The Guardian, Daily Mail, Daily Record, BBC and Daily Express have all reported seeing their articles disappear from the Google archive as the search giant processes thousands of “right to be forgotten” requests.
It has revealed that so far it has received some 8,500 UK requests to have articles removed from its search results.
The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled last month that people the right to ask search engines to remove private information.
It ruled that search engines should balance “the legitimate interest of internet users potentially interested in having access to that information against the right to privacy and protection of personal data”.
Google, which controls the vast majority of search engine traffic in the EU, could refuse such requests and leave them to local courts to decide.
But it emerged this week that it has employed its own legal staff (not trained lawyers) to decide take-down requests on a case by case basis.
Stories removed by Google include:
- A number of stories about football referee Dougie McDonald who admitted lying about a penalty incident (which since seem to have reappeared)
- A blog by the BBC's Robert Peston about Meryll Lynch banker Stan O’Neal, sacked because of losses on sub-prime loans in 2007. Thi was apparently deleted from Google as a result of concerns about one of the comments.
- Stories about solicitor Paul Baxendale-Walker, 38, standing trial for fraud over an election statement in 2002.
- Stories about Tesco staff who posted offensive comments on about staff on the internet.
- A 2009 Daily Express story about about the conversion of George Osborne's younger brother, Dr Adam Osborne, to Islam ahead of his marriage.
Mail Online said it has been told that stories from Google search on its site include:a story about a couple caught having sex on a Virgin train and a story about a Muslim man who accused the airline Cathay Pacific of refusing to employ him because of his name.
Mail Online publisher Martin Clarke said: "These examples show what a nonsense the right to be forgotten is. It is the equivalent of going into libraries and burning books you don't like.
"MailOnline intends to regularly publish lists of articles deleted from Google's European search results so people can keep track of what has been deleted.
"There is no suggestion any of these articles are inaccurate."
Users of Google can get around deletions in the EU by using Google.com, which is based in the US and so protected by the First Amendment right to freedom of speech.