Apparently, North Carolina is going to start a trend of people who get court orders to remove material Google has spidered when left out in public view. This week, Google was ordered to remove material by a court in that state. It follows a similar court order in a different case earlier this year.
North Carolina County Gets Restraining Order Against Google from the Associated Press covers how social security numbers, cell phone numbers and other personal information was left online by Johnston County, which means Google (and likely other search engines) spidered the material.
When the country realized this, they sought to have it removed. However, they were told it might take up to five days to remove, prompting the county to go the legal route:
Fearing the possibility of identity theft, Johnston County officials asked Google on Monday to remove the information. It was first posted on the county's Web site by accident six weeks ago and discovered Friday. Mountain View, Calif.-based Google responded that removal could take up to about five days, said county attorney Mark Payne.
"It surprised me that Google didn't immediately recognize that this was something that posed a real danger of real damage to our citizens," Payne said.
Hey, it surprised me that Johnston County didn't immediately recognize that the information shouldn't have been put on the public web in the first place. However, that appears to have happened because of a third party contractor.
What about the automatic URL removal system? I seem to recall that as getting pages out in 48 hours or less (but I might be remembering incorrectly). Checking today, officially it is longer (unofficially, I hear it goes faster):
You may process your URL for removal from Google's search results. URLs will be removed after we've verified your request. Bear in mind that verification can take several days or longer and all pages submitted via the automatic URL removal system will be removed from the Google index temporarily for six months.
Google Blamed For Indexing Student Test Scores & Social Security Numbers and Follow-Up: School Couldn't Reach Google Until Injunction Filed cover how a school authority in North Carolina went to the courts to remove pages from Google in June.