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Google reinstates some links removed after controversial ruling, BBC reports

Google has begun reinstating some links it had removed from European searches after its implementation of a "right to be forgotten" ruling drew accusations of censorship, the BBC reports.

The BBC said that articles by the Guardian newspaper that earlier had disappeared from some searches had been fully restored.

"We are learning as we go," Peter Barron, the head of communications for Google in Europe, told the BBC.

Google must comply with a May ruling from the European Union's top court that enables citizens to ask for the removal of embarrassing personal information that pops up on a search of their names. The ruling specified information that was "outdated, irrelevant or no longer relevant."

Google said Thursday that it was getting 1,000 requests a day to scrub search results. So far only a handful of articles have been affected.

One was a 2007 blog entry by BBC Economics Editor Robert Peston, which was critical of Merrill Lynch's then-CEO Stan O'Neal. Peston was notified that the posting would no longer appear through a specific Google search.

"Google is confirming the fears of many in the industry that the 'right to be forgotten' will be abused to curb freedom of expression and to suppress legitimate journalism that is in the public interest," Peston wrote in a BBC post.

Google has not said who made the request but did confirm it was not O'Neal. The removal was instead related to the reader comments.

Barron said on the BBC program that Google should provide publishers with more information about the deletions.

"The European Court of Justice ruling was not something that we welcomed, that we wanted - but it is now the law in Europe and we are obliged to comply with that law," Barron said.