Removing online content using Google delisting
Removing content from the internet when the information about you is published by somebody else who has the control over the publication is a challenging task. A successful right to be forgotten application provides a way of delisting content from the internet but there are other ways too.
Google delisting under a right to be forgotten is a limited redress that was given to European citizens by the European Court of Justice to have certain internet content removed from search engine's search results. Google delisting under a right to be forgotten only gives a limited redress because first, it is limited to removing search results from Google only in relation to particular and specific search terms.
Generally speaking, the content will remain available on Google search in relation to all the search terms other than the ones that Google agreed to delist. Second, the search terms which Google will usually agree to delist are also limited in scope. For example, generally speaking, Google might not delist search results in relation to one's profession, place of work or anything which isn't that person's name. In reality, however, Google can be very flexible with this regard. See for example Right to be forgotten school teacher. Lastly, Google delisting under a right to be forgotten is limited because in most cases it only applies to search results that are shown in response to searches carried out from the countries which are members of the European Economic Area (EEA). More often than not, Google will refuse to delist links to offending pages from search results that are produced in response for searches carried out from countries outside of the EEA.
Google delisting happens when Google makes a decision to delist a link to an article or to an image from its search results. Usually, the delisting relates to specific search phrases, for example- your name. In reality, this in many cases is insufficient because the link to the unwanted article will often remain for searches which include the applicant's name plus her occupation. Or her name plus the town where she lives. Ideally, you will want Google to delist an unwanted article from all searches which contain your name, regardless of other phrases which are included in the search.
Delisting also means that if there is a change in the article's URL, which might happen for many different reasons, Google will then relist the article, which means you will need to go through the entire process all over again. When submitting a right to be forgotten request to Google, you will therefore need to ensure that you include the right variations of the searchs that are being carried out. You will need to achieve the right balance to have your request for delisting acceptable to Google whilst not raising a "wholesale" objection because if Google believes that your request for delisting is over baked, it is likely to reject it outright.
It is of course possible to achieve a entire delisting of articles from Google search but in order to achieve this, you will need to submit a well reasoned right to be forgotten request that will be agreeable to Google, event it it means that it needs to delist the unwanted article completely.
If Google refused your right to be forgotten application, you will probably want to consider exercising your legal rights under data protection law (GDPR), privacy law, defamation law, harassment law, copyright law and the common law concepts of misuse of private information and breach of confidence. All of those rights could be give sufficient grounds for delisting of the article from Google searches. However, each type of law you decide to pursue your application under, could impact the scope of the outcome.
For example, delisting under defamation law, might result in Google delisting articles from search engines and locations other than Europeans. If you could show Google that you have a reputation worldwide, Google might agree for a wider scope of delisting, including delisting from Google search results in various worldwide jurisdictions. If your Google delisting request is turned down, don't be disheartened. There are usually alternative routes and laws that you could try to apply under. You must remember that after all, Google doesn’t have the final say and it is always open for you to apply to the data protection regulator, the ICO or to the court.
To stand the best likelihood of Google delisting links to articles about you, you will need your right to be forgotten submission to be robust and highly effective. You may wish to challenge third parties, such as Google, the Information Commissioner’s Office, website hosts, website operators, individual posters and others to remove your information from the internet despite initial rejection of your request. It is our experience that those who persist and who have a reasonably good case, should pursue their right to be forgotten application as far as they can, because it is likely that this will eventually result in Google delisting - if not all - at least a large number of articles from search results.