A lot has happened since the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) ruling against Google on the right to be forgotten last month.
Google introduces right to be forgotten form
EU residents can use Google’s new right to be forgotten form to request removal of links on Google to information about them that is either inaccurate, out of data or inappropriate.
Google has already received 50,000 requests since launching the form at the end of May, and has set up an advisory board to evaluate requests and ensure that the right to be forgotten is balanced against the public interest and freedom of expression.
This is a good move by Goggle as it shows national data protection authorities that it is making an effort to comply with the ruling. Other search engine providers will need to now consider whether to follow Google’s example.
ICO takes a pragmatic approach to right to be forgotten ruling
In a blog entry the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) stressed that it would not be ”ruling on any complaints until search engine providers have had a reasonable time to put their systems in place and start considering requests”.
The ICO also says that once the grace period is over, it will focus on complaints from individuals where they can demonstrate that the links on search engine providers to information about them causes them damage and distress.
What the ruling means for search engine providers operating in Europe
Although the case was about Google Spain, the ECJ’s decision related to the 1995 European Data Protection Directive. The decision is therefore relevant to all countries within the European Economic Area (27 member states of the EU plus Iceland Lichtenstein and Norway – EEA).
It is no surprise therefore that when the European national data protection authorities met as the Article 29 working Party this month they discussed guidelines as to how the case should be interpreted in all EEA countries. It is anticipated that the Article 29 Working Party will release the guidelines in the autumn.
What it means for draft Data Protection Regulation negotiations
The European Commission produced a paper on the case in which it welcomes the judgement and says that it strengthens the case the for the need for a new Data Protection Regulation.
There is some merit in this argument otherwise the ECJ will continue to fill in the gaps in interpreting the 1995 Directive for the digital age. There is also the counter argument that the case shows that the 1995 Directive is working well and that there is no need for a new right to be forgotten clause in the draft Regulation.
By DMA blogger James Milligan, Solicitor, DMA