EU court : Google must amend search results 'at public's request'
EU court : Google must amend search results 'at public's request'

EU court : Google must amend search results ‘at public’s request’

People should have some say over the results that pop up when they conduct a search of their own name online, Europe’s highest court said Tuesday.

In a landmark decision, The Court of Justice of the European Union said Google must listen and sometimes comply when individuals ask the Internet search giant to remove links to newspaper articles or websites containing personal information.

The ruling by the European Court of Justice, based on a 1995 data-protection law, endorses a right to be forgotten, report the New York Times, CNN, the Associated Press and the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.).

The ruling was a response to a request for guidance by a Spanish court in the case of lawyer Mario Costeja Gonzalez, who wanted Google to delete links to a 1998 legal announcement in a Spanish newspaper about an auction of his property to recover social security debts. Costeja Gonzalez said the proceedings were fully resolved several years ago and reference to them was now irrelevant.

The court agreed. Google’s links to the information should be removed, the court said, because the information is “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive” in relation to the purposes for which it was collected. The outcome would be different, the court said, if the lawyer played a role in public life, and the public’s interest in having access to the information justified interfering with his rights.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “All that wiggle room in interpretation may be the toughest challenge for companies who will now need to interpret the ruling.” Courts across Europe “are now tasked with implementing the high court’s ruling,” the story says.

Google spokesperson Al Verney. said the decision was “a disappointing ruling for search engines and online publishers in general.”


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