Google can be asked to remove some info
USA TODAY – The highest court in Europe ruling Tuesday that people have the “right to be forgotten” and can ask Google to remove some sensitive information from Internet search results is “huge,” privacy experts say.
The ruling is “groundbreaking,” said Trevor Hughes, president and CEO of the International Association of Privacy Professionals.
“Individuals now have the ability to essentially go in with a virtual black marker and redact their names,” he said. “That changes the game of both search results and the information economy.”
The judgment was handed down by the Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union in a development that highlights ongoing battles between supporters of privacy rights and those who advocate for freedom of expression.
The court ruled that Google, if asked to do so, must amend links to information shown to be outdated or deemed to be irrelevant.
“If, following a search made on the basis of a person’s name, the list of results displays a link to a Web page which contains information on the person in question, that data subject may approach the operator directly and, where the operator does not grant his request, bring the matter before the competent authorities in order to obtain, under certain conditions, the removal of that link from the list of results,” the judges said in their ruling.
The case followed complaints from a man in Spain who argued that when Google’s search results revealed details published in a local newspaper about an auction of his repossessed home, it infringed on his privacy rights.
Google expressed frustration with the decision.
“This is a disappointing ruling for search engines and online publishers in general,” the search-engine giant said in a statement. “We now need to take time to analyze the implications.”
The technology firm had argued that it doesn’t control personal data, it just offers links to information already freely and legally available on the Internet.
U.S. experts say it’s clear to them that the European high court means that any company, no matter where it’s based, must abide by the rules if its data is available in Europe.
Google said it will now “take time to analyze the implications” of the case.