European Commission, Factsheet on the “Right to be forgotten”ruling (C-131/12)

From the document:

In its ruling of 13 May 20141 the EU Court said:

a)      On the Territoriality of EU rules: Even if the physical server of a company processing data is located outside Europe, EU rules apply to search engine operators if they have a branch or a subsidiary in a Member State which promotes the selling of advertising space offered by the search engine;

b)      On the applicability of EU data protection rules to a search engine: Search engines are controllers of personal data. Google can therefore not escape its responsibilities before European law when handling personal data by saying it is a search engine. EU data protection law applies and so does the right to be forgotten.

c)      On the “Right to be Forgotten”: Individuals have the right – under certain conditions – to ask search engines to remove links with personal information about them. This applies where the information is inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant or excessive for the purposes of the data processing (para 93 of the ruling). The court found that in this particular case the interference with a person’s right to data protection could not be justified merely by economic interest of the search engine. At the same time, the Court explicitly clarified that the right to be forgotten is not absolute but will always need the balance against other fundamental rights, such as the freedom of expression and of the media (para 85 of the ruling). A case-by-case assessment is needed considering the type of information in question, its sensitivity for the individual’s private life and the interest of the public in having access to that information. The role the person requesting the deletion plays in public life might also be relevant.”

The document also compares the right to be forgotten under the current rules and the proposed data protection regulation.

The full text is available at: http://ec.europa…

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