According to the EU, you can get Google to remove all the questionable things that come up when you Google yourself. There is a caveat, however.
The all-seeing eye of Google sees all. Be it the awkward phase when you wore fluoro, when you traded all that for all black, or the faces of those relationships you built on the back of drugs, making something out of something made in someone’s bathtub. You might forget, but Google remembers.
However, this week, they’ve made to forget. A British judge evoked the little known-right we all possess (which also sounds like a nu-wave band) The Right to be Forgotten, clearing the pages that referenced one man’s criminal history.
Ostensibly, the man has tried to move on with his life, but the claws of Google made than an impossibility. As for the legal side of the pickle, it’s freely available to those…who live in Europe. The Right to be Forgotten allows people to request that outdated and irrelevant information about them be taken down. That qualifier is laid out in the EU General Data Protection Regulation, a new set of laws designed to give citizens more of that sweet sweet data privacy, which will be enforced next month. Google and the unnamed man first faced off in court for this suit in March, after Google refused to take down the offending search results.
Google initially argued that the request was Orwellian, a quick way to “rewrite history.” But according to a report in The Guardian, they will now play ball. As part of the deal, the search engine will no longer include links to news articles and other accounts of the man’s conviction when subject to a Google search. Just as a quick aside, the aforesaid articles and pages will not be deleted, but will just be invisible to a cursory search.
So, according to the legal precedent, and indeed the EU, the only thing you need to do to tidy up your digital footprint is a commit a raft of hideous hideous crimes, and then get Google to offer you a clean slate.
Give me your wallet.