Europe acknowledges the right to be forgotten online

It began in Spain. A man asked Internet erased information on the auction of their property for unpaid taxes in 1998, and the case ended in a European court which first requires respecting the “right to be forgotten” by a user in internet. This statement is important because the European Union recognizes that Google should cater to requests from users requesting deletion of files that adversely affect them.

Google said the court, is responsible for storing, indexing and therefore process information, so it is responsible for the content displayed in the browser. And with this precedent, is expected to soon begin to pour thousands of similar requests from users, which is cause for alarm among those who, like Google, consider that this would infringe on the right to information in the network.


To what extent this can be also used by politicians and corporations to avoid public interest information is disseminated?

The truth is that European justice was very clear about it. Such requests will only be accepted in view of the nature of the information in question, how it affects the user’s privacy and the public interest to have this information, an interest which may vary.

In this case, the request was made Mario Costeja González, who in 2010 filed a complaint with the Spanish Data Protection Agency because every time we looked Google his name appeared in articles published in the Barcelona newspaper La Vanguardia about the auction of one of their property in 1998 for nonpayment of taxes.

The debt was solved, so the content was not only valid, but not negatively affects the reputation of Costeja. The agency asked Google to withdraw the information seeker, but as in many of these cases, the search giant refused, saying he has no control over personal data, which only provides information available online, and the company should not be forced to act as censor.


It is true that the form does not have full control over the data broadcast on the network, although indexing their work contributes greatly to the presence in these files have intenet.

Once online, the data bounce, replicate and are stored on servers around the world, so wipe them all can be quite a chore. The sticking point is the right to be forgotten about having committed a crime. Do you have right to forget someone who committed a crime or violated many years?- said computer law attorney, Fernando Tomeo.

Companies engaged in cleaning the reputation of their clients on the network often use techniques ranging from manipulating the order in which files appear in a search engine, manage networks and even, in extreme cases, create new content for the data desired reduction in the search list.

And ultimately, these cleaners have reputations lawsuits in search engines like Google, social networks like Facebook to withdraw the contents. Still, it is possible that some information remains engraved silver lining somewhere in cyberspace waiting revive anytime.


Obliging Google to act as moderator may not be a permanent solution, but it certainly could have an impact on the lives of those whose reputation has been affected in cyberspace. According to computer law attorney, Fernando Tomeo, the decision of the court of the EU could have a global impact, or at least in Latin America.

On May 21 next, for example, the Argentina Supreme Court will have to decide on the case of the model Belen Rodriguez, who sued Google for that search your name is linked to the pages with pornographic content.

“The issue is being debated at the lack of a special law applicable to Internet search engines”, Tomeo told BBC, “whereby the ruling in the EU is linked to this type of case in which it comes into play the reputation of a person and their right to forget your past”.

“For me the sticking point is the right to be forgotten of having committed a crime. Having right to forget someone who committed a crime or violated many years?”


The European ruling comes at a time when Google still weathers the storm unleashed by former CIA analyst, Edward Snowden. He contributed slides revealed a program known as PRISM, through which authorized the National Security Agency (NSA) of the United States to access data stored in a retrieval system for large companies like Microsoft, AOL, Skype, Google, Apple and Facebook. Data including photos, files, chat conversations and e-mails of civilians.


Google has flatly denied these accusations, but many believe that these events have affected your reputation especially in regard to how the company sees what freedom of information on the net is. Somehow, with this ruling, saying that Europe is the limit to freedom of information is definitely all information that does not concern anyone but the user.

However, taking into account the nature of the internet, perhaps it would be better advice for both Google and users: to protect your reputation in the network, it is best to exercise caution when delivering private information to third parties.


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