Thanks To Court Ruling, Europeans Can Disappear From Searches; But It's A Different Story In The U.S.

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — We’re often warned that everything about us online lives forever, but that’s not the case in Europe.

People there can exercise their right to be forgotten, CBS2’s Cindy Hsu reported Wednesday.

Since 2014 people and companies in Europe have been able to ask Google to wipe them clean from any web search, thanks to a ruling by the continent’s top court.

“Google said over the past several years they’ve had more than 2.5 million requests for people to remove information about themselves from Google,” CNet’s Dan Ackerman said. “Now sometimes they say OK, but other times they say it’s in the public interest to have the information there so they say, no, we’re not going to remove that link.”

There are some who wish we had the right to be forgotten here in the United States.

“I certainly from middle school have strange or embarrassing posts that I wish weren’t still on the internet, but they are,” Astoria resident Kaila Arcenal said.

“If it’s your information online that you’re choosing to put out there you should also have the right to have that taken down,” added Dennis Hansen of Piscataway, New Jersey.

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But the chances of that are slim.

“There’s definitely no legal right to be forgotten here in the U.S., especially as it concerns publishing information about somebody that’s a basic First Amendment issue,” CNet’s Ackerman said.

Harlem resident Christy LoPresto said she has tried to get her name off the web.

“Yeah, actually I find it hard. Sometimes I call certain companies and I say can you please take my name off of these listings,” LoPresto said.

Ackerman said search for your name on the web and find out what’s out there. If you pop up, go to the company’s website and try to opt out.

“Opting out of features on Facebook, like facial recognition tagging, which is new, is another great idea because then Facebook won’t look through other people’s photos and find you and tag you in them,” Ackerman said.

There are also lots of companies you can hire to scrub you from the web, but it’s tough for even the experts to get rid of everything.

Google said out of the nearly 2.5 million requests to remove links in Europe, it’s taken down about 43 percent of them.