Bing implements 'right to be forgotten' ruling, asks applicants 'are you famous?'

Microsoft's search engine has only a tenth of the traffic of Google's in Europe but is also the default search engine on Windows Phone devices

Microsoft’s search engine Bing has introduced an online form for EU citizens to request the removal of links in accordance with the EU’s ‘right to be forgotten’ ruling.

The landmark legislation introduced in May gives users the right to request the removal of links to content that is deemed “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant”.

Because of the volume of traffic it handles and its direct involvement in the case that sparked the ruling, Google has been first to implement a takedown system.

Like Google’s form, Bing’s system requests documentation to confirm that the applicant is an EU resident and the specific URLs that they wished to be removed when users search their name.

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In accordance with the European Court of Justice’s stipulation that the ruling not be used by the rich and powerful to airbrush their reputation online, Bing’s form also includes the question: “Are you a public figure (politician, celebrity, etc.)?”

Google has reported receiving more than 70,000 requests for takedowns with disgraced politicians and paedophiles among those attempting (unsuccessfully) to alter search results for their names. 

The ruling has been widely criticized for potentially damaging free speech and freedom of expression within the EU.

It's also been noted that any users who want to circumvent the ruling can simply switch from using their local Google (eg google.co.uk) to the global/American version (google.com).

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