr and google.de), they were not forced to delete those items from their “repositiory” of sites.  Those who were hoping to  have the request option for the US version of Google are out of luck; no court has forced Google to do this for US yet.   However, if you want to clean up your “international image”, Jill Scharr’s helpful blog entry has more info on doing that.

Google does offer a procedure to remove “outdated” content. It may take some following-up with them (as the page suggests, since I guess they can take their time and/or refuse).  You will also need to do this in conjunction with the webmaster of your site (if you are not your own webmaster).

In the short-run, you can delete passages or pages on your site; however, since they were indexed by Google shortly after you “published” them, they would still show up in a google search.  The old/deleted materials will  “sink down” in the search-results as more people click on your more recent materials.   Your best bet in the interim, is to make old content “private”, and use either text-links to let people know that there is a more current page with a link to new info and/or implement a  re-direct URL to the now-current information….an inelegant solution until the google request is acknowledged, but a quick and dirty solution for the time-being.

For more information on privacy and security in relationship to your “online presence” check out our Info Ethics LibGuide