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Microsoft taking 'right to be forgotten' requests

By Hamza Ali
Josh Edelson | AFP | Getty Images

Microsoft has joined Google and launched its own version of the "right to be forgotten" request form for its search engine Bing, in an attempt to comply with a recent European Union ruling that has already sparked fierce debate over online privacy.

The May ruling by the European Court of Justice was based bought by a Spanish man who wanted Google to remove mention of a past bankruptcy from search results. The court decided search engines should be held to existing EU rules on data, which guarantees people that their data be up-to-date and accurate. Google says it has since received 250,000 requests from 70,000 individuals.

There are several differences between, Microsoft's form and Google's, with questions such as, "Are you a public figure (politician, celebrity, etc.)?" appearing to be targeted at alleviating concerns over free speech, while complying with the ruling.

Google's 'right to be forgotten' in action
Google's 'right to be forgotten' in action

Teething problems

The ECJ ruling and the subsequent Google clampdown has been seen by some human rights campaigners as an attack on freedom of speech.

Other issues such as Google's refusal to remove name searches from its U.S. website and delinking articles without notifying the authors have also caused friction.

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Google launched another website last week, dedicated to seeking feedback on its application of the ruling.

EU privacy watchdogs have called a meeting with search giants, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, aiming to clarify some of these issues around the ruling.

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