EU Court Ruled Google Must Amend Search ResultsAdded: Sunday, May 18th, 2014
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The European Union’s court of justice has backed the so-called “right to be forgotten” and ordered Google to delete irrelevant information from its results upon a request from a member of the public.
The case against Google Spain was brought by Mario Costeja González, who failed to secure the deletion of a 15-year-old auction notice of his repossessed home on the website of a mass circulation newspaper. An individual argued that the matter had been resolved many years ago and should no longer be linked to him in Google search results. González is happy with the ruling, saying that the data that adversely affects people’s honor and dignity and exposes their private lives should be eliminated.
The court decided that under existing EU data protection laws the company has to erase links to the newspaper’s website from the results of González’s name search. Thus, the judges made clear that a “right to be forgotten” is already established. According to the court, the inclusion of links in the Google results related to a person who wants them removed was incompatible with the law. The matter is that the information that had to be erased could appear inadequate and irrelevant in the light of the time that had elapsed.
Industry experts point out that this ruling establishes that a search engine must be regarded as an information controller under the data protection laws in the European countries where it has a branch to promote and sell advertising. Thus, the company could no longer be regarded legally as a “neutral intermediary”. The Spanish case is the first of over 200 cases against Google where people want it to delete their personal data from the search results.
Legal experts admit that this court decision could spark deletion requests of content including pictures of embarrassing teenage episodes and even insults on social media. All this could also lead to a rethink in the way the search engines handle links to material published online.
The EU justice commissioner was happy with the ruling, regarding it as a clear victory for the protection of the EU personal data. As for Google, the company and online publishers in general are disappointed. In the meantime, the information commissioner has called the “right to be forgotten” a regime that nobody will pay for, as such proposals could cost British businesses £360m annually.
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Sunday, May 18th, 2014No comments
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