Google Takedown Requests
Here is an interesting article from Eugene Volokh [Volokh Conspiracy / WAPO] commenting on one man's efforts to have Google remove links that return on a Google search for his name. According to the article, the man in question was accused of criminal sexual conduct, but later exonerated. The state criminal authorities (NJ) expunged his arrest records.
Prof. Volokh approaches First Amendment law (and plenty else) from a libertarian tack, so I suppose I expected him to come out firmly in favor of more speech -- and against restrictions on Google's ability to link to pages referring to accusations that now prove false. But his piece poses some thoughtful questions:
So my questions (and these are just to start with): What should our view be when someone tries to get the stories about them to vanish from search results this way? Should it matter that there is real evidence that he was innocent? (My sense is that the grand jury’s decision to essentially withdraw the indictment is such evidence.) Should we view attempts to vanish the exoneration stories differently from attemp[t]s to vanish stories about the accusation that hadn’t been updated to reflect the exoneration?
Almost a European approach.
In my experience with these types of deindexing requests on behalf of U.S. clients, Google is principled, process-oriented, and ultimately human when legitimate requests are brought to light. Effective alternative procedures in civil courts are, relatively speaking, time consuming and costly.