A major ruling just knocked Google over the head, where Europe's top court, the The Court of Justice of the European Union, ruled that a person has the right to be "forgotten" and thus Google has to remove personal information from their search results when the person makes such a request.
"If, following a search made on the basis of a person's name, the list of results displays a link to a web page which contains information on the person in question, that data subject may approach the operator directly and, where the operator does not grant his request, bring the matter before the competent authorities in order to obtain, under certain conditions, the removal of that link from the list of results," the judges said.
This obviously not only applies to Google, but Bing, Yahoo, Baidu and others that operate in the European Union.
This is known as a bill named the "right to be forgotten."
Google spokesman Al Verney said Tuesday's ruling was "disappointing ... for search engines and online publishers in general." The company, he said, will "now need to take time to analyze the implications." He added, "We are very surprised that it differs so dramatically from the Advocate General's opinion and the warnings and consequences that he spelled out."
This will make it so much easier for those with personal reputation management issues to get their past history erased from the internet. I am not sure if this would apply to company brands and issues but personal issues, yes.
You bet Google will fight this as best as they can but I am not sure what they can do at this point to overturn this ruling. I am not sure also how Google will handle this differently in the EU versus the US.
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.
Image credit to BigStockPhoto for hiding under a rock