The Free Internet Project

Right To Be Forgotten

Google appeals Mexico's right to be forgotten decision in favor of Carlos Sánchez de la Peña related to family business dealings

According to the Wall Street Journal, Google is appealing of January 2015 decision of Mexico’s Federal Institute for the Access to Information, which ruled in favor of Carlos Sánchez de la Peña in his "right to be forgotten request" to have Google remove links to three articles (from searches of his name) that describe Moreira's father's business dealings and Mexico's bailout of several bad loans. IFAL didn't find that the public interest served by retaining the links to the news articles and ordered Google to remove the links from searches of Sánchez de la Peña 's name. According to the Wall Street Journal, "The most prominent of the links is to a 2007 article in the local magazine Fortuna about a lawsuit against Mr. Sánchez’s de la Peña’s late father, Salvador Sánchez Alcántara, by shareholders in the bus company Estrella Blanca. Mr. Sánchez de la Peña is named in the story." Moreover, "IFAI commissioners argued that Mr. Sánchez de la Peña met the privacy-law requirement that allows for the removal of information when its “persistence causes injury” even if the information was lawfully published."

Google wins first appeal of right to be forgotten rejection in Finland

After Google decides whether to accept or reject a right to be forgotten removal request from a person in the European Union, the claimant can appeal any adverse decision to the national data protection authority.  Finland just reported its first appeal.  Finnish Data Protection Ombudsman Reijo Aarnio agreed with Google's decision to reject a businessman's attempt to remove links to articles about his past business mistakes.

The Right to Be Forgotten -- explained

The right to be forgotten is a fundamental right recognized in the European Union. The Court of Justice of the European Union interpreted Article 12(b) of the EU Data Protection Directive to include a right for people in the EU to request from Google and other search engines the delisting of links to articles from searches of their names if the articles are

  • "inadequate, irrelevant or excessive in relation to the purposes of the processing,"
  • "not kept up to date, or … kept for longer than is necessary."

​For example, at the request of a woman in Italy, Google removed links to "a decades-old article about her husband’s murder, which included her name."

Google tells EU regulators of problems in implementing "right to be forgotten" requests

After losing a landmark decision before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in May 2014 (Google Spain v. Costeja, C-131/12), Google has begun enforcing the controversial EU right to be forgotten.  Under the right that is recognized in EU countries, people in the EU may request search engines such as Google to remove links to web pages describing them (presumably in an unflattering way) after a certain period of time.  For example, imagine that a Google search for your name resulted in the first entry being an old article about your arrest for drunk driving as a teenager.  Since the decision, Google has received over 90,000 requests from Europeans to remove links from search terms involving people's names.


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