‘Please forget me’ say 12,000 Europeans on day one of Google’s new initiative

please forget say 12000 europeans day one googles new initiative shutterstock 172659857

On Friday we reported on Google’s new ‘right to be forgotten’ form now available to Web users in Europe — in the wake of a ruling from the EU, the tech giant is obliged to offer Europeans the chance to erase links to data that is “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant.” For claims that are upheld, information is removed from Google’s localized list of search results, though it doesn’t disappear from the Web.

Now we know just how much extra paperwork Google is going to have to get through: 12,000 requests were submitted in the first 24 hours according to Reuters, with as many as 20 per minute hitting Google’s inbox. A valid photo ID is required to submit an appeal through the online form.

The original ruling by the European Court of Justice on May 13 has kicked up a storm of debate around users’ rights to control the information that appears about them online. The decision was prompted by the case of a Spanish man who claimed that his privacy was infringed when Google linked to a notice of his home being repossessed a decade earlier.

While it has complied with the EU’s instructions, Google itself is worried about the implications for censorship and abuse. Company CEO Larry Page told the Financial Times that he had concerns about excessive Internet regulation and the potential impact on future innovation. “It will be used by other governments that aren’t as forward and progressive as Europe to do bad things,” he said. “Other people are going to pile on, probably… for reasons most Europeans would find negative.”

There are questions over the practicalities of the process and the consequences for freedom of speech — it’s likely that the First Amendment would make this kind of ruling impossible in the U.S., for instance. At the same time, many individuals and privacy groups believe users have a right to stop Internet companies publishing erroneous or damaging information about them online.

“The court’s ruling requires Google to make difficult judgements about an individual’s right to be forgotten and the public’s right to know,” said a Google spokesperson. Decisions about the removal of links will be made by Google staff, with some cases referred to the national data agency of the country involved. The company has said that any changes will take effect from the middle of June.

[Image courtesy of Gil C / Shutterstock]

Smart Home

Project Alias is a ‘smart parasite’ that stops smart speakers from listening

Two designers chose to do something about nosy smart speakers. The result is Project Alias, a "smart parasite" that whispers nonsense to Google Home and Alexa until it hears a specific wake word.

10 top features you should be using on your Apple Watch

The Apple Watch can do more than just tell you the time, but you may not be aware of all the different functions it has. Our list of the 10 most often used functions and features will help you understand what it can really do.

How to jailbreak your iPhone on iOS 12: A beginner’s guide

The latest jailbreaking tools for iOS 12 make freeing your iOS device easier than ever. This guide will teach you how to jailbreak your iPhone or iPad, and explain what jailbreaking will do for you.

From DIY to AAA, here's how to take a passport photo in 6 different ways

If you're applying for a passport or renewing one, you need to submit a photo in your official application. There are strict guidelines, but fortunately, it's something you can do at home. Here's how to take a passport photo.
Social Media

YouTube to crack down on dangerous stunts like the ‘Bird Box’ challenge

YouTube already bans content showing dangerous activities, but new rules published by the site go into greater detail regarding potentially harmful challenges and pranks, including certain blindfold- or laundry detergent-based stunts.

Pinning websites to your taskbar is as easy as following these quick steps

Would you like to know how to pin a website to the taskbar in Windows 10 in order to use browser links like apps? Whichever browser you're using, it's easier than you might think. Here's how to get it done.
Social Media

Nearly a million Facebook users followed these fake Russian accounts

Facebook purged two separate groups behind more than 500 fake accounts with Russian ties. One group had ties to Russian news agency Sputnik, while the other had behavior similar to the Internet Research Agency's midterm actions.

Want to save a webpage as a PDF? Just follow these steps

Need to quickly save and share a webpage? The best way is to learn how to save a webpage as a PDF file, as they're fully featured and can handle images and text with ease. Here's how.

Delete tracking cookies from your system by following these quick steps

Cookies are useful when it comes to saving your login credentials and other data, but they can also be used by advertisers to track your browsing habits across multiple sites. Here's how to clear cookies in the major browsers.

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. With so many subreddits, however, navigating the "front page of the internet" can be daunting. Here are some of the best subreddits to get you started.
Smart Home

Amazon Prime members number more than 100 million in the U.S., survey says

Consumer Intelligence Research Partners estimated there were 101 million U.S. Amazon Prime members as of December 31, 2018. Last April, CEO Jeff Bezos wrote there were more than 100 global million Prime members.

It's not all free money. Here's what to know before you try to mine Bitcoin

Mining Bitcoin today is harder than it used to be, but if you have enough time, money, and cheap electricity, you can still turn a profit. Here's how to get started mining Bitcoin at home and in the cloud.

Need a free alternative to Adobe Illustrator? Here are our favorites

Photoshop and other commercial tools can be expensive, but drawing software doesn't need to be. This list of the best free drawing software is just as powerful as some of the more expensive offerings.

Always have way too many tabs open? Google Chrome might finally help

Google is one step closer to bringing tab groups to its Chrome browser. The feature is now available in Google's Chrome Canady build with an early implementation that can be enabled through its flag system.