The BBC will publish a list of all its articles that are removed from Google under the “right to be forgotten” law that was controversially implemented earlier on this year.
Editorial policy head David Jordan told a Google-hosted public forum that the BBC thinks a number of its articles have been erroneously taken down and that in the “next few weeks” it will publish a list of the URLs that have been removed from Google.
Jordan told the meeting that there should be more emphasis placed on the public’s “right to remember” and added that the BBC has already been told about 46 links to articles that have been removed when there was no need to do so.
The debate has been sparked by a European Court of Justice [ECJ] ruling this year that stated links that are “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant” should no longer appear in search results when a specific search is made.
In response to the ruling Google, which holds a 90 per cent share of the continent’s search market, set up a form to allow users to ask for certain stories to be taken down from the search engine.
The BBC has already seen a number of controversial takedowns including a blog post by Robert Peston, the BBC economics editor, which was removed after a person that left a comment under the article asked for its removal. Even more notorious was a news story on the trial of members of the Real IRA that was removed from Google, “two of whom were subsequently convicted”, according to Jordan.
"This report could not be traced when looking for any of the defendants' names. It seems to us to be difficult to justify this in the public's interest,” he added.
Jordan suggested that Google changes the way it processes a “right to be forgotten” request and ask those applying to provide their identity so that it can be shared with the publication as long as they promise to keep it confidential.
Google launched its “right to be forgotten” tool back in May when a Spanish man that searched his name noticed a news story from 1990 came up and argued the results were irrelevant. The ECJ agreed that it infringed his privacy rights and ever since the form has existed.