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What is the ‘right to be forgotten’? – The Lawyer’s corner

1 min.

The right to be forgotten’ is a peculiar form of the right to privacy. It protects people’s interests, in that, repeated publication of a news item that in the past was lawfully published, can no longer continue.

This will ensure the confidentiality that normally arises from the passage of time when the diminished relevance of the news is no longer in the public interest.

The Court of Justice of the European Union, in a judgment on 13th May 2014, reiterated that web users have the right to’ oblivion’, specifying that they can ask search engine providers to remove information about them, when they are “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant.” In the case referred to the Court, a Spanish citizen protested to Google, after typing his name into the search engine, and finding links to two pages of a Spanish newspaper from 1998, in which his identity appeared in an ad for an estate auction proceedings.

The Court held that the activity of search engines entails the processing of personal data, with all the consequences envisaged by EU laws; for example, Google must remove links from third parties containing information on an individual, which come up in a search on that name, even if the name or the information cannot be erased from the pages themselves, and even if those pages were legal when they were published on the web – (as in the case of judicial ads).

In a nutshell: you can ask Google to remove indexing for information published by third parties, without contacting the person who published it. Google will consider making the removal. In the case of a rejection of the request by Google, the user can then contact the national judicial authority.

Published by

Michele Cancellieri

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