Microsoft is following Google in allowing users in the European Union to exercise their “right to be forgotten.” In May, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that people may request that specific search results about themselves be deleted. Google has begun complying with requests–which is proving to be no small undertaking–and now Microsoft is doing the same with Bing for EU users.
However, to avoid what Google’s senior vice-president for corporate development and chief legal officer David Drummond calls “value judgements,” that is to say determining if what the user is trying to scrub from his or her life should be left intact for the good of the public (political scandals, criminal records, etc.). Microsoft is asking targeted questions in its form and is making no promises that the search results requested will be deleted. Users are asked to identify if they are public figures or have some prominent role in their community (e.g., teacher, doctor, police officer, etc.) As stated on the form:
This information will help us to consider the balance between your individual privacy interest and the public interest in protecting free expression and the free availability of information, consistent with European law. As a result, making a request does not guarantee that a particular search result will be blocked.