New 'Hidden from Google' website lists 'censored' links

Website challenges 'right to be forgotten' by archiving 'actions of censorship' online

The Google search page
(Image credit: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

A new website which lists links to information Google was forced to remove under the 'right to be forgotten' ruling has been launched.

Hidden from Google was set up by a US web developer last month to verify and publish links to articles which are being "censored" by search engines under the European Court of Justice ruling.

In May, Europe's highest court ruled that people have the right to be forgotten, forcing Google to remove links in its search results that are "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant".

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Campaigners called the ruling a violation of free speech, which has "worrying implications".

"It is not as if the links are going away, it is just Google results within Europe that they are removed from", site developer Afaq Tariq told the BBC.

He explained that his website uses a "community of users, journalists and advocates" to verify and curate links that Google has removed from its results.

The authors describe it as "a way of archiving the actions of censorship on the internet", saying the reader should decide whether "our liberties are being upheld or violated" by the ruling.

Links that have so far disappeared from Google include those to a BBC article about Carlos Silvino, a convicted sex offender, and a Daily Express article about George Osborne's brother, Adam Osborne, and his conversion to Islam.

Hidden from Google links and mentions will now show up in Google results. It is expected that users will have to re-file a separate right to be forgotten plea if they want the new links to be removed.

The BBC's Kevin Rawlinson describes this as "the Streisand effect", where "demanding silence on a subject only serves to draw more attention to it".

Google receives at least 1,000 requests per day. To date, the search engine has been asked to remove more than a quarter of a million links, after over 70,000 requests were made.

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