European Court Orders Google to Remove Certain Links (Forever)…

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It was a surprise ruling, and a potentially disastrous decision for Google.

Earlier this week, the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg ruled that Google should  remove certain links about individuals that are damaging or malicious.  The decision, which invokes a ‘right to be forgotten’ statute of European law, represents a potentially massive legal precedent that could bleed into media content.

Of course, Google has resisted similar attempts by outside parties to interfere with results, even if it contained wrong or destructive information about people.  Back in 2011, for example, plastic surgeon Hugo Guidotti Russo campaigned vigorously to remove a damaging article about him in Spanish newspaper, El País, one that always appeared as the first result when searching his name.

The information doesn’t always have to be false.  In another case, one individual fought to remove information about a bankruptcy proceeding that was resolved more than a decade ago.

 “Even initially lawful processing of accurate data may, in the course of time, become incompatible with the directive where those data are no longer necessary in the light of the purposes for which they were collected or processed.  That is so in particular where they appear to be inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive in relation to those purposes and in the light of the time that has elapsed.”

EU High Court Decision.

Google was ultimately forced to remove the link by Spanish regulators, but has been fighting the order (and others like it) for years.  Outside of those rulings, individuals could only erase information by contacting the owner of the site in question, often an impossible task.



6 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    Yeah, hehe it’s beginning…

    Man, I’ve been waiting for this.

  2. Chuck Darling (DC)

    From: Chuck Darling Friday, May 15th, 2014ad
    To: Searchers
    Re: Search Engine Bias

    Try searching for the IDENTICAL Phrase and SITE
    such as “EU High Court Google” on Google News and Bing News.
    I receive 44,700 Google results
    and 969,000 Bing Results.

    The difference can be even more striking regarding Political Figures.

    What if a Used Car Lot in Belgium
    decides that Internet links to Used Cars in France
    are “Personally Damaging, even if TRUE…”

    or if a French Wine Bottler
    thinks Internet ads about “California Champagne”

    are “VERBOTEN” ?


  3. Anonymous

    “So what are the limitations of this ruling”

    That removed links have to be irrelevant and personal. One of the purposes is to prevent young people’s mistakes from ruining their lives. Another is to protect victims of domestic violence.

    I’m sure most of us can agree those are good purposes, unless we work for multinational advertising agencies such as Google, of course.

    The same court previously turned down requests to remove links that were personal and damaging to the individuals, but relevant.