Spanish Court Asks CJEU on Right to Be Forgotten in Search Engine

Huťko´s friend Miquel Peguera reports on his blog that a Spanish court, the Audiencia Nacional, just referred several very interesting questions in regard to application of a right to be forgotten in Google´s search results under the current European data protection laws. CJEU number Google Spain and Google C-131/12. He reports:
The issue is in essence whether individuals have the right to oblige search engines to erase or block search results that point to personal information. The Court making the referral is the Audiencia Nacional. Some 130 cases are pending before it, in which Google is appealing injunctions issued by the Spanish Data Protection Authority against the search engine. The specific case considered in the referral relates to an official notice of foreclosure, derived from an outstanding debt with the Social Security, which appeared in La Vanguardia (a Catalan newspaper) in January 19, 1998. The debt was later on paid by the debtor and the foreclosure never took place. However, if you type the name of the concerned person on Google, the first result links to the page of the newspaper’s archive showing that old notice of foreclosure.
Prof. Peguera translated also all the referred questions, so if your Spanish is not good enough, you can consult them here. Among others, referring court asks:
(i) Whether the functions of a search engine fall under the notion of “processing of personal data“ and “data controller”.
(ii) Whether the Directive allows the data subject to prevent search engines from indexing personal information of her, on the basis that she doesn’t want this information to be known by Internet users.

As prof. Peguera says “The referral is certainly timely and interesting, not just for Spain but for all Member States.” Huťko can not agree more.

1 Comment

  1. Anonymous

    I am curious how CJEU will decide this milestone case. I think we need more light to answer the question how much can individual rely on his right to be forgotten and how companies should deal with it…

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