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BBC Publishes List of Links Removed From Google Search Results

BBC Publishes List of Links Removed From Google Search Results
[Photo: Flickr user Alexei Kuznetsov]

The BBC has published a list of links that have been removed from Google searches as a result of last year’s controversial “right to be forgotten ruling.”

In a post on its Internet Blog yesterday, the organization said it would continue to update the list each month as a “contribution to public policy.” The public-service broadcaster is funded by taxpayer money, and noted that it views its online archives as “a matter of historic public record.”

It also said that it hopes to add to the debate around the ruling, handed down last year by the European Court of Justice, which allows individuals to request that search engines remove certain links from their search results. The decision prompted outrage among Internet-rights activists, who argue that removing such links amounts to censorship.

“It’s impossible to have a meaningful debate if you’ve not got an idea about what’s being delisted,” said David Jordan, head of editorial policy at the BBC.

He added that the published list wouldn’t bring more attention to individuals who requested that certain links be removed, nor would it make the removed articles any more findable. “What it does is give a sense of and a flavor of what kind of material is being delisted,” he said.

The list of removed links extends back almost a year and is broken down by month. In May 2015 alone, 27 links were removed from search results. The removed articles range from the murder of a British heiress to a lawsuit over a father and son’s football game in a private, residential garden.

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