In May, European courts upheld a law forcing Google Spain to remove links to personal information from its site that compromised the privacy of an individual. The search company responded with a digital request form, giving web users an opportunity to erase links to web pages that they feel invade their privacy.
Now Microsoft’s Bing is following suit, says the New York Times. The software giant will allegedly roll out a request form sometime next week, according to an unnamed source in the Times article. Microsoft must first talk with Yahoo, because Bing powers its search function, says the source.
Microsoft has a tiny fraction of the users that Google does in Europe, and the company has been slow to respond to the E.U. ruling. After watching Google fumble, the company may be ready to take a stand on the issue. Europe’s highest court did not outline how companies should comply with the new law.
As we’ve reported before, the ruling is manifesting itself in frightening ways — like the removal of an article about the downfall of Merill Lynch CEO Stan O’Neal. Opponents of the new law — predominantly journalists and media outlets — argue that allowing individuals and companies to take down unflattering articles is akin to censorship and that removing informative articles from web searches is an infringement on free speech.
This reaction to Google’s request form has the company wavering. Last week Google brought back several links to Guardian articles after the news outlet complained. However, other articles, like those detailing instability at Merrill Lynch, are still missing from web searches. Google’s pivot shows that the “right to be forgotten” ruling is going to be exceedingly difficult to implement.
A spokeswoman for Bing confirms that the search engine will be launching a form “soon,” but failed to give an actual date.