On Tuesday, the highest court in the European Union ruled that Google must grant its users a right to delete sensitive information from the company’s search results. The decision, which favors a ‘right to be forgotten’, is a huge blow for the company, who has sought to avoid removing information from its site in the past.
With the ruling, the European court indicated that individuals have the right to have links to unflattering material removed from the Internet, even if the original content was true and legally posted. Google has been mandated by the EU to assume both the responsibility and cost for removing the information.
How it all began
The legislation began in 2009 when Mario Costeja, a lawyer in Spain, searched his name in Google and saw articles dating back to 1998 that detailed his accumulated debt and forced sale of his property. Years later, the debt was resolved, and the issue was no longer relevant.
After both the newspaper publisher and Google refused Costeja’s requests to have the information removed, he complained to the Spanish Data Protection Agency, who then ordered Google to remove the links. Google challenged the order, which was then placed in front of the European court for advice on how to rule.
On Tuesday, the European court made its final ruling: Google controls the information and thus is responsible for removing it from its site. But the most important takeaway to the legislation is that people have a right to forget the setbacks of their past.
What about the United States?
While we applaud the EU for ruling in favor of consumer privacy and the right to be forgotten, in the United States consumers continue to struggle with removing their information from Google. While we wait for US legislation to catch up with the privacy-forward ways of the EU, Abine offers a viable solution for right now.
With Abine’s DeleteMe, you can have your personal information removed from the largest people search sites on the internet. We put in the leg work for you, contacting people search sites that post your information that come up on Google.