In a landmark case that is being covered by every news outlet around the world, a European Court has said ordinary people can request to have their info pulled from the search results. This will certainly open the door to a multitude of scenarios, first this is a European ruling, will North American courts demand the same rights for their citizens ?
The ruling does not give any open and shut method for removing the info and of course Google is likely to fight this and appeal the ruling.
AMSTERDAN – A European court, in an important test of the “right to be forgotten,” ruled Tuesday that Google must amend some of its search results at the request of ordinary people when they show links to outdated, irrelevant information.
In an advisory judgment stemming from a Spanish case, The Court of Justice of the European Union said Google and other search engines do have control of individuals’ private information, given that they sometimes compile and present links to it in a systematic way.
The court found that under European law, individuals have a right to control over their private data, especially if they are not public figures. If they want irrelevant or wrong personal information about themselves “forgotten” from search engine results, they have the right to request it – even if the information was legally published.
People “may address such a request directly to the operator of the search engine … which must then duly examine its merits,” the ruling said.
Whether or not the request should be granted will depend “on the nature of the information in question and its sensitivity for the data subject’s private life and on the interest of the public in having that information, an interest which may vary,” it said.
Google must remove links to pages containing the information from results “unless there are particular reasons, such as the role played by the data subject in public life, justifying a preponderant interest of the public in having access to the information when such a search is made,” the court said.