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Not a day goes by without another data protection ruling from the European Court of Justice.
Well, apart from on Saturdays and Sundays when the ECJ has a lie-in, a leisurely breakfast and then spends the rest of the day mowing the lawn and arguing with the kids.
So, what is it this time?
On Tuesday the European Court of Justice, in a case against Google Spain, decided that there now exists a ‘right to be forgotten’ … within reason.
The judgment states that links to information which is held on an individual should be removed from search engine results under data protection laws in certain circumstances.
Typically, this would happen where, over the course of time, data on an individual subsequently becomes inadequate; no longer relevant; or excessive in relation to the purposes for which the data was initially processed and in the light of the time that has elapsed.
Of course the relevant data would, in all likelihood, still exist in some lost corner of the web—over which a search engine would have no control—but the link to it would be removed. The lack of a link means that the information becomes invisible for most intents and purposes (although an individual might also want to enforce his or her data protection rights against whoever is holding that data too).
Individual Privacy, 1; Search Engine, nil: an individual’s right to privacy may be able to trump the economic interests of an impossibly large multinational like Google.
Indeed, people are already contacting Google with takedown requests according to the BBC . An ex-politician seeking re-election ‘has asked to have links to an article about his behaviour in office removed’ and a doctor has asked that negative patient reviews be removed from search results.
It goes without say
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