How to prepare a successful right to be forgotten application
Preparing a right to be forgotten application could (and perhaps should) take you a little bit of time. Before you submit a right to be forgotten application you might want to consult this guidance.
The first step in preparing a right to be forgotten application is to decide which search phrases you want to include in your right to be forgotten submission.
You want to think carefully about the search phrases in relation to what you want Google to delist from search results.
You should pay particular attention to the ICO guidance, to case law and to Google’s history of removal. If you ask Google for too much, you could end up with a flat refusal to delist any of the offending links. If you ask for too little, there might not be real benefit for you because people will still be finding the offending search results very easily.
The second step in preparing a right to be forgotten application is to carry out internet searches using the phrases you have just identified and see what comes back. It is best to use a clean search by opening a new “incognito” tab on your browser. Make a list of any search results that come back in relation to each of the searches that you have carried out.
The third step in preparing a right to be forgotten application is to carry out thorough investigations of the websites that show the offending posts about you.
We recommend that you carry out thorough investigations to help you understand the precise source and the geographic location of each of the offending website.
Why it is important to investigate offending websites before you make a right to be forgotten application
It is important to realise that Google might send the website operators a copy of your request or at least notify them of your request and ask for their input.
Furthermore, it is important to investigate offending websites before you make a right to be forgotten application because some internet content is published for the purpose of offending, harassing or embarrassing the data subject (the Right to be Forgotten applicant).
In circumstances where the publisher of the information had made extraordinary efforts to conceal his or her identity, discovering , or at least attempting to discover who they are, can provide help and support to the right to be forgotten application. It is sometimes helpful to show Google that the website operator is not contactable or that it is refusing to comply with data protection laws.
Furthermore, to achieve a long solution to the issue, it is important to understand who is behind each of the publications. Is there someone who publishes posts about you on purpose? Has anyone got an agenda? Are you being harassed on the internet? By understanding who is behind the posts, you will be able to first consider the implications of a possible approach by Google to the individual or media outlet who is publishing the posts.
Second, you might consider making an approach yourself to make sure that the posts are removed and that they do not re-appear.
The fourth step in preparing a right to be forgotten application is to identify (or to show that it is impossible to identify) the author or publisher of the offending post about you. Occasionally, you may want to make a right to be forgotten application to the publisher of the data rather than to the search engine provider.
In some cases you might have to commence legal proceedings for breach of your data or for harassment against a known or unknown publisher of the data and enforce any court order against the search engine. This is particularly helpful in cases where the search engine is likely to refuse to delist web pages despite clear violation of a right to be forgotten. Investigations into the source of the published material, are often proven highly effective in facilitating the removal of offending information from the internet. If you need to identify an internet troll, doing this before you submit your right to be forgotten application could, in some cases, be beneficial and help you succeed with your application.
The fifth step in preparing a right to be forgotten application is to figure out the grounds under which you want Google to delist the offending pages. You will need to consult GDPR and case law as well as the ICO guidance. Generally speaking, we suggest that you don’t go “wholesale” but rather choose the grounds carefully and how they are relevant to your request.
The sixth step in preparing a right to be forgotten application is to go over your application and make sure that it is adhering to the rules set out by the search engine provider. For example, the number of words or characters used. It is worth taking your time to condense your application to the most important and relevant arguments. We suggest that you first type your right to be forgotten application on a word document. This will help you see how many words and characters are in your application and also prevent an accidental loss of your application before you are ready to submit it.
Our solicitors and support team are highly skilled in carrying out internet investigations. They know exactly what to look for, which means they are likely to find it sooner rather than later.