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SurfShark's Research Highlights Trends in "Right to be Forgotten" Requests

SurfShark's latest research sheds light on the evolving landscape of "right to be forgotten" requests, a pivotal aspect of online privacy enabled by regulations like the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In 2022, Google and Microsoft received over 155,000 such requests, marking a 16% decrease compared to the previous year. This decline, predominantly driven by a drop in requests to Google, signifies the first downturn since the pandemic's onset in 2020.

France led the charge with the highest number of requests, followed by Germany and the United Kingdom, collectively accounting for over half of all submissions. However, all three countries saw a decrease in the volume of requests compared to 2021. On a per capita basis, Sweden and France were at the forefront, with 7 requests per 10,000 people.

The research reveals that Google and Microsoft delisted about 56% and 50% of the requested URLs, respectively. The reasons for not delisting vary, including technical issues and the public interest in accessing the information. Notably, sensitive and personal information had the highest delisting rates, while professional wrongdoing and political information were less likely to be removed.

Social networking sites were the most common targets for delisting, with Facebook leading the pack. Despite the high volume of requests, only two-fifths of the URLs from Facebook were successfully removed. Other platforms like X (formerly Twitter), YouTube, and Google Groups also saw significant numbers of delisting requests, with varying success rates.

The research underscores the importance of the "right to be forgotten" as a tool for managing digital footprints. However, it also raises questions about the balance between privacy and the public's right to access information. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, so too will the debate over how much control individuals should have over their online histories.


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