Right to be forgotten further?

Right to be forgotten further?

The repercussions of the judgment in Google Spain v AEPD and Mario Costeja González: C-131/12, [2014] All ER (EC) 717 (analysis for Lexis®PSL IP&IT subscribers here) may prove to be only a taster of the privacy issues Google must wrestle with as it prepares for a further test case of enormous consequences. Monica Salgado, data protection specialist at Speechly Bircham considers the possible implications of the action brought by Daniel Hegglin, a former Morgan Stanley banker over ‘vile and abusive’ material about him that repeatedly appears in search results.

What are going to be the central issues when this case is heard?

The main issue at play will be the scope of the right to be forgotten principle in England and Wales. Google was originally asked to ensure a specific URL containing allegedly defamatory materials relating to Daniel Hegglin did not appear in Google search results.

Google has made some attempts to remove such search results in relation to Mr Hegglin’s right to be forgotten request, but now Mr Hegglin wants Google to strengthen its efforts and take all reasonable and proportional technical steps as might be necessary to make sure the allegedly defamatory webpages do not appear as snippets in Google’s search results. In most right to be forgotten requests, the individual has to indicate what the URL of the website(s) that contain the controversial personal data is—so it’s not such an ‘open’ request. I think that will be the main point in the trial in November—does Google have to take all those reasonable steps to avoid any such materials appearing in search results, or is it still just the case of the individual listing the URLs and requesting Google to remove those from its web search results.

What is the current position in relation to the obligation of internet service providers (ISPs) to take down unlawful or defamatory content?

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