Bing launches ‘information removal’ form with special emphasis on ‘legitimacy’

Bing-LogoMicrosoft’s search engine Bing has launched a web form where the citizens of the European Union can apply for the removal of personal information they believe outdated or irrelevant from the engine’s database. The form differs from Google’s with more specific questions that aim to verify the legitimacy of a removal.

The decision to launch the form follows the ruling of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), the top court in the European Union, that says the personal information that can be found on the net via search engines are also subject to the privacy legislations of the EU.

According to the clauses of the ruling, one can ask for the removal of personal information if it’s violating personal rights, unless the removal is against public interest and free expression.

The case was brought about mainly for Google whose search engine controls almost 90% of the market in the EU. It has launched its own right-to-be-forgotten form last May and says it has collected over 70K request so far.

Microsoft, who said last week that it’s also preparing for an action to comply with the ruling, has a slightly different approach to the ‘privacy’ though. It chose to add questions to the form that aim to verify that the requester is not a public or influential community figure and the removal of information will not harm the public interest. It says on the form that the decision process will “consider the balance between individual privacy interest and the public interest in protecting free expression and the free availability of information, consistent with European law”.

Another question on the form asks to the requester to define the nature of their petition by choosing from among the options “inaccurate or false”, “incomplete or inadequate”, “out-of-date or no longer relevant” or “excessive or otherwise inappropriate”.

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