Google must delete data on request, EU court rules

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Have you ever seen anything on the web you wish wasn’t there or found content about you which was inaccurate or could cause potential personal or business issues?  In the past it may have been something to sweat over, but now there may be a way to remove unwanted content.

In a surprise ruling, the EU’s highest court has said that Google must delete inaccurate details about individuals on request. Any data about a person that is deemed to be inaccurate or out of date will have to be removed from the search engine if a request is put forward.

This comes after a Spanish national complained that details of his involvement in a debt recovery operation appeared on a Spanish news site long after the legal dispute had been resolved and that this was an infringement of his privacy. The news site was not found to be at fault, because all of the information was correct at the time of publishing, so a complaint was made against Google for bringing up the material on its search results.

The European Court of Justice has ruled that individuals have the right to ‘be forgotten’ if information about them appears to be ‘inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive in relation to the purpose for which they were processed and in the light of the time that has elapsed’.

The landmark ruling comes as a surprise because in a similar case brought to the ECG last year, it was decided that Google was not responsible for the content found by its search engines.

In the past, Google has said that to delete links to certain sites would be ‘censorship’.

How will Google deal with the requests with the millions of hits it gets each day? If you want something taken down don’t expect it to be in a hurry…unless you are the one taking them to court of course.

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