Consumers Submitted Over 1 Million 'Right to Be Forgotten' Requests In 6 Years

U.S. marketers who want to assess the impact of possible “right to be forgotten” measures in state laws should look at new findings from Europe.  

Over 1 million right-to-be-forgotten requests were submitted to Google and Microsoft Bing from 2015 to 2021, with 95.5% of them going to Google.

GDPR did not take effect until 2016, according to a study by Surfshark.  

The volume of overall requests grew during the pandemic, from 124,5k in the pre-COVID-19 year of 2019, to 161.3k in 2020 and 185.7k in 2021. 

One out of four requests have come from France.  

  • France — 255.6 
  • Germany — 1761k 
  • The U.K.. — 125.3k
  • Spain — 93.1k 
  • Italy — 89.1k 
  • The Netherlands — 55k 
  • Poland — 31.9k 
  • Sweden — 31.7k 
  • Belgium — 25.9k
  • Switzerland — 22.5k

Estonia leads in request density, with Estonia comes first 53 requests per 10,000 people, other countries averaging 20.

The fastest-growing countries in this regard were Cyprus and Portugal, which submitted almost three times more requests in 2020 than they did in 2019. Iceland, Luxembourg, and Greece doubled their requests year-over-year. 

“One of the reasons for the rise in the “right to be forgotten” requests in 2020 could be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Gabriele Kaveckyte, privacy vounsel at Surfshark.  

Kaveckyte continues: “As many daily activities became virtual, it encouraged people to be more conscious of their digital hygiene and review their privacy online. At the same time, GDPR enforcement accelerated and continues to enforce online privacy as a fundamental human right to this day." 


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