Google has already received several requests to remove links from its search results
An ex-politician seeking re-election, a man convicted of possessing child abuse images, and a GP who received negative reviews from patients have all asked Google to delete their internet histories, after the European Union’s top court ruled that data about individuals held by Google must be removed on request.
The European Court of Justice said earlier this week that an individual has the “right to be forgotten” when such personal data “appear to be inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive in relation to the purpose for which they were processed and in the light of the time that has elapsed”.
The ruling only compels Google to remove the links to information, rather than the information itself. This means users of Facebook, Twitter and other social media can still share personal information about others, so long as it remains online.
EU Commissioner Viviane Reding described the decision as “a clear victory for the protection of personal data of Europeans”, and former shadow home secretary David Davis MP welcomed the ruling as “sensible”, claiming that this is “the first step in people having property rights in their own information”.
However, Dominic Raab, MP for Esher and Walton, called it “a draconian attack on free speech and transparency, totally at odds with Britain’s liberal tradition”, and the Open Rights Group said the ruling could pose a threat to free speech online.