On 9 September, European and international civil rights organisations submitted an open letter (pdf) to Google’s Advisory Council on their assessment of the so-called “right to be forgotten”. The groups urge the Council’s members to avoid inadvertently delaying the adoption of the data protection reform package.
The Court decision highlights the urgency of reform. The ruling on the right to be forgotten is a milestone in the enforcement of European citizens' fundamental right to data protection. The Court had to step in and take a stance because Europe lacks modern data protection rules that are fit for the internet age.
The recent ruling by the European Court of Justice on the right to be forgotten does not give the all-clear for people or organisations to have content removed from the web simply because they find it inconvenient. Far from it. It calls for a balance between the legitimate interests of internet users and citizens' fundamental rights. A balance that will have to be found in each case.
The judgment of the Court of Justice of European Union (CJEU) of 13 May 2014 Google Spain SL and Google Inc. v Agencia Española de Protección de Datos (AEPD) and Mario Costeja González (C-131/12) sets a milestone for EU data protection in respect of search engines and, more generally, in the online world.
It grants the possibility to data subjects to request to search engines, under certain conditions, the delisting of links appearing in the search results based on a person’s name.
On Wednesday 26 November, the European data protection authorities assembled in the Article 29 Working Party (WP29) have adopted guidelines on the implementation of the CJEU’s judgment. These guidelines contain the common interpretation of the ruling as well as the common criteria to be used by the data
protection authorities when addressing complaints.
The House of Lords adopted a report on the Google/Spain case. EDRi says the report made it very clear that the nonsense around the term “the right to be forgotten” is indeed simply that… nonsense. However, EDRi observed that sadly, none of the facts of the case mattered in the way of a good story.
Google has agreed to about 40 percent of the requested URL removals that it has received in the months since the European Union's Court of Justice issued its ruling that empowered citizens of the EU to have search results unlinked from their names online.
Google doesn't delete any content from its search records archives completely. It simply breaks the links between searches on an individual's name and the offending results. That gives complainants the opportunity to use Google to shape their online identity while leaving the content behind those search results intact. According to the new data, Google has removed some 227,000 of those connections since it began, reluctantly, enforcing the ruling.