The Free Internet Project

Right To Be Forgotten

Tokyo High Court rejects right to be forgotten claim

The Tokyo High Court reversed a district court decision that recognized a person's "right to be forgotten" to request removal of search results from a Google search of the person's name.  The Saitama District Court had recognized such a right in June 2015 for a person who had been arrested for involvement in child prostitution and pornography related crimes more than five years ago.  The Tokyo High Court found no basis in Japan's law for a right to be forgotten.

France rejects Google's tech solution and fines it 100,000 Euros for not applying right to be forgotten globally

Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertes (CNIL), France's data protection authority, imposed a fine of 100,000 Euros on Google for not removing links to articles across all Google websites for successful right to be forgotten requests.  As a compromise position, Google said it would apply removals to all Google sites if the user of Google was located in an EU country.  CNIL, however, rejected Google's approach on the ground that a person's right to privacy cannot depend on the "geographic origin of those viewing the search results.  Only delisting on all of the search engine's extensions, regardless of the extension used or the geographic origin of the person performing the search, can effectively uphold this right."

Google disagreed with CNIL's decision and plans on appealing it to French courts.  Al Verney, Google's spokesman, said, "As a matter of principle, we disagree with the CNIL’s assertion that it has the authority to control the content that people can access outside France, and we plan to appeal their ruling."

Google Concedes to French Authorities--Will Apply RTBF Removals to Google.com in EU

Reuters is reporting that Google is apparently acquiescing to the demands of the French data protection authorities for Google to remove links on meritiorious right to be forgotten requests on all of Google's sites, including Google.com if accessed by a person in the EU.  Reuters says: "To address the concerns of European authorities, the Internet giant will soon start polishing search results across all its websites when someone conducts a search from the country where the removal request originated, a person close to the company said." 

If this report is accurate, it marks a dramatic change in position by Google that is more protective of the right to be forgotten.   It is not clear if Google will also be foregoing an appeal of the French authorities' decision.  

Russia's new Right to Be Forgotten law goes into effect in 2016

On Jan. 1, 2016, Russia's new "right to be forgotten" (RTBF) law went into effect.  The law is similar to the EU right to be forgotten, which requires search engines to remove links to web postings from searches of a person's name if the postings are old, false, or no longer relevant.  Russia's law, however, does not allow removals of criminal convictions even if the terms of prison or punishment have been served. By contrast, the EU allows removals of links based on criminal convictions if, e.g., the country recognizes the expungement of the criminal record upon completion of the punishment.  Russia's law is also different from the EU law in that Russia's law specifically sets a time period of 3 to 10 days for the search engine to respond to a RTBF request made by a person.

Colombian Supreme Court recognizes right to be forgotten

On Aug. 31, 2015, the Colombian Supreme Court issued an important decision that recognizes a right to be forgotten for criminal defendants who have completed their sentences. Search engines are obligated to remove information related to the crime from searches of the person's name if the person has completed the punishment rendered.  (More here.)

Google refuses to comply with France CNIL's order to extend removal for RTBF to all Google sites globally

Peter Fleischer, Google's Global Privacy Counselor, wrote on the Google Policy Blog its reason for refusing to comply with France's data protection authority's (CNIL order to extend the removal of links for successful right to be forgotten requests to all of Google, and not just the European sites.

Russia enacts right to be forgotten law

Russian Premier Vladimir Putin signed a new "right to be forgotten" law, which becomes effective Jan. 1, 2016 in Russia. People in Russia have a right to request search engines to remove links to stories generated by a search of their names if the information (1) violates Russian law, (2) is false, or (3) “become outdated due to later events or actions of the individual.”  Excluded from such requests are criminal activity for which the statute of limitations has not expired and convictions for which the punishment has been completed or removed. Unlike the EU right to be forgotten, the Russian law sets forth a time frame of 10 days for search engines to respond to a person's RTBF request.  If the search engines fails to respond within 10 days, the person can seek a court order.  [More from Global Voices and the Runet]

Google recognizes a private right to be forgotten for victims of revenge porn

June 19, 2015.  Google announced today it is recognizing what amounts to a private right to be forgotten for victims of revenge porn.  Revenge porn involves the publishing of nude photos of people without their consent, typically by ex-significant others who would like "revenge" against their former lovers.  Even though there is no legal right to be forgotten in the United States, Google has effectively recognized a private right to be forgotten as a matter of its own code of conduct or policy.

Russia closer to passing right to be forgotten law

Russia's Duma voted in favor of a bill recognizing a right to be forgotten in Russia, by a 423 in favor and 1 against.  If enacted, the law would give people the right to request search engines to remove links to articles containing personal information about them that is erroneous or false. If the bill is finally passed, it would go into effect in Jan. 2016. Critics fear the law would enable politicians and others to censor truthful information about them. [via Global Voices, June 16, 2015]

Russia considers new right to be forgotten law

Russia is considering enacting a new law that recognizes a right to be forgotten in Russia, similar to the EU right to be forgotten. According to the Russia Insider, the Russian RTBF could be invoked if the information in the article is “misleading or distributed in violation of the law."  Russian presidential aide Igor Shchyogolev reportedly is pushing for the enactment of the law. Critics fear that a RTBF law will be used by the Russian government to further its censorship of the Internet, however, especially given that the proposed RTBF law would be enforced by the state communications regulator Roskomnadzor, which already has power to order the blocking of websites.

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