A panel appointed by search engine Google holds the first of a series of meetings to debate the balance between privacy and the free flow of information after a May court ruling reinforced Europeans' "right to be forgotten".
The event in Madrid is the first of seven meetings in European capitals, as the Internet giant struggles with thousands of requests to remove from its search results everything from serious criminal records, embarrassing photos, instances of online bullying and negative press stories.
By mid-July, Google, which holds more than 80 per cent of Europe's search market, said it had received more than 90,000 requests and accepted more than half since the European Union's top court ruled they must remove results if the information was "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant".
Meanwhile data protection regulators from European countries, which are next set to meet on September 15, work on guidelines for the search engines, which also include Microsoft and Yahoo!, to ensure that requests are handled consistently.
Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, who heads France's privacy watchdog and the WP29 group of EU national data protection authorities, said on Friday she was sceptical about the Google initiative, which she described as part of a "PR war" on an issue that was important to the company's business strategy.
"Google is trying to set the terms of the debate," she said. "They want to be seen as being open and virtuous, but they hand-picked the members of the council, will control who is in the audience, and what comes out of the meetings".
If a search engine declines a person's request, he or she has the right to appeal to the national data protection regulator. Some 90 such appeals have been filed in Britain, 70 in Spain, 20 in France and 13 in Ireland.
Some examples of link removals have become public because Google notified media outlets such as the BBC and Guardian when their stories were removed from search results. That prompted critics to charge that Europe's Internet was being scrubbed and the press censored.