A European court has given citizens of the EU the possibility to have links to (negative) articles removed from search engine indexes. The original articles are not affected, so this “right to be forgotten” is mainly a “right to be hidden”.
News websites are not search engines, so this right does not apply to them. For this reason the BBC made a list of all their articles that have been removed from google under “the right to be forgotten”.
We are doing this primarily as a contribution to public policy. We think it is important that those with an interest in the “right to be forgotten” can ascertain which articles have been affected by the ruling. We hope it will contribute to the debate about this issue. We also think the integrity of the BBC’s online archive is important and, although the pages concerned remain published on BBC Online, removal from Google searches makes parts of that archive harder to find.
The pages affected by delinking may disappear from Google searches, but they do still exist on BBC Online. David Jordan, the BBC’s Director of Editorial Policy and Standards, has written a blog post which explains how we view that archive as “a matter of historic public record” and, thus, something we alter only in exceptional circumstances. The BBC’s rules on deleting content from BBC Online are strict; in general, unless content is specifically made available only for a limited time, the assumption is that what we publish on BBC Online will become part of a permanently accessible archive. To do anything else risks reducing transparency and damaging trust.
A note from wikipedia: The right to be forgotten is distinct from the right to privacy, due to the distinction that the right to privacy constitutes information that is not publicly known, whereas the right to be forgotten involves removing information that was publicly known at a certain time and not allowing third parties to access the information.