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The European Court of Justice, the highest EU court dealing with various EU treaties and Directives, has established a "right to be forgotten" on the internet. In ruling on a case between a Spaniard and Google, the Court has ordered Google to remove any links to irrelevant or outdated information about them at an individual's request. The court confirmed the individual's right to control their personal data as paramount.

The European Commission proposed a law giving users the "right to be forgotten" in 2012.

It would require search engines to edit some searches to make them compliant with the European directive on the protection of personal data.

In its judgement, the court in Luxembourg said people had the right to request information be removed if it appeared to be "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant".

http://www.bbc.co.uk/...

The accompanying press release (.pdf) gives the reasoning.

In today’s judgment, the Court of Justice finds, first of all, that by searching automatically, constantly and systematically for information published on the internet, the operator of a search engine ‘collects’ data within the meaning of the directive. The Court considers, furthermore, that the operator, within the framework of its indexing programmes, ‘retrieves’, ‘records’ and ‘organises’ the data in question, which it then ‘stores’ on its servers and, as the case may be, ‘discloses’ and ‘makes available’ to its users in the form of lists of results. Those operations, which are referred to
expressly and unconditionally in the directive, must be classified as ‘processing’, regardless of the fact that the operator of the search engine carries them out without distinction in respect of information other than the personal data. The Court also points out that the operations referred to by the directive must be classified as processing even where they exclusively concern material that has already been published as it stands in the media. A general derogation from the application of the directive in such a case would have the consequence of largely depriving the directive of its effect.

The Court further holds that the operator of the search engine is the ‘controller’ in respect of that processing, within the meaning of the directive, given that it is the operator which determines the purposes and means of the processing. The Court observes in this regard that, inasmuch as the activity of a search engine is additional to that of publishers of websites and is liable to affect significantly the fundamental rights to privacy and to the protection of personal data, the operator of the search engine must ensure, within the framework of its responsibilities, powers and capabilities, that its activity complies with the directive’s requirements. This is the only way that the guarantees laid down by the directive will be able to have full effect and that effective and complete protection of data subjects (in particular of their privacy) may actually be achieved.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (16+ / 0-)

    "Come to Sochi, visit the gay clubs and play with the bears" - NOT a Russian advertising slogan.

    by Lib Dem FoP on Tue May 13, 2014 at 04:05:28 AM PDT

  •  that is a very important regulation (6+ / 0-)

    and I am looking forward to the discussions it might create. Thanks for reporting it.

  •  It would appear that (5+ / 0-)

    Europe is of the view that all Europeans should have privacy rights much more broad than those that used to be available to Americans, under the 4th Amendment.

    May it rest in peace.

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    Who is twigg?

    by twigg on Tue May 13, 2014 at 05:24:08 AM PDT

    •  They've Had 230 Years to Copy Our System (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      twigg, jayden, amyzex

      Seems they've chosen instead to take our place.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Tue May 13, 2014 at 05:27:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The UK, and most of Europe (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jayden, DRo, lotlizard, amyzex, Wee Mama, kurt

        has for years had a "Data Protection Act".

        The forbids any organization from sharing information held on computers, with any other organisation or business not expressly allowed by the individual.

        This means, for example, that UK airlines can only share information on passengers with the TSA, if the TSA uses that info only for the express purpose of aircraft safety ... with no "weasel words".

        During the last round of negotiations there was a big fight because the TSA refused to comply, saying it could send any or all the info to any other government department it saw fit.

        There was a moment when Europe came very close to shutting down trans-atlantic flights by refusing to submit passenger manifests to the US authorities. They fudged a compromise in the end.

        We take this shit very seriously. Corporations that break these rules risk losing their license to hold customer information on their databases. That could put some of them out of business.

        I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
        but I fear we will remain Democrats.

        Who is twigg?

        by twigg on Tue May 13, 2014 at 05:33:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  4th amendment isn't a right to privacy. (0+ / 0-)

      It's a right of unreasonable search and seizure by the government.

      That's a very weak guarantee to privacy, by the standards of most modern democracies.

      •  Like all the other relevant amendments (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kurt

        the 4th is dependent on the Supreme Court interpreting it to meet the current needs.

        If the SCOTUS waters it down, tough .. but they are also in a position to extend it as far as they see fit.

        The difference in Europe is that we have laws that offer similar protections, and they apply not just to government, but to everyone. Government, Corporations and individuals.

        The US has laws too, but very few of them protect citizens against corporations.

        In every area of life, US corporations are pretty much free to exploit people, from labor law and employment protections, right through searching your criminal record and sharing that with whoever they see fit.

        The government is constrained because it has the power to imprison, yet corporations can very easily destroy lives with a simple entry on a credit record ... try getting that corrected. I know the law says you can ... it's laughable, or it would be were it not so serious.

        I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
        but I fear we will remain Democrats.

        Who is twigg?

        by twigg on Tue May 13, 2014 at 07:26:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Charter Rights (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          twigg, kurt

          The relevant protection is given in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (.pdf). Section 8 is quite explicit:

          Protection of personal data

          1. Everyone has the right to the protection of personal data concerning him or her.

          2. Such data must be processed fairly for specified purposes and on the basis of the consent of the person concerned or some other legitimate basis laid down by law. Everyone has the right of access to data which has been collected concerning him or her, and the right to have it rectified.

          3. Compliance with these rules shall be subject to control by an independent authority

          "Come to Sochi, visit the gay clubs and play with the bears" - NOT a Russian advertising slogan.

          by Lib Dem FoP on Tue May 13, 2014 at 08:00:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Eh, whatever. (0+ / 0-)

    The rich and powerful will always have the ability to find out whatever they want about whoever they want.

    warning: snark probably above

    by NE2 on Tue May 13, 2014 at 05:32:52 AM PDT

  •  So far, this is just kind of simmering. (0+ / 0-)

    I'm sure a major schism will eventually open up, but in general, the issue has just kind of stewed.

    These kind of take-down notices tend to be rather useless, since Google generally posts a warning at the bottom about removed search results, and includes documents they were served, which include the URLs removed in question.

    •  That in itself would be illegal (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kurt

      The ruling is going to cause massive problems for Google and other search engines. That sort of list of removed search results of course gives information that would be illegal to convey. There's going to have to be some massive code re-writing to ensure they check the "do not reveal" list of links regarding an individual.

      What is more likely to happen is that anyone who lodges a complaint with them will have their name added to a "banned word" list.  That would cause all sorts of problems as well. For example, the last time I looked at an all- London telephone directory, there were 5 people with my name listed.

      "Come to Sochi, visit the gay clubs and play with the bears" - NOT a Russian advertising slogan.

      by Lib Dem FoP on Tue May 13, 2014 at 08:06:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Is it? (0+ / 0-)

        Just going on the summary PDF (which isn't the binding decision) they held the source article was fine,  but the links were not.  I'm not sure how that ruling would prohibit posting, say, a copy of the demand with the links in question they wanted removed, any more than it would prohibit bringing up the court's decision in a search.

        What is more likely to happen is that anyone who lodges a complaint with them will have their name added to a "banned word" list.  That would cause all sorts of problems as well. For example, the last time I looked at an all- London telephone directory, there were 5 people with my name listed.
        I think the court seems to be counting on invocations of this particular protection being rare enough that's not an issue, but I agree with you, it's not very workable.
        •  Totally moot (0+ / 0-)

          That would be the equivalent of saying "we are not allowed to tell you about the following links:" and then listing them. It would make a nonsense of the ruling and, in particular, would still conflict with somebody's Article 8 rights.

          "Come to Sochi, visit the gay clubs and play with the bears" - NOT a Russian advertising slogan.

          by Lib Dem FoP on Tue May 13, 2014 at 10:26:32 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Google does that every day. (0+ / 0-)
            That would be the equivalent of saying "we are not allowed to tell you about the following links:" and then listing them.
            They invariably post DMCA take-down requests with the actual links that are taken down.  "Remove from your search database" isn't the same thing as "never mention"
            •  Read the judgement (0+ / 0-)

              and the Charter and you will see that would be a breach. The fact that they today will return all instances of, for example, your name does not mean that it is now legal for them to do so if you show cause why you want it to not be mentioned.

              The same legislation of course affects all other search engines including Bing.

              "Come to Sochi, visit the gay clubs and play with the bears" - NOT a Russian advertising slogan.

              by Lib Dem FoP on Tue May 13, 2014 at 01:29:36 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

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