Right to be forgotten applications when living in America
There are cases where a person who lives in the United States of America can make a successful right to be forgotten application to have links removed from Google searches. In some cases the links will be removed from search results internationally, from Google Europe and from the USA on Google.com.
T.R. was a supervisor, working for an American bank in California. He is a duel national with an American and Austrian citizenship.
In 2015, T.R. was responsible for chairing a disciplinary panel for his bank, which dealt with misconduct by one of the bank’s employees. The employee was eventually dismissed but shortly after, T.R. became the subject of nearly 2500 websites, webpages and online forum posts targeting him and blackening his name.
Most of the posts about him were repetitive, some contained false information and references to his position in the bank. Many of the websites appear on prominently on Google searches.
A Right to be Forgotten application that was first submitted by our Right to be forgotten legal advice to Google was only partly accepted. Google claimed that because the majority of the posts about T.R. related to his place of work, there was public interest in keeping them appearing on Google searches in relation to his name.
After reviewing Google reasons for refusing most of T.R.’s Right to be forgotten request, our right to be forgotten lawyers concluded that Google was wrong and that the decision to decline his Right to be Forgotten application could be successfully appealed to the Information Commissionaire Office.
We considered the search results to be irrelevant, excessive and untrue. The availability of the search results was causing T.R. and his family substantial distress.
Furthermore, our right to be forgotten lawyers believed that Google’s basis of justification by claiming public interest in having access to the posts and by asserting they were relevant to the bank’s potential customers and to T.R.’s professional life were misguided. The URLs in question appeared to represent a sustained and vitriolic hate-campaign against T.R.
It was difficult to see how any of the URLs listed on Google searches could be in the public interest or of any legitimate journalistic relevance. Their continued availability was likely to be having a hugely detrimental and disproportionate impact on T.R.’s personal and private life.
Using our unique tools, which had been designed to handle vast amount of URLs, links and webpages, our right to be forgotten lawyers organised and categorised the material. They prepared a 32 page appeal submission to the Information Commissionaire Office, requesting that the ICO issue Google with an enforcement order to compel it to de-list the links from Google search results.
The right to be forgotten appeal to the ICO was successful. It took the ICO nearly 8 months to successfully determine the right to be forgotten appeal in relation to T.R. and to order Google to de-list within 28 days all the offending links from its search results.