In what could be a landmark ruling, a potential new precedent has been set for the ‘right to be forgotten’.
An EU court has ruled that Google must amend its search results in relation to Mario Costeja Gonzalez, who, when goggled, the most popular result was of a house auctioned 16 years ago when he ran into financial difficulties. The out of date search result infringed his privacy and it has now been deemed that Google must amend its results to reflect his wishes. The impact that this case could have is as yet unknown.
According to the new ruling, individuals have a right to control their private data. This is especially pertinent in cases where search results can present negative, one sided or out of date information, negatively impacting a person’s life. The new ruling states that search results must be amended. The information, however will still be available on the internet, it will just not be as readily available. Google has not yet commented on the new ruling, nor how many take down requests it has received since last Tuesday, when the decision was made.
Although everyone has a right to be forgotten, the impact that this could have for free speech might appear quite daunting. Free speech advocates at The Index on Censorship said the courts ruling “should send chills down the spine of everyone in the European Union who believes in the crucial importance of free expression and freedom of information”. BBC News has reported that alongside Gonzalez there is a doctor who wants negative reviews from patients removed from search results and an ex-politician, running for re-election, wanting links to an article describing his behavior in office removed. These cases supposedly ‘infringe privacy’, but what does this mean for free speech and freedom of information? What the impact will be is yet to play out, however I am sure we have not seen the full picture.
If you are interested in the impact that the EU can have on your business, why not join us for the inaugural Cyber Security Briefing in London on June 26th, where we will be discussing a new EU directive and the rules and regulations that companies must now abide by. Download the brochure today to find out more.