Sheltered Search: Google Stops Telling Publishers When Websites Are Cut From Results

The double-bind nature of European regulation may be hitting publishers in a new way.  

As per a Swedish court ruling, Google has stopped informing publishers when it has removed their websites from certain search results. 

This is in compliance with “right to be forgotten rules,” as determined by the court in December, The Guardian writes. 

Now all publishers will be told is that a URL has been removed, with no explanation of what or why, it continues. 

A consumer who wants to be forgotten merely has to apply to have their records expunged. 

The practical impact of this absurdity was unclear at deadline. The Guardian writes that media companies like the Guardian are “are largely exempt from the regulations, but links to journalistic content can still be removed from databases including those of search engines.”



A Google spokesperson told The Guardian, “We rolled out our new approach to notifications following a decision by Sweden’s data protection authority, which entered into force in December 2023 after the Swedish administrative supreme court refused us leave to appeal”

The spokesperson continued, “We disagreed with the decision at the time – but it’s binding and confirms pan-EU regulatory guidance. We have therefore undertaken a strong effort to comply with it.” 

Last July, in a separate development, Sweden’s data-protection watchdog found in an audit that the 2020 version of Google Analytics presented data-breach security issues and consumer privacy concerns.  

In December, the Swedish court upheld a fine of SEK 50m (£3.8m) against Google for not removing URLs that were supposed to be delisted. 


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