The right to be forgotton - Data and the search engines
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A European court backed the "right to be forgotten"
today. It ordered that Google must delete "inadequate,
irrelevant or no longer relevant" data when asked.
The case was brought by our Spanish cousins and a man
with big cojones Mario Costeja González. Mr
Gonzalez failed to secure the deletion of an auction notice of
his repossessed home dating from 1998 on the website of a mass
circulation newspaper in Catalonia.
As the Guardian reported "González argued that the matter, in
which his house had been auctioned to recover his social security
debts, had been resolved and should no longer be linked to him whenever
his name was searched on Google".
The European court found that Google had to
erase links to two pages on La Vanguardia's website from the results
that are produced when González's name is put into the search engine.
The judges ordered their removal as
Gonzalez wanted them removed "on the grounds that he wishes the
information appearing on those pages relating to him personally to be
'forgotten' after a certain time" was incompatible with the existing
data protection law.
They said the data that had to be erased could "appear to be
inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant or excessive … in the
light of the time that had elapsed". They added that even accurate data
that had been lawfully published initially could "in the course of time
become incompatible with the directive".
Its going to open the floodgates to genuine
complaints, as well as the fruit cakes and time wasters but
its an important decision and one in which Google must now be seen as a
Google said: "This is a disappointing ruling for search
engines and online publishers in general. We are very surprised that it
differs so dramatically from the advocate general's opinion and the
warnings and consequences that he spelled out. We now need to take time
to analyse the implications."
The UK government is against the Right to be Forgotten policy.
The information commissioner has called the "right to be forgotten"
proposals "a regime that no one will pay for". In addition
government justice minister Simon Hughes said in March that
"it is clearly better that we take time to get this right rather than
rush into something that proves unworkable and costly".
Written by Michael Coyle
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2014-06-16 09:05:45 in Legal Articles