I took this from Panopticon Blog concerning the outcome of the Google order. Now what if the rights of the Swedish citizen was to be escalated to the EU courts, would the outcome be the same?

“The first question for the CJEU was whether Google was a data controller for the purposes of Directive 95/46. Going against the opinion of the Advocate General (see earlier post), the Court held that the collation, retrieval, storage, organisation and disclosure of data undertaken by a search engine when a search is performed amounted to “processing” within the meaning of the Directive; and that as Google determined the purpose and means of that processing, it was indeed the controller. This is so regardless of the fact that such data is already published on the internet and is not altered by Google in any way.

The Court went on to find that the activity of search engines makes it easy for any internet user to obtain a structured overview of the information available about an individual thereby enabling them to establish a detailed profile of that person involving a vast number of aspects of his private life. This entails a significant interference with rights to privacy and to data protection, which could not be justified by the economic interests of the search engine operator. In a further remark that will send shockwaves through many commercial operators providing search services, it was said that as a “general rule” the data subject’s rights in this regard will override “not only the economic interest of the operator of the search engine but also the interest of the general public in finding that information upon a search relating to the data subject’s name” (at paras 81 and 97).”

Google officesI love this, the EU Court has confirmed that we have the right to be forgotten. Google and other internet search engines face a new world where they must remove links to websites containing certain types of personal data when individuals ask them to do so. The European Union says you have “a right to be forgotten” digitally online. This is great news for every citizen of the EU, including our children!

Read more in English and Swedish.

Wow, Germany courts have done it again! They are so good at protecting the personal privacy of their citizens! Read on, it connects to an individual’s ‘right to be forgotten’.

Google have been been over-ruled concerning how the ‘autocomplete’ function in the search dialog works. Basically this is generated by what other users have been searching for. The reason why this has become a case for personal integrity, and also a person’s reputation is because words associated with a particular person, either by rumor or otherwise, and thus searched by users impacts that person’s reputation.

The case in question was when the complainants’ names were typed into Google’s search bar, the autocomplete function added the ensuing words “Scientology” and “fraud”.The continuing association of their names with these terms infringed their rights to personality and reputation as protected by German law (Articles 823(1) and 1004 of the German Civil Code).

What does this mean for Google? Well once Google has been alerted to the fact that an autocomplete suggestion links someone to libellous words, it must remove that suggestion.

According to Panopticon blog this German ruling is extending the “frontiers of legal protection for personal integrity and how we allocate responsibility for harm. Google says that, in these contexts, it is a facilitator not a generator. It says it should not liable for what people write (scroll down to “Google and the ‘right to be forgotten’” here, in Spain a previous case), not for what they search for (the recent German case). Not for the first time, courts in Europe have allocated responsibility differently.”