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September 8, 2014

Google to hold European debates over ‘right to be forgotten’

Meetings will be held over seven European cities.

By Ben Sullivan

A Google-appointed panel is set to hold a series of meetings across Europe to debate the issue of privacy and the free flow of information on the Internet.

The first meeting will be held on Tuesday 9th September in Madrid, Spain, and will be the first of seven across European cities.

The debates follow May’s EU court ruling allowing the ‘right to be forgotten’, which enables citizens to request their information to be scrubbed from Google’s search indexes.

Google currently holds over 80% of Europe’s Internet search market, and has received thousands of requests a month since May from users who want criminal records, news reports, embarrassing photos and more removed from history.

The EU ruling declares that information must be removed if it is "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant".

Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, who heads up French privacy watchdog CNIL, said that the meetings are part of a PR war on Google’s behalf, reported Reuters.

The news site reported her saying: "Google is trying to set the terms of the debate. "They want to be seen as being open and virtuous, but they handpicked the members of the council, will control who is in the audience, and what comes out of the meetings."

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