Why worry about your online reputation when you could just not have one at all? While most Internet users are clamoring for their fifteen minutes of web notoriety, a group of about 90 people in Spain are tackling search giant Google in a “Right to Be Forgotten” case. They want their information completely wiped from the search engine’s index.
The plaintiffs have very little in common; aside from the fact that they do not want to be forever immortalized in Google’s history books. As expected, many of them have embarrassing information that they’d like removed. More surprising, however, is the number of seemingly hackneyed mentions –some of which are decades old, that people are up in arms about.
Spain’s Data Protection Agency is heading up the suit, ordering that Google remove any links in their index to the individuals. Each individual participating in the suit has at one time unsuccessfully attempted to get Google remove their information. The main reason for the suit? Individuals simply do not like that information that was once difficult to scrounge up is now simple to find online. As expected, Google is challenging the order.
Requests to remove embarrassing or potentially damaging information from their index is nothing new to Google, who rarely concedes, preferring to maintain the integrity of their results over individual reputation management predicaments. Mandate for removal from a government agency stating individual rights, however, is a first for the search giant.
This will be an interesting case to watch, as it has the potential to change the landscape of search and its long memory. Will Spain be successful? I doubt it, but the case will likely raise some interesting questions. (And probably an increased demand for effective online reputation management training!) 😉