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EU orders Google to grant right to be forgotten
A top EU has ordered internet search engine Google to suppress personal data on demand in a judgement that allows any European citizen the right to be forgotten.
The highest authority on European legislation ruled in favour of Mario Costeja Gonzalez, whose request to have the right to disappear from Google's search results was rejected by the American company.
The plaintiff, who was involved in a debt recovery operation several years ago, obected to the fact that an article of the online version of a Spanish paper kept appearing on Google searches for his name.
Spain’s data protection agency found that the newspaper was not at fault since the information published was correct at the time.
It then upheld the complaint against Google, ordering them to delete the piece from the search results.
An appeal from the US company brought Spain to ask for guidance from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on the matter.
Creating a precedent, this ruling allows any EU citizen the right “to be forgotten” when their personal data “appears to be inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant”.
"This is a disappointing ruling for search engines and online publishers in general,” Google said in a statement.
Last year ECJ Advocate General Niilo Jaaskinen said that Google was not responsible for the data carried by websites shown as the result of a search through its search engine.
In 2012 European Justice Commissioner Vivane Reding argued that current regulations regarding data protection were inadequate and suggested the “right to be forgotten” should be included in EU legislation.