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
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,
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.
For Indexing Student Test Scores & Social Security Numbers and
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.