News: ICO has dealt with only 120 Google Spain removal requests in the past year

9 07 2015

ico_blue_flex_logoThe number of Google Spain “right to be forgotten” removal requests being challenged in England and Wales remains extremely small, less than 1% of the total number made to Google.

In his annual report dated 1 July 2015 [pdf] the Information Commissioner states that his office has “successfully dealt with over 120 complaints” received following the Google Spain judgment.

This less than 1% of the 35,018 removal requests from individuals with relationships with the United Kingdom received by Google over the past year (out of an overall total of 279,754 requests relating to 1,018.107 URLs made in across the whole EU).

There is little information as to the determinations made by the Information Commissioner in relation to complaints made concerning Google’s failure to delist URLs.  In the Foreword to the report [pdf] the Commissioner says

“our decisions on appeals against Google’s application of the ‘right to be forgotten’ judgment have, for the most part, been accepted by all sides”.

No further details are provided.  It is not clear whether any of these decisions have been the subject of appeals to the First Tier Tribunal.

As to the position across the EU, on 18 June 2015, the Article 29 Working Party issued a press release on the implementation of the Google Spain decision [pdf]. Its survey of European Data Protection authorities indicated that almost 2,000 requests have been received by Data Protection authorities across the EU.  This is less than 100 requests per member state.

The Press Release stated that

In order to handle complaints all data protection authorities have established a dedicated team responsible for reviewing, evaluating and responding to the complaints in accordance with the adopted guidelines and delisting criteria. Some authorities have set up an escalation system so that the most complex requests are subject to validation at a high level at each data protection authorities

The ICO’s annual report does not give any details as to its “dedicated team” or whether it has an “escalation system”.

Finally, it should be noted that the number of “delisting” requests following Google Spain remains very small indeed compared to copyright removal requests which are running at an annual rate of over 450,000,000 URLs.


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