EU Court of Justice rules: people have the “right to be forgotten” online

JudgeIn a case that could far reaching impact for companies like Google and social networks, the European Union Court of Justice has ruled in favor of people’s “right to be forgotten”.

The original complaint came from a Spanish man who says he found a newspaper article from all the way back in 1998 when searching Google for his name. The result spoke about the repossession of his house, a fact far from relevant all the way in 2014.

Other complaints, more than 200 of them, speak of other privacy violations, and the desire of the public in Spain to have their personal data removed. Google initially ignored these requests.

We are very satisfied that there is an end now to the ferocious resistance shown by the search engine to comply with the resolutions of the Spanish data protection agency in this matter, the agency said in an official statement. 

What has made Google so reluctant? Most of it is due to the added costs of developing a system to do this. But there could be other reasoning involved.

For example, companies like Google and Facebook are unpaid. Instead, they gather huge profits from advertising and, more importantly, data collection. This data can be sold to third party marketing firms, which use them to help other companies target their internet and product campaigns.

In addition, we have been seeing increasing evidence as to the cooperation by companies like Google with the government, as part of the surveillance program they have been vocal against. You wouldn’t be taking much of a leap to start establishing theories on how they could benefit there.

Is this likely to be a policy spread to the United States? Probably not, as their hold here is much tighter, and European precedence has no baring on the rulings of US courts. But it is a start for potential public demand, and that means at least a little.

Justice Viviane Reding was positive about what it means for the EU.

Companies can no longer hide behind their servers being based in California or anywhere else in the world, she said in a post to her Facebook page following the ruling. 

Yes, judges have and update public Facebook pages speaking about landmark cases. The internet has really gotten there.

Source: Reuters

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