Case C-131/12 Google right to be forgotten case 
Case C-131/12 Google Spain v AEPD (Google right to be forgotten case) 
- A Spanish citizen has been involed in a tax dispute in the 1990’s, which an only newspaper had published a story about at the time
- Whenever the citizen searched for himself on the Google search engine, that article was surfaced, to his objection given that he had been cleared of any charges
- Could Google be required to remove the link to the newspaper’s website, irrespective of the fact that it was a lawfully published website page?
- Irrespective of where Google’s databases were stored (not in EU countries), as Google had a subsidiary (Google Spain) dedicated to advertising, Google Inc was bought into the jurisdiction of EU law
- Search engines are clearly processors of data under the 1995 Data Protection Directive
- Under that same directive, Google was also a data controller – a controller of personal data
- As a result, EU citizens have a right to be forgotten against search engines such as Google, such that links could be removed where information held by a search engine is inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant or excessive
- The above test is a question of fact, to be balanced on a case by case basis amongst other competing rights
- This case neatly illustrates a political, not lawful, decision
- It firstly strings together a series of tenuous links: jurisdiction->data processor->data controller->right to be forgotten (see Advocate General’s opinion, which established that Google was not even a data controller)
- Secondly, the case fails to deal with Google’s right to freedom of speech and freedom of establishment
Posted in EU Law Revision Notes.
This page was last updated on 30th April 2015