Google restores links to some media articles it erased

Google has restored links to some media articles it had removed from European search results in an effort to comply with a privacy ruling from Europe's top court, following complaints of censorship.

Guardian articles back in European search results after complaints of censorship

Google has restored links to some media articles it had removed from European search results in an effort to comply with a privacy ruling from Europe's top court, following complaints of censorship.

The BBC and Reuters reported that articles from the Guardian newspaper that had been removed this week were reindexed and began turning up again in European search results Thursday.

Peter Barron, head of communications for Google in Europe, told BBC News that the company is "learning as we go" and aiming to deal with the ruling "as responsibly as possible."

The "right to be forgotten" ruling in May by the The Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ)  requires Google to remove irrelevant or excessive personal information about European individuals from European search results upon request. Google told The Associated Press on Thursday that it is getting 1,000 such requests a day.

"We have to balance the need for transparency with the need to protect people's identities," Barron said.

This week, media outlets including the BBC, the Guardian and the Daily Mail Online complained publicly about removal of some of their articles from search results, likening it to censorship.

They included stories about:

  • A soccer referee who resigned after a scandal in 2010.
  • French office workers making post-it art.
  • A couple having sex on a train.
  • A lawyer facing a fraud trial.

The BBC's economics editor, Robert Preston, says a 2007 blog he wrote about ex-Merrill Lynch boss Stan O'Neal has been excluded from some searches.

Barron says that post removal was not requested by O'Neal but by a member of the public.  He told BBC Radio that the post is still searchable but would not appear on Google search if someone is looking for the blog using Preston's name.

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