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Google v Spain: EU backs ‘right to be forgotten’

Posted on 16 May 2014 by Isabella Piasecka

In a landmark decision on internet privacy, the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) has ruled that search engine operators must comply with requests to remove links to personal data that is “irrelevant or excessive”, even where the person is not prejudiced by the listing and even where the original publication was lawful. The decision, on 13 May, comes in the wake of broader EU proposals for a new data privacy law, including a ‘right to be forgotten’ that would oblige operators to delete personal data unless there are legitimate grounds to retain it. It also, somewhat surprisingly, contradicts previous advice by the EU’s Advocate General that search engines should ignore such requests, since a general right to be forgotten would “entail sacrificing pivotal rights such as freedom of expression and information”.

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