Google Responds Promptly to ECJ Ruling on “Right to Be Forgotten”

Google Responds Promptly to ECJ Ruling on “Right to Be Forgotten”

In a move “welcomed” by privacy advocates, Google today released a web form that allows Europeans to request removal of links to Internet contents that allegedly violate the individuals’ “right to be forgotten.”  The form reflects part of Google’s response to the May 13 landmark rulingfrom the European Court of Justice (ECJ) holding that Google can be forced to remove certain search results if they link to Web pages that contain information infringing the privacy of EU citizens.

Google has said it will “assess each individual request and attempt to balance the privacy rights of the individual with the public’s right to know and distribute information.”  Reflecting the ECJ ruling, Google indicated that its evaluation will include looking at whether the search results include “outdated information” about the individual, as well as if there is a “public interest” in the information.  Google said that public interest could be demonstrated by the information relating to financial scams, professional malpractice, criminal convictions, or public conduct of government officials.

If a request appears valid, it is expected that Google will remove the link from search results pages and post a notice that indicates the request was made, as it does for copyright takedown requests.

Requesting individuals will need to provide proof of their identity as a European citizen and a designation of the country whose law applies to the take-down request.

The form notes that the submission is part of the process that will include consultations with and guidance from data protection authorities.  The Article 29 Working Party is scheduled to meet next week to discuss implementation of the ECJ decision uniformly across Europe.

European Commission Vice President Viviane Reding said that Google’s launch is “a good development.”

Relatedly, Google announced it was establishing an international committee to evaluate issues of dealing with requests to “be forgotten,” including Frank La Rue, U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, Peggy Valcke, Director, University of Leuven law school, Jose Luis Piñar, former Spanish DPA, Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia, and Luciano Floridi, Information Ethics Professor at the Oxford Internet Institute.

David Smith, Deputy Commissioner (Head of Data Protection) in the UK Information Commissioner’s Office has said there is space’ to strike a balance between the right to privacy and the public’s right to know. ‘It is important to keep the implications in proportion and recognize that there is no absolute right to have links removed.”

Today’s development reflect Google’s awareness that it needs to comply with the ECJ decision, of course, but that it also continues to feel an obligation to promote free expression and the availability of information.

Leave a Reply

Privacy Calendar

all-day Indoor Location, Privacy and Avoiding “The Creepy Line” @ W New York - Union Square
Indoor Location, Privacy and Avo… @ W New York - Union Square
Jul 22 all-day
Consumer privacy is probably the key issue facing digital marketers: personalization and targeting vs. “surveillance.” As smartphones increasingly make data about offline consumer behavior available, [...]
all-day Big Data: A Tool for Inclusion or Exclusion? @ Constitution Center
Big Data: A Tool for Inclusion o… @ Constitution Center
Sep 15 all-day
The Federal Trade Commission will host a public workshop entitled “Big Data: A Tool for Inclusion or Exclusion?” in Washington on September 15, 2014, to [...]
all-day IAPP Privacy Academy and CSA Congress 2014 @ San Jose Convention Center
IAPP Privacy Academy and CSA Con… @ San Jose Convention Center
Sep 17 – Sep 19 all-day
This fall, the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) and Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) are bringing together the IAPP Privacy Academy and the CSA Congress [...]
6:00 pm Consumer Action’s 43rd Annual Awards Reception @ Google
Consumer Action’s 43rd Annual Aw… @ Google
Oct 21 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
To mark its 43rd anniversary, Consumer Action’s Annual Awards Reception on October 21, 2014, will celebrate the theme of “Train the Trainer.” Through the power of [...]
all-day Data Privacy Day
Data Privacy Day
Jan 28 all-day
“Data Privacy Day began in the United States and Canada in January 2008, as an extension of the Data Protection Day celebration in Europe. The [...]

View Calendar