Google to ensure 'right to be forgotten' stories are removed from all versions of search engine used in EU

Google will hide content removed using the "right to be forgotten" ruling from all versions of its search engine, the technology giant has said.

Currently, the ruling has only been applied only to versions of Google in the EU, where citizens can submit requests for information about them to be removed from search results – but users have been able to use an international version of Google and still see the full list of unedited results.

Now, removed results will not appear on any version of the search engine, including Google.com, when they are being viewed from countries in which removal was approved, Google has said.

The change is set to be rolled out in the near future, though a date has not yet been announced.

The new approach will be applied when a European IP address is detected – regardless of the version of Google being used – and remove approved items.

The company had been under pressure from the French data protection authority to remove data from sites globally, threatening to fine the firm if it did not do so.

Since the ruling was made in 2014, Google has received more than 380,000 removal requests, according to its website, with around 42 per cent of those requests being accepted.

Renate Samson, chief executive of privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch, welcomed the change.

"The move by Google to ensure 'right to be forgotten' across European versions of Google offers reassurance to the thousands of regular, ordinary citizens who have sought the right for inaccurate or out-of-date content about them to be blocked from Google's searches," she said.

"Whilst right to be forgotten remains a controversial issue, it is a key part of the new European General Data Protection Regulations set to be in place within the next couple of years. Google's move therefore is a necessary step in the direction of improved data protection."

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