When Privacy Overrules Freedom Of Information
In a landmark decision this week, the EU court of justice has set some valuable guidelines on when the right to privacy should supersede the principals of freedom of information. In the case of Mario Costeja González versus Google, the court has ruled that Google must delete data regarding Mr González that "...appear to be inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive...
". This is great news for Mr González and potentially for anyone or any business that has struggled with Internet content which could do them harm, but which really doesn't fall under the category of something that the public has a 'right to know'.
What Does this Mean To You?
The right to be forgotten, as a precedent, has now been set - if there is information on the Internet that you regard as inadequate, irrelevant or excessive, you now have more rights to ask to have it removed. Google is of course unhappy, regarding the ruling as amounting to censorship, but for the present at least they are obliged to respect the court judgement. The implications of this ruling are massive; the court has explicitly recognised Google and other search engines as “data controllers”. Until now search engine operators have argued that their role is merely to make information available through search results rather than to control what the results are. Data protection lawyers say that the ruling means that Google and other search engines can no longer define themselves as "neutral intermediaries
What are the Limitations of the Judgement?
The court has made it clear that search engine operators can still argue against deletion of data where it is in the public interest for it to remain, so the ruling certainly doesn't mean that you can demand the removal of a recent negative review just because you don't like it! It does mean that the current situation of “once published, never deleted
” should be a thing of the past. More than anything else this ruling means that search engine operators have to acknowledge the enormous power they wield and use it respectfully.Local Fame
welcomes this judgement and we're delighted that it will make it just that little bit easier to manage your online reputation. Give us a call
if you think that there's something out there in the digital world that you'd like to see gone, or if you haven't yet asked us to run a free local search visibility report and citation audit now would be the ideal time to do it.