Today, Google has published a webpage with a form allowing anyone in Europe to ask that personal data be removed from search results. This follows the recent ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union, deciding that:
- Indexing information by a search engine is ‘processing of personal data’
- Google is a ‘controller’ of personal data
- Spanish data protection law is applicable, even if indexing happens in the US
- Google should remove links to webpages containing personal data, even if the webpages themselves are lawful
- A fair balance should be sought between the legitimate interests of search engine users and the privacy rights of individuals
- The right to be forgotten is recognised by the Court of Justice.
I've owned the domains forgetweb.com and forgetweb.org since 2010, so this is something I've contemplated for some time and the domain names betray my leaning, yet I can confidently say the Court has got it wrong. Julian David, techUK CEO, explains why in The Telegraph: "Forget about it: the ECJ ruling on the 'right to be forgotten' is unworkable." I support his balanced sentiment 100% and would add one more vitally important perspective. Read more