Tag Archives: Google

The Chrome mobile app asks for permission to audio/video record ‘at any time, without your confirmation’

Will the real Big Brother please stand up?

The update for the Google Chrome mobile app for Android needs to obtain the permission of the user to a new clause in the Terms and Conditions for its functioning, under “Hardware controls”, which raises extremely serious privacy concerns: if granted, the updated app will have permission to record audio with the microphone at any time without the user’s confirmation and also take pictures and videos with the camera at any time without the user’s confirmation.

Does this mean that the telephone conversations can be recorded at Chrome’s will whenever the app runs in the background? Does it mean that it can also record sounds from the phone’s surroundings, again, at Chrome’s will? Does it mean that at “any time” the camera of the phone can start, at Chrome’s will, to record anything out there? Where are these recordings stored? Who has access to these recordings? Does the user even find out such recordings are/were happening? These are questions which need answers. The words in the terms and conditions for the updated app were very few. And worrying.

chrome t_cAs this blog post starts from a personal experience, unfortunately I do not have more information on this issue. I don’t know whether such a clause already exists in the Terms and Conditions of other Google Apps, or other apps, but I find it almost unbelievable (under the terms the clause was expressed in). “At any time” is a very powerful legal description of a context, as it basically encompasses every possible time and situation. “Without your confirmation” is another powerful wording, as it suggests that the user can be literally spied on. Needles to be said, such an approach breaks at least several provisions of the EU Data Protection Directive (and the national implementation laws, obviously), such as the lawful basis for processing rules, the right of the data subject to be informed, purpose limitation rules.

As I am not a techy, I have no idea which are the technical conditions for a mobile app to be able to take photos and video/audio record with my phone without me knowing when it does so. It might not even be possible. But if it is not possible, why is Google Chrome asking me if I allow it to do this at any time, without my confirmation? And if it is possible, why on Earth does Google Chrome need to take photos with my camera and record sounds and conversations with it?

Screenshot_2013-06-08-22-25-45I looked at the specifications for what the updated version of the app brings new and nothing looks like the app needs photos, video and audio recordings to function. Under “What’s new”, Google writes: * full screen on phones – Scroll to hide the toolbar, * simplified search – View and refine your query directly in the omnibox, * tab history on tablets – Long press the browser’s back button to view your tab history, * several stability improvements. That is all. Perhaps audio recordings help with the stability issues? (kidding).

Therefore, if any of you, frequent or occasional readers, can enlighten me on any of these issues, I will be grateful. In the meantime, I have not updated the Chrome app on my phone.

The exact wording from the terms and conditions:

Record audio

Allows the app to record audio with the microphone. This permission allows the app to record audio at any time without your confirmation.

Take pictures and videos

Allows the app to take pictures and videos with the camera. This permission allows the app to use the camera at any time without your confirmation.

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Chinese Legislature Passes Data Privacy Resolution

Huntonprivacyblog.com informs that on December 28, 2012, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress

(“NPC”) of the People’s Republic of China passed the Resolution of the Standing Committee of the NPC Relating to Strengthening the Protection of Information on the Internet (the “Regulations”). The Regulations contain significant and far-reaching requirements applicable to the collection and processing of electronic personal information via the Internet.

♣ The Regulations begin with two broad statements that, on their face, are not limited to information processing on the Internet:

♠ (1) the State will protect electronic information that can identify individuals and implicate their private affairs, and

♥ (2) no organization or individual may misappropriate or otherwise obtain electronic personal information by unlawful means, or sell or otherwise unlawfully provide it to other persons. The Regulations then set forth a number of requirements that are more specifically directed at Internet service providers (“ISPs”) and other businesses that handle electronic personal information, including:

  • ISPs and other businesses must adopt and comply with rules for their collection and use of electronic personal information, and make the rules publicly known.
  • ISPs and other businesses must clearly state the purpose, means and scope of their collection and use of electronic personal information, and obtain the consent of the data subject for such collection and use.
  • ISPs and other businesses must maintain electronic personal information in strict confidentiality.
  • ISPs and other businesses must not divulge, alter or destroy electronic personal information obtained in the course of their business activities, and may not sell it to other persons.
  • ISPs and other businesses must adopt information security safeguards, and must take immediate remedial measures in the event of a security breach incident.
  • ISPs must report security breach incidents to relevant government agencies.

Read the whole story HERE.

Read more about China’s new data protection law here: China, the newest member in the Data Protection laws global club

CPDP2013 Programme • Wednesday 23 January 2013

13

9.00 Registration

CPDP2013 Panels at Grande Halle

10.00 Welcome and introduction by Paul De Hert (VUB-Tilburg University)

Keynote speech: Françoise Le Bail, Director General DG Justice (EC)

10.30 The European Data Protection Framework Under Review: The Proposed Regulation

hosted by Cécile de Terwangne (CRIDS-Namur University) & Giovanni Buttarelli (EDPS)

panel Jan Philipp Albrecht, Member of the European Parliament – Green (EU), speaker from DPA, speaker from BEUC, speaker from EP, speaker from DG Connect

The panel will present a state of play of the key debates surrounding the proposed data protection regulation, as well as different perspectives on the draft report currently discussed in the European Parliament.

11.45 The European Data Protection Framework Under Review: The Proposed Directive

hosted by Emilio De Capitani (Orientale University – FREE Group) and Diana Alonso Blas (EUROJUST)

panel Dimitrios Droutsas, Member of the European Parliament – S&D (EU), Anne-Christine Lacoste, EDPS (EU), speaker from DPA, speaker from EDRI

The panel will present a state of play of the key debates surrounding the proposed data protection directive, and will provide a wide ranging debate on the key disputed aspects of the proposal.

13.00 Lunch

13.30 BUILDING THE DIGITAL FORTRESS: A TOOLKIT FOR CYBER SECURITY

organised by Sophie In’t Veld (MEP) & CPDP

hosted by Sophie In’t Veld (Member of the European Parliament – ALDE)

panel Axel Arnbak, Bits of Freedom (NL), Bart Jacobs, Radboud University Nijmegen (NL), Troels Oerting, EUROPOL-European Cybercrime Centre (EU), Marc Rotenberg, EPIC (US)

This edition of the Privacy Platform concerns the different dimensions of Cyber Security. Troels Oerting, director of the new Europol Cybercrime Center, and experts Bart Jacobs, Marc Rotenberg and Axel Arnbak will present the offensive and defensive aspects of Cyber Crime.

15.15 Coffee break

15.30 US And Transatlantic Debates: A New Direction For US Online Consumer Rights

co-organised by the Computers, Freedom and Privacy (CFP) and CPDP

hosted by Lillie Coney (EPIC) & Kristina Irion (Central European University)

panel Susan Grant, Consumer Federation of America (US), Peter Swire, Moritz College of Law of Ohio State University (US), Julie Brill, Commissioner FTC (US), John B. Morris, Jr., Associate Administrator (Acting) and Director of Internet Policy (US) [tbc], EU Perspective on Multi-stakeholder Processes [tbc]

This panel on consumer protection will review the post release of the Obama Administration’s white paper “Consumer Data Privacy in a Networked World: A Framework for Protecting Privacy and Promoting Innovation in the Global Digital Economy.” The panel will explore the consequences for consumers should the EU and US fail to reach an agreement on how to best protect online consumers. President Obama’s administration is working to create a new mechanism that involves a multi-stakeholder process managed by the Department of Commerce. The Department of Commerce first multi-stakeholder process, now underway, addresses mobile application transparency. The force of regulation for the work done by the Department of Commerce would come from the Federal Trade Commission.

Key points to be discussed:

  • The US work to create new online consumer privacy protections through expansion of the current sector based approach.
  • Is there an unresolvable US and EU mismatch on how privacy is defined in a digital global economy?
  • How can we measure whether the EU legislative effort and the Obama Administration effort will resolve conflicts in how online consumer privacy will be seamlessly protected?

16.45 US and Transatlantic Debates:Ggovernment and law enforcement use of data (till 18.00)

co-organised by the Computers, Freedom and Privacy (CFP) and CPDP

hosted by Barry Steinhardt, Friends of Privacy (US)

panel Anna Fielder, Privacy International (UK), Bruno Gencarelli, European Commission (EU), Speaker from the US Administration [tbc], Ben Wizner or Jay Stanley, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) (US)

The common understanding is that the US and Europe have very different privacy regimes. But are they really so different on law enforcement and National Security matters? Or is there an emerging ‘transatlantic approach’ that some argue values the interests of the State over personal liberty and jeopardizes fundamental European principles?

A transatlantic panel of government and NGO representatives will discuss:

  • Whether the draft European Privacy Directive tilts too far to law enforcement and the National Security institutions and how does the US view the directive.
  • Whether our privacy can be protected by the overarching agreement on the exchange of personal data that the EU and the US are negotiating;
  • How freely does our personal data flow across the Atlantic and how can European personal data be protected when it is in the hands of American law enforcement and national security agencies?

18.00 Cocktail Offered By The International Association Of Privacy Professionals (IAPP)(till 20.00)

CPDP2013 Panels at Petite Halle

10.15 Coffee break

10.30 Binding Corporate Rules

hosted by Lokke Moerel (De Brauw) & Tanguy Van Overstraeten (Linklaters)

panel Terry McQuay, Nymity (CA), Daniel Pradelles, HP (BE), Florence Raynal (CNIL)

This panel will focus particularly on the following issues:

  • How are BCRs regulated under the Proposed Regulation? What are potential improvements?
  • The latest on BCRs for Processor and Business Corporate Rules
  • Recognition of BCR outside the EEA
  • How do BCRs compare to BCPR under the APEC Privacy rules?
  • Which companies have opted for BCRs and why?
  • Practical experiences of companies when introducing BCRs
  • Discussion of research study on BCRs by HiiL and Nymity showing that companies having introduced BCR have doubled their material data protection compliance

11.45 The Rise and Rise of the Privacy Profession: CPOs Meet DPOs

co-organised by IAPP and CPDP

hosted by Rita Di Antonio (IAPP) & Omer Tene (College of Management School of Law, Rishon Le Zion)

panel Kasey Chapelle, Vodafone (UK), Christoph Klug, CEDPO (DE), Sophie Louveaux, EDPS (EU), Katherine Tassi, Facebook (IE)

The privacy profession has grown from the ground up, not mandated by legislation but rather a response to fundamental business needs.

Personal data have become an increasingly valuable asset class, fueling the new economy and presenting businesses with unprecedented opportunities and challenges.

Privacy and data protection are now board level issues. Management has realised that privacy is distinct from data security and must be dealt with by dedicated individuals who have strategic, policy, compliance and technical competence.

The draft EU Data Protection Regulation is set to mandate the appointment of a data protection officer for businesses that do not yet have one.

This panel will feature some of the leaders of the privacy profession from both sides of the Atlantic. They will discuss the past, present and future of the privacy profession and draw lessons from the experience of U.S. CPOs for EU DPOs, and vice versa.

13.00 Lunch

14.00 Privacy Impact Assessments: Beyond Data Protection

co-organised by EU FP7 projects SAPIENT & PRESCIENT and CPDP

hosted by Raphaël Gellert (VUB) & Roger Clarke (Xamax Consultancy)

panel Bojana Bellamy, Accenture (UK), John Morijn, Ministry of interior (NL), Kjetil Rommetveit, University of Bergen (NO), David Wright, Trilateral Research and Consulting (UK)

Privacy Impact Assessments are definitely high on the EU agenda. After the endorsement of the RFID PIA Framework by the Article Working Party Group and the smart grids PIA Framework, Art. 33 of the EC Proposed General Data Protection Regulation enshrines the tool in the EU data protection legal framework.

This panel envisages tackling the following PIA-related challenges:

  • Integration: Can PIA address other fundamental rights than privacy and data protection (the right not to be discriminated against for instance)? Can these tools also take additional non-legal issues into consideration such as ethical or surveillance issues? Is it possible to integrate such diverse considerations within one single instrument?
  • Implementation: If integrated PIAs are the way forward, what level of complexity can firms of public bodies handle concerning impact assessment? How many impact assessments should be conducted in the course of the preparation of a project? How much time is required to carry out an integrated PIA?
  • Standardisation: Is the current diversity of PIA methodologies something to be welcomed or, on the contrary, a threat to unified, standardised and integrated PIAs ? If the EU adopts a policy or standards on PIA, what are the key elements in an “integrated” PIA?

15.15 Coffee break

15.30 Data Protection Accountabiliy – Who creates the account?

co-organised by the Human Technology Lab at Technical University Berlin, the EU FP7 project SIAM and CPDP

hosted by Leon Hempel (Techniche Universität Berlin) and Carla Ilten (University of Illinois at Chicago)

panel Tobias Bräutigam, Nokia (FI) [tbc], Denis Butin, INRIA (FR), Peter Schaar, Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (DE), Brendan Van Alsenoy, KU Leuven (BE)

The principle of accountability in the context of data protection formulates a way to bridge the gap between theory and practice of data protection. Binding Corporate Rules and Impact Assessments enhance the commitment to and demonstrability of effective data protection measures, but in the end the open question remains: What is and who creates the account that demonstrates effective data protection and makes it visible for the user?

A number of questions emerge from this perspective. For example, how the technology-oriented process can be made transparent and reflexive. How can diverging interests be negotiated along the path of development? How can “Privacy by Design” be advanced to “render an account” as well? How can data protection accountability be implemented within organizations and made visible to the data subjects?

CPDP2013 Health, Privacy and Data Protection Sessions (till 20.15)

16.45 Health Data Processing and the Proposed Regulation on Data Protection (till 18.15)

co-organized by KNMG and CPDP

hosted by Ann-Katrin Habbig (VUB) and Sjaak Nouwt (KNMG)

panel Per Johansson, EDPS (EU), Frank Robben, Crossroads Bank for Social Security, Belgian eHealth-platform (BE), Annabel Seebohm, Deutsche Bundsärztekammer (DE), Kirsten van Gossum (BE)

Since the publication of the Proposal for a General Data Protection Regulation in January 2012, there have been many different opinions on the effectiveness of this new tool and on its impact. One year later we want to draw some first conclusions and discuss the influence that the proposed regulation could have on health data processing.

Whereas a category for sensitive data will remain to exist and also provides for derogations for health data in the future, there are many changes which will impact the processing of health data. There is a concern about the definition of consent, the possible existence of a “significant imbalance” in the doctor-patient relationship, an administrative burden for small clinics as a result of Impact Assessments and data protection officers. New rights, like the right to be forgotten, might change the way how health data have to be handled in future. Currently, many open questions remain and problems like the relationship between the proposed right to be forgotten and the right to have one’s health data erased have to be clarified.

Therefore, it will be discussed which changes can be expected for health data processing and for healthcare professionals if the proposal will be implemented, which advantages and disadvantages this will bring for the privacy of patients and if the proposed regulation responds to the changing needs in health data processing.

To register for the health panels only: click here

18.45 Medical Confidentiality and Privacy (till 20.15)

co-organised by KNMG and CPDP

hosted by Lode Wigersma (Royal Dutch Medical Association) and Tom Goffin (Ordomedic) [tbc]

panel Bernard Maillet, CPME (BE)

Medical confidentiality is one of the essential features of the different professions in healthcare and crucial for the protection of a patient’s privacy and trust in healthcare. Nowadays, however, healthcare professionals are often facing conflicts of medical confidentiality and recent developments in society.

Knowledge of possible child abuse brings doctors in a conflict of interests: protecting confidentiality or preventing physical damage to patients or others? Violent events like rampages in schools, shopping centres and most prominently in the Norwegian capital Oslo and at the island Utoya confront healthcare professionals with the demand to breach medical confidentiality when public safety could be at stake.

Furthermore, technological innovations in healthcare might also challenge medical confidentiality. Never before, it has been so easy to exchange patient data between different actors in healthcare, by means of electronic networks or even by social media. It is therefore important to elaborate to what extent these new ways of data exchange threatens patients’ privacy and conflicts with the traditional understanding of medical confidentiality.

To register for the health panels only: click here

CPDP2013 Workshops at La Cave

10.15 Coffee break

10.30 Data Protection in Financial and Consumers’ Services

hosted by Monique Altheim (The Law Office of Monique Altheim) & Rita Balogh (APCO)

panel Lindsay Cox, Barclaycard (US), Andy Roth, partner at SNR Denton (US), speaker from the European Commission

This panel will examine the effects of big data, mobile and the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) proposal on data protection in the Financial sector.

11.45 From ‘Solidarity’ To The Surveillance Society. Privacy Protection Dilemmas In Poland

hosted by Dr. Wojciech R. Wiewiórowski, Inspector General for the Protection of Personal Data (GIODO) & Dariusz Kloza, VUB-LSTS (BE)

panel Prof. Andrzej Dziech and Dr Piotr Derkacz, AGH University of Science and Technology, INDECT Project (PL), Dr. Arwid Mednis, Wierzbowski Eversheds (PL), Prof. Grażyna Szpor, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw (PL), Katarzyna Szymielewicz, Panoptykon Foundation (PL)

Every year, CPDP puts under the spotlight an EU Member State. This year it is the turn of Poland as 2012 marked the 15th anniversary of constitutional and statutory protection of personal data therein. The new Constitution and the Personal Data Protection Act (both 1997) constitute one of the hallmarks of the democratic change in Poland. This panel will offer a critical analysis on how public authorities use personal data and will focus on surveillance, data retention and data subject’s rights. Special attention will be given to issues such as balancing security and privacy in the (controversial) research project ‘INDECT’ and processing of personal data for religious purposes.

13.00 Lunch

14.00 Gamifying citizenship: behavior, policy and privacy co-organised by JRC-IPTS and CPDP

hosted by Shara Monteleone (JRC-IPTS) and Aaron Martin (OECD)

panel Alessandro Acquisti, Carnegie Mellon University (US), Norberto Andrade, JRC-IPTS (EU), Sebastian Deterding, Hans-Bredow-Institut für Medienforschung (DE), Kevin Werbach, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania (US)

The concept of ‘gamification’ – referring to the use of game elements, designs and strategies to encourage certain desired actions in non-game contexts – is currently all the rage. This panel explores the use of these techniques in policy-making (for example to reduce energy consumption or to ameliorate urban transportation systems), paying special attention to the privacy and reputational risks that may emerge from these applications. The panel will also explore gamification as a mechanism for improving privacy and information security decision making, and in particular the following issues:

  • How can gamification be applied to improve policy outcomes?
  • What are the emergent privacy risks in gamified contexts?
  • How can gamification help to overcome the divergence between the existing legal rules on data protection and the actual behaviour of users?
  • How can we use gamification as a privacy policy tool?

15.15 Coffee break

15.30 What are the key prerequisites for successful self-regulation?

hosted by Nicolas Dubois (DG JUST, European Commission) and Dennis Hirsch (Capital University Law School)

panel Gwendal Le Grand, CNIL (FR), Sarah Spiekermann, Vienna University of Economics and Business (AT), Speaker from EDRi, Speaker from the Vodafone Privacy Team

Is a technology neutral and harmonised legal baseline a prerequisite for successful self-regulation?

16.45 Privacy by design with or without information security?

co-organised by ENISA and CPDP

hosted by Rodica Tirtea (ENISA) & Patrick Van Eecke (DLA Piper)

panel Giuseppe Abbamonte, EC DG CONNECT (EU), Ronny Bjones, Microsoft (BE), Kirsten Bock, EuroPriSe (DE), Frank Dawson, NOKIA (US), Siani Pearson, HP (UK), Melanie Volkamer, CASED, Darmstadt University (DE)

In synergy with regulation, information security technology is expected to play a critical role in enforcing the right for privacy and data protection. In this panel

session we will discuss the role of security in privacy by design and by default. Standardisation and certification issues for security and privacy will be also covered. The focus is on technological means to support privacy and data protection.

Topics to be discussed include:

  • Privacy by default embedded in technology, first examples
  • Certification, accreditation and the use of emblems for enhancing privacy by default
  • The role of standardization in reaching the privacy by design and privacy by default principles
  • New ideas and suggestions for promoting privacy principles in design stage

CPDP2013 side events first day

20.00 Book presentation of ‘LIQUID SURVEILLANCE: A CONVERSATION’ by David Lyon with roundtable discussion @ De Markten

drinks from 19.30

organised by the Living in Surveillance Societies – LiSS-COST Action and LSTS-VUB, and in cooperation with deBuren, De Markten and Polity Press,

hosted by William Webster (University of Stirling/COST-LISS)

panel Didier Bigo, King’s College London (UK), David Lyon, Queen’s University (CA), Ann Rudinow Sætnan, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NO), Stanza, independent artist (UK) [tbc], Kristin Veel, University of Copenhagen (DK)

Surveillance is a product of the modern world and as this world has become liquefied so too has surveillance. Why do people so willingly comply with surveillance and how does this liquidity suck everyone into is stream as participants?

Professor David Lyon, Director of the Surveillance Studies Centre at Queens University, Canada will give a presentation about his new book Liquid Surveillance: A Conversation which he has written together with Zygmunt Bauman (Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Leeds).

The presentation will be followed by a roundtable discussion.

20.20 Pecha Kucha (till 22.20) at La Cave (Les Halles), Rue Royale-Sainte-Marie 22, 1030 Brussels

organised by VUB (LSTS), Crosstalks and Alok Nandi

13 speakers, each speaker has 6 minutes 40 sec. for a presentation in 20 images. Each image is on screen for only 20 seconds. No more, no less.

20 images x 20 seconds each. Tempo, story, tension, show-and-tell. The Brussels format includes designers, architects, artists, scientists, fashion designers, photographers, musicians, and creative entrepreneurs. Many will discuss technology and its implications. Some will not.

registration http://pechakucha.architempo.net/

Milan prosecutor wants jail terms upheld for Google autism video

Reuters.com informs that an Italy prosecutor has asked an appeals court to uphold jail sentences for three Google executives charged with violating the privacy of an Italian boy with autism by letting a video of him being bullied be posted on the site in 2006.

“Not only has the privacy of minors been violated but lessons of cruelty have been given to 5,500 visitors,” Milan prosecutor Laura Bertole Viale said on Tuesday at the appeals hearing.

Four students at a Turin school uploaded a mobile phone clip to Google Video in 2006 showing them bullying the boy. The prosecutors accused Google of negligence, saying the video remained online for two months even though some Web users had already posted comments asking for it to be taken down.

In February 2010, a court gave each of the three Google executives, none of whom were based in Italy, six-month suspended jail sentences.

Senior vice-president and chief legal officer David Drummond, former Google Italy board member George De Los Reyes and global privacy counsel Peter Fleischer did not face actual imprisonment as the sentences were suspended.

Google appealed the ruling which it described at the time as an attack on the fundamental principles of freedom on which the Internet is built.

The company argued it removed the video immediately after being notified and cooperated with Italian authorities to help identify the bullies and bring them to justice.

A verdict is expected on December 21.

(Reporting By Manuela D’Alessandro, writing by Stephen Jewkes, editing by Rosalind Russell)

Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/11/us-google-italy-idUSBRE8BA10R20121211

CNIL criticises proposed regulation for cutting too much of the national DPA's power

In the annual activity report it pubslihed in July, CNIL underlines that the proposed regulation on protection of personal data the European Commission published early in 2012 cuts too much of the national DPA’s power with regard to transnational processing.

HLdataprotection.com reviews the report and writes that the proposed new European regulation drew criticism in the CNIL’s report on three points. First, the CNIL expressed concern that making a single data protection authority responsible for the European-wide activities of an enterprise could result in a significant decrease in the level of protection of individuals. Citing the example of a social network whose main establishment is located in another European member state, the CNIL said it was inappropriate to reduce the role of the French data protection authority (“DPA”) to a simple mailbox to forward complaints to the principal DPA responsible for the social network’s activities. According to the CNIL, a French user who is harmed by the activities of an enterprise doing business in France should be able to look to the French regulator for redress.

The second point on which the CNIL diverges from the Commission is on the issue on international data transfers. The CNIL believes that transfers to countries that have not been recognised as providing adequate protection should be based on contractual clauses or BCRs that have been approved in advance by the CNIL. Under the proposed regulation, an international transfer based on standard contractual clauses will not require the prior approval of the DPA.

Finally, the CNIL made the point that the new accountability measures included in the draft regulation should not be viewed as a form of self-regulation, or as a trade-off for less regulatory supervision. Instead, the accountability measures should be viewed as a supplement to existing regulatory principles and enforcement practices.

You can find CNIL’s report here: http://www.cnil.fr/fileadmin/documents/La_CNIL/publications/RA2011_CNIL_FR.pdf

You can also find the rest of the HLdataprotection.com’s review HERE

Reuters: Spain refers Google privacy complaints to EU's top court

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.

Read the rest of the story HERE and HERE.