Google Ordered to Amend Search Results as EU Supports Individuals' 'Right to be Forgotten'

By Gerald Lynch on at

Been up to some shameful things you'd rather weren't searchable across the web? A landmark ruling by the European Union's Court of Justice means that you will be able to request Google deletes data from its search results if said data is found to be "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant".

The European Union's Court of Justice ruled against Google Spain and in favour of a Mario Costeja González, who had requested that data relating to him be removed from search results returned when inputting his name. The website La Vanguardia was hosting data relating to an auction notice on his repossessed home from back in 1998, a matter that had long been resolved that González no longer wanted to be associated with online. Google search results still linked back to the ageing pages.

The move, which sees the likes of Google now being regarded as a "data controller" in EU territories in which it promotes and sells advertising, saw the judges pointing to an EU data protection directive which had already established a "right to be forgotten".

It's interesting that the argument is being pointed at Google as opposed to the source websites it indexes. It's effectively being asked to act as a censoring intermediary between individuals and the owners of offending websites, which could itself have troubling implications in the future. Google is again being asked to take responsibility for the content it is linking to, but in this case offending sources may be providing content totally legally -- as was seemingly the original case with the La Vanguardia website and Mr González's details. [European Union Court of Justice (PDF) via The Register]