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'Right to be forgotten' the hot topic as Google hits the road in Europe

The company plans to hold seven meetings across Europe to discuss the regulations -- and Google's problems with it..


The European Union's "right to be forgotten" regulation is the subject of a Google continental roadshow that started Tuesday.

Google held its first forum in Madrid, where some of its most prominent executives, including Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt and Chief Legal Officer David Drummond, met with officials to discuss why Google believes the "right to be forgotten" regulation strikes an improper balance between online privacy and undue pressure on online companies. Google plans to hold six more forums across Europe discussing the same topic.

The "right to be forgotten" legislation kicked in earlier this year. It allows Web users to request that search providers, including Google, Microsoft's Bing, and Yahoo, hide search results that are either deemed irrelevant or outdated. Google is believed to have received over 100,000 requests for data removal and will review each of them before actually hiding results.

Google has complained since the onset that the regulation places too much of a burden on the company and ultimately fails to achieve ultimate privacy for the individual. Given the sheer number of ways in which search results can be arrived at, and since Google cannot force a site to take a certain page down, it's still possible for certain results to show up. Outside of Europe, those results are also still visible, much to the chagrin of regulators and those seeking the removal of results.

The timing of Google's forums is by no means coincidental. European privacy regulators are scheduled to hold discussions on September 16 and 17 to evaluate the regulation and possibly bolster it. Google is ostensibly hoping that its efforts will change some minds and reduce the pressure placed on it and its competitors in the marketplace.

CNET has contacted Google for comment. We will update this story when we have more information.

(Via WSJ)