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Google Not Responsible for “Right to Be Forgotten”


A senior European judicial official issued a formal opinion stating that Google and other search providers are not responsible for third-party information  in their search results and that there is no general “right to be forgotten” in current data protection laws. The right to be forgotten addresses the storage of personal public data by organizations, including telecommunications providers, and places limits on the time the data is available. Under the EU’s Data Protection Directive, originally adopted in 1995, search engine service providers are not responsible for any personal data that may appear on the webpages they return in response to queries, stated European Court of Justice advocate general Niilo Jääskinen, in a formal opinion written to the court. National data protection authorities in Europe cannot require a search engine to remove third-party information from its index, such as a newspaper article, unless it is incomplete, inaccurate, libelous, or criminal. Jääskinen issued his opinion in response to a 2009 Spanish case in which an individual asked Google to remove old financial information about his debts that were originally published in a newspaper article from its index. Spain’s data-protection agency found in the individual’s favor and asked Google to remove the third-party information so that it wouldn’t appear again in search results. Google contested the ruling in court. Jääskinen’s opinion is not binding on the European Court of Justice, which is expected to issue a ruling later this year. (Financial Times)(BBC)(The Associated Press @ The San Jose Mercury-News)(PC World)(European Network and Information Security Agency)
 

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