Norwegians ask Google to hit delete

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More than 800 Norwegians have asked internet search giant Google to remove almost 4,000 links, since an EU judgment in May ruled people could ask search engines not to pull up certain information. Information technology groups were surprised by the high number, and warned some information legitimately belonged in the light of day.

Under the terms of the ruling, a person can apply to have a link deleted from search results if it is considered inadequate, irrelevant, outdated or exaggerated, reported Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). Less than two months after the judgment was handed down, 861 Norwegians have asked search engines to block information.

Former Våler mayoral candidate Lena Linge was among those thrilled to be able to delete her past. In 2011 her political career was derailed after her name and image were used on a foreign pornography website. “Last time I Googled myself, I had 11.4 million results on Google,” she said. “It (the ruling) is absolutely fantastic, and I’m going to take advantage of it.”

Torgeir Waterhouse from information and communications technology interest group IKT Norge said 861 was a worryingly high number in such a short period. “I had not expected such a high number so quickly,” he told NRK. “It gives a tool for people who for some reason wish to hide information about their past. In many cases there can be a good reason for that, but in many cases there will not be.”

Waterhouse disliked the idea that random global companies would have the power to regulate what users could or could not find on the internet. He said it would be better to grant people the power to take up their case against those uploading information they wanted removed. “Google and other search engines are tools to find things that are published,” he argued. It is not them who generate the information. Those who have published content hold the key to deleting it. That’s where we must lay the responsibility.”

Google declined to comment on who had applied to have search results removed.

newsinenglish.no staff