The Right to Be Forgotten: Context and Anti-Money Laundering (AML)/Counter-Terrorist Financing (CTF) Investigative Tips to Consider as Internet Search Results are Delisted

Miguel Alcántar, CAMS-FCI

Online reputation management in Europe hit a significant milestone on May 13, 2014, when the Court of Justice of the EU ruled that individual EU residents have a “right to be forgotten” online. In other words, individual EU residents have the right, under certain circumstances, to ask internet search engines—like Google, Bing and Yahoo!—to remove or delist links to personal information about themselves.

Within 48 hours of Google setting up their delisting process, over 12,000 individual European residents requested delisting. Most of those delisting requests were reportedly related to pedophilia, fraud, arrests, convictions, and from public officials. At last count, the number of individual Europeans requesting Google delisting has ballooned to 401,905.

Google´s delisting form asks the requester to select the country whose law applies to the request, providing a drop-down menu that lists the selected 33 European counties. Google´s delisting form does not ask for the requester´s own country of citizenship or residency. However, Google´s delisting program was set up, in May 2014, to assist European citizens and residents who reside in the selected 33 European countries, regardless of their nationality. Google´s delisting program applies broadly to citizens of any country who are residents in Europe, but not to European citizens who reside outside the selected 33 European countries. Unlike Google, delisting request forms for Bing and Yahoo! do ask for verification of the requester´s country of European residency.

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