Reuters writes that Spain’s highest court wants the top court in Europe to decide if requests by Spanish citizens to have data deleted from Google’s search engine are lawful, in a case that could put more pressure on it to review its privacy policies.
The court, the Audiencia Nacional, said it had asked the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to clarify whether Google should remove data from its search engine’s index and news aggregator even when it is not responsible for producing the content in its search results.
Madrid’s data protection authority has received over 100 requests from Spanish citizens to have their data removed from Google’s search results.
Among the cases is one of a Spanish man who complained to the national regulator about a notice of his home’s repossession for non-payment of social security, which kept appearing in a national newspaper in the Google News aggregator. In another case, a plastic surgeon wants to get rid of archived references to a botched operation.
The Spanish judges also asked the ECJ whether the complainants must take their grievances to California, where Google is based and said it wanted the matters heard.
The referral of the case to the ECJ marks the first formal inquiry into when people can demand that their data be deleted.
Personal note: this is one interesting case. If dealt with properly by the CJEU, than we will have the first reference to the concrete ways to enforce a right to be forgotten. I’m really eager to see its outcome.
The preliminary question I find particularly interesting is the one referring to the quality of the information required to be deleted from search engines.
“Finalmente, los jueces preguntan al Tribunal de Luxemburgo si la protección de datos incluye que el afectado se niegue a que una información referida a su persona se indexe y difunda, aun siendo lícita y exacta en su origen, pero que la considere negativa o perjudicial para su persona”, which means that the Spanish court has asked whether the data subject can ask for data to be deleted even in the case the information is legitimate and true, but the data subject considers it to bring prejudices.