A new ruling of the European Court of Justice, in which a man asked to delete information regarding the auction of one of his property due to unpaid taxes in 1998, has important implications for search engines in Europe. The court found that certain users must have the right to require search engines like Google to eliminate search results that include their name. To do this, the search results must be considered inappropriate, irrelevant or excessive.
In principle, only users of Google’s search engine in the 28 countries of the European Union, as well as in Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein can exercise this right.
How has Google implemented this judgment on the right to be forgotten?
The company has introduced an application form, which will allow users to directly ask for the removal of links to personal information which they deem damaging. You can access the form concerning the right to be forgotten here:
Google Procedure on the Right to be Forgotten
After submitting the form, the user will promptly get an auto-reply with the confirmation of receipt of his application.
Google will assess the application, taking into account the parameters listed in the mentioned judgment and base the decision on:
- the nature of the data itself that the applicant wants to delete from the network
- the public character of the applicant
- the time which has elapsed since the event occurred
Google must give an answer to the applicant about his request within a period of 10 days. If the applicant does not agree with the decision, he can lodge an appeal with the Spanish Agency for Data Protection (AEPD).
If the request is approved, Google will remove the Internet link in the mentioned European countries. However, the link will still be available on the google.com web page throughout the rest of the world.
This article is not considered as legal advice