Google Agrees: Germans Have a ‘Right to Be Forgotten’


…but Germans are feeling luckier.

Today in reputation management news, the legal fight is over.

Google seems more eager than expected to go along with a recent European Union court ruling requiring the company to give citizens the right to request the removal of unflattering links–at least in Germany.

This morning The Wall Street Journal reported that the world’s least evil business will comply with German privacy officials in creating a “right to be forgotten” mechanism that allows users to log formal complaints about any link they happen to dislike. The feature will reportedly debut within two weeks.

It’s important to note that, for now at least, said mechanism will only apply to German citizens–and Google gives no details about how it will work or guarantees that complaints will be handled in any particular way.

At the very least, it’s safe to say that thousands, if not millions, of Germans will soon be doing a bit of search engine anti-optimization work. We expect to hear about a whole lot of quibbling over legitimate, if unflattering, news stories.

Now for the big question: what does this mean for journalists and PR teams with European clients?

Stay tuned for more insights on the matter.