Microsoft to follow Google and let users be "forgotten"

Microsoft will put up an online form for users in the EU to request to have data removed from Bing

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
July 9, 2014
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/3807

When it comes to search engines, Bing may come in at a very distance second place to Google, but its still used by hundreds of millions of people. So if you're one of the people in the European Union who is looking to be "forgotten," you really want your information off of Bing results as well.

Well, you might just be in luck.

Microsoft has been awfully quiet since the a ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union which said that users have the right to ask Google to remove their name from certain search results.  The company could not simply ignore the ruling forever, and pretend it did not also have to comply, though. So Microsoft is finally ready to take a page from Google, and allow EU citizens to request to have their data removed, the New York Times reported on Wednesday. 

Like Google, Microsoft will create a form that users can fill out online, where they can cite links that they would like to be taken off of search results. The report does not have a timetable for when that will actually happen, but it notes that since Yahoo also uses Bing to power its search results, the two companies will have to coordinate their efforts. And that could potentially add extra time to getting the form up and running.

VatorNews has reached out to Microsoft to confirm the report. We will update this story if we learn more.

It will be interesting to see how Microsoft handles the whole "right to be forgotten," issue, as it has become a thorn in Google's side as it navigates just which stories it should, and should not, remove.

Just last week, Google ran into trouble after Guardian revealed that at least six stories had been removed from Google search results, without any explanation, including a number of stories involving a disgraced soccer referee. After being accused of censorship, Google reversed its decision.

The origins of the "right to be forgotten case," go all the way back in 2010, when a case involving a man whose house had been foreclosed on was brought before a Spanish court. A notice for auction of the house appeared in a newspaper, and though the man had since paid his debt, the foreclosure notice still appeared in Google search results when the man’s name was typed.

The Spanish Data Protection Authority sued Google on the man’s behalf to have the post removed, with the big issue being the so-called “right to be forgotten,” or right people to block search results that would expose information that they would otherwise want kept private.

The court obviously ruled in the man's favor and now the search engines have to navigate a potential minefield that isn't going to go away any time soon, based on the sheer number of people who want their data removed: over 12,000 people made such a request in the first day alone. Now, more than 70,000 have made similar requests. 

(Image source: vulture.com)

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