European Union adviser sides with Google on 'right to be forgotten' dispute

Google chief executive Sundar Pichai

Google chief executive Sundar Pichai

That's the recommendation of a top legal advisor to the EU's Court of Justice.

Szpunar advised the court to rule in Google's favor in this case, though he said he "does not rule out the possibility that, in certain situations, a search engine operator may be required to take de-referencing actions at the worldwide level".

The French data watchdog had gone to the European Court of Justice to establish whether it could force companies such as Google to de-list search results across the world under the right to be forgotten (RTBF) law. Google and other technology advocates rebutted that allowing the law's scope to expand globally would allow repressive regimes to essentially erase all dissenting online content about them around the world.

France's CNIL data protection authority said it noted the opinion and restated its view that the right to privacy should apply regardless of the geographical origin of the person doing an internet search.

European Court of Justice judges typically follow the advice of the advocate general, usually within two to four months, although they are not bound to do so.

They should accede, as a matter of course, to de-referencing requests, said Szpunar.

The U.S. company has been asked to delete links to 2.9 million websites, after the European Union court effectively put the search engine in charge of deciding what requests to accept.

If it was allowed, "the European Union authorities would not be able to define and determine a right to receive information, let alone balance it against the other fundamental rights to data protection and to privacy", a summary (PDF) of the decision said.

Lenovo leads PC shipments for 4Q18 and for the year overall
Due to processor shortages and the trade war with China, shipments declined during the last quarter and across the whole of 2018. The big hit, apparently, came from a shortage of processor chips, Gartner senior principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa said.

The advocate general on Thursday in that case said that for requests concerning sensitive data, search engine operators "must weigh up, on the one hand, the right to respect for private life" and data protection rights, and "on the other hand, the right of the public to access the information concerned" and the freedom of expression.

The Alphabet Inc. unit now removes such links EU-wide and since 2016 it also restricts access to such information on non-EU Google sites when accessed from the EU country where the person concerned by the information is located - referred to as geo-blocking.

"European data regulators should not be able to determine the search results that internet users around the world get to see".

"We hope that the CJEU will follow Szpunar's opinion when it issues its judgment in this case later this year", said Thomas Hughes, the executive director of anti-censorship organization Article 19.

This is made even more hard to weigh up as the public interest in accessing information will vary from one non-EU country to another, and global delisting would prevent people in those states from accessing information.

This case involves the CNIL's refusal to order the removal of links found in searches using individuals' names.

The Right To Be Forgotten applies to a search result that is deemed "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive" and - as of 10 January 2019 - Google had delisted 1.1 million URLs, approving about 44 per cent of requests.

Recommended News

  • Virgin Atlantic consortium agrees to buy Flybe

    Virgin Atlantic consortium agrees to buy Flybe

    Stobart Aviation owns 30pc and Virgin Travel Group, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Virgin Atlantic, owns the remainder. Virgin Atlantic and Stobart Group have confirmed an agreement to purchase struggling regional carrier Flybe.
    Air Traffic Controllers Sue Trump Over Shutdown

    Air Traffic Controllers Sue Trump Over Shutdown

    Lauri says she has a little money saved up, but worries about many of her coworkers who were living paycheck to paycheck before the shutdown.
    Three Apple iPhone coming this year with triple camera setup

    Three Apple iPhone coming this year with triple camera setup

    Apple reportedly plans to introduce three iPhone models this year, including a follow-up to the company's much debated iPhone XR .
  • Mike Priefer departs as Vikings' special teams coordinator, will join Browns

    Mike Priefer departs as Vikings' special teams coordinator, will join Browns

    That announcement is coming, eventually, and Kitchens has been working since Wednesday as the head coach. As of Friday afternoon, the Browns still had not officially announced Freddie Kitchens as head coach.
    Gary Kubiak will not be Broncos' offensive coordinator in 2019

    Gary Kubiak will not be Broncos' offensive coordinator in 2019

    "After lengthy discussions, Denver and Kubiak had different ideas on staffing and offensive philosophies". Gary Kubiak will not be the Denver Broncos' offensive coordinator, according to multiple sources.

    Elon Musk shares the first proper image of his massive rocket

    This is a prototype version, nicknamed the " Hopper ", that has been assembled at the SpaceX launch site in Texas. Reflecting on the design on Twitter (where else?), Musk commented that it "must be more pointy".
  • Digital bank raises $300m as it plans assault on USA market

    N26 is aiming to build the first global mobile bank, targetting to reach over 100 million customers in coming years. The start-up is planning to launch in the USA with a mobile banking app in the first half of this year.
    FDA inspections have stopped, thanks to government shutdown

    FDA inspections have stopped, thanks to government shutdown

    As you probably recall, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA ) is part of the US federal government. The agency pays for medical manufacturing and food safety inspections out of its own budget.
    Bengals targeting Rams' Taylor as next head coach

    Bengals targeting Rams' Taylor as next head coach

    In Cleveland, Freddie Kitchens has been promoted to head coach after taking over the offense as an interim offensive coordinator. Taylor also represents a more overarching trend in the National Football League : hiring young, offensive-minded head coaches.
  • China Trade Talks Restart Ahead of March Deadline

    China Trade Talks Restart Ahead of March Deadline

    Last year, the United States imposed tariff hikes of up to 25 per cent on Dollars 250 billion of Chinese goods. Companies in both countries just want to see a deal get done. -China Business Council said in a statement.
    Macedonian parliament agrees to change country's name as agreed with Greece

    Macedonian parliament agrees to change country's name as agreed with Greece

    Several hundred people have protested against the deal in front of parliament over the past three days. Ethnic Albanians make up about a quarter of Macedonia's 2.1 million people.
    Ravens Hire Greg Roman As Offensive Coordinator

    Ravens Hire Greg Roman As Offensive Coordinator

    When defenses began to shut down that strategy, Mornhinweg kept with it, with terrible results. With Roman's promotion came Mornhinweg's departure, which was by his choosing.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.