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Google says that it will remove search engine results following ECJ judgment

Further to the ruling of the European Court of Justice on 13 May 2014 in Google Spain SL, Google Inc. v Agencia Espanola de Proteccion de Datos (AEPD) and Mario Costeja Gonzalez (Case C-131/12) (see our article here for more information), Google has announced that it will implement a procedure to filter out irrelevant and outdated search engine results.

The landmark judgment in Google Spain SL, Google Inc. v Agencia Espanola de Proteccion de Datos (AEPD) and Mario Costeja Gonzalez held that search engine providers, such as Google, can be data controllers under the Data Protection Directive.  They, therefore, have a responsibility for the information that appears when a search is conducted and the results retrieved.

Google has said that the decisions to remove data from the search engine will be taken by people rather than by its usual algorithms.  It will evaluate the requests to balance any public interest in the information remaining visible.  It has said that it will look at information regarding ‘financial scams, professional malpractice, criminal convictions or public conduct of government officials’ when making a decision.  The ‘right to be forgotten’ is likely to be more persuasive where there is little or no public interest in the data or where the information is outdated.   

Europe’s data regulators are meeting on 3 and 4 June to discuss the mechanism for handling appeals relating to ‘right to be forgotten’ requests.

In order to fend off fraudulent requests, Google will require individuals or their lawyers to provide proof of identity when submitting their request for removal.  

Removals are likely to start taking place in mid-June.  

Click here for information on how Brett Wilson LLP can assist you in  seeking the removal of outdated search engine results.


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Articles are intended as an introduction to the topic and do not constitute legal advice.