Challenges to EU ‘right to be forgotten’ Implementation

25 July 2014 Internet, IT & e-Discovery Blog Blog
Author(s): Peter Vogel

Approximately “91,000 requests” to be forgotten have been submitted to Google since the May 2014 EU European Court of Justice ruling which has led to “a total of 328,000 links that applicants wanted taken down” according to a BBC news report.   The report went to say that Google’s ‘right to be forgotten’ statistics so far are:

  • Approved more than 50% of the requests
  • Asked for more information in about 15% of the cases
  • Rejected more than 30% of the applications

Critics of Google include the Index on Censorship which has written to the EU Article 29 Working Party (A29WP) with urgency to:

  • issue detailed guidance on the types of information that can be considered “irrelevant” by search engines. Simply asking search engines to have a due regard to information that is “in the public interest” is insufficient guidance;
  • detail an appropriate mechanism of oversight to ensure that it is possible for data protection or other relevant national and European authorities to examine any search engines’ decision on a Right to be Forgotten request;
  • include an appeals mechanism that allows publishers of content who have had links removed to be able to challenge that decision. Index understands the need to balance privacy rights with rights to information and freedom of expression rights. However, we are concerned that the recent actions of the ECJ and data protection authorities has failed to sufficiently taken into account the latter, and we would urge greater consultation with civil society groups on the implementation of this ruling and in the development of future data protection guidelines to ensure that that these rights are protected.

Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo are meeting with the EU A29WP, “which brings together data protection authorities from across the EU” trying to get clarity about implementing the ‘right to be forgotten’ ruling as reported by Computerworld.

Implementation of the ‘right to be forgotten’ was provided it the May 2014 ruling by the EU Court, so how this will work out will be interesting to watch.

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