Google Ordered To Remove Links To Stories About Google Removing Links

The U.K.’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has ordered Google to remove search results that linked to pages detailing previous link removals by Google. The search giant is apparently not interested in complying with that order, even though the company could face fines. ICO released a statement Thursday in which they said Google is defying their order.

Google was previously ordered to remove links that involved an individual who wanted to practice their so called “right to be forgotten.” Google removed the links, but refused to remove stories that documented the links being removed from the search engine.

Google is required to remove the links within 35 days after they were served the order. According to Ars Technica, the penalty for refusing to comply with an ICO order can be severe. In the UK, it’s considered a criminal offense and can carry a heavy fine. As an example, The Money Shop was recently fined £180,000 because one of their servers was stolen and customer data was lost. As Ars mentioned, defying an ICO order is considered more severe than The Money Shop’s infraction.

Links to the stories Google has removed were only delisted from Google’s European engines. From the U.S. Google web address, the links are still visible.

“The European court ruling last year was clear that links prompted by searching on an individual’s name are subject to data protection rules. That means they shouldn’t include personal information that is no longer relevant.”

As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Google has not been supportive of the EU’s “right to be forgotten” law. Europeans who have negative or irrelevant information posted about them online can ask Google and other search engines to delist the content.

Many people have rejected the “right to be forgotten” law and worry that it has become a form of censorship. One expert, David Rodin, who is Co-Director of the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict at Oxford University, argues that we don’t have a right to be forgotten.

“But there is no right to be forgotten. There is not even a right to be remembered fairly. This is for the simple reason that thought is free. We reject the notion that what we remember, and what we forget, can ever be subject to moral or legal constraint.”

Google still has time to comply with ICO’s order, but so far, the tech giant seems skeptical of the directive.

[Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images]