Internet Search Engines and the Right to Be Forgotten, July 2014

29-07-2014

Author: Anna Morgan and Rob Corbet



In a seminal judgment on 13 May 2014 concerning the application of the Data Protection Directive, the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) ruled that, in certain circumstances, an individual has the right to have information about them removed from the results of an internet search carried out against their name. The judgment has extensive implications, not only for internet search engines, but also for the extent of the information available to the general public when carrying out name searches using internet search engines.

The ECJ judgment was made in the context of a referral by the Spanish National High Court in proceedings taken by Google Spain and Google Inc (together, Google) against the Spanish data protection agency (AEPD) and an individual, Mario Costeja González, concerning the AEPD’s decision on a prior complaint made by Mr González against Google under the Spanish legislation implementing the directive.

In his complaint to the AEPD, Mr González objected to the inclusion of links to archived newspaper announcements from 1998 within search results produced by the Google search function, using his name as the search term. The newspaper announcements referenced his name in connection with a property auction relating to attachment proceedings for the recovery of social security debts.

In this article, Anna Morgan takes a look at internet search engines and the right to be forgotten.

Follow the link below to read the article in full.

Reproduced by kind permission of the Law Society Gazette, Cover Story, July 2014

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