BRUSSELS May 13 People can ask Google
to delete sensitive information from its Internet search
results, Europe's top court said on Tuesday.
The case underlines the battle between advocates of free
expression and supporters of privacy rights, who say people
should have the "right to be forgotten" meaning that they should
be able to remove their digital traces from the Internet.
The ruling by the Luxembourg-based European Union Court of
Justice (ECJ) came after a Spanish man complained to the Spanish
data protection agency that an auction notice of his repossessed
home on Google's search results infringed his privacy.
The case is one of 180 similar cases in Spain whose
complainants want Google to delete their personal information
from the Web. The company says forcing it to remove such data
amounts to censorship.
"If, following a search made on the basis of a person's
name, the list of results displays a link to a web page which
contains information on the person in question, that data
subject may approach the operator directly and, where the
operator does not grant his request, bring the matter before the
competent authorities in order to obtain, under certain
conditions, the removal of that link from the list of results,"
the judges said.
"An Internet search engine operator is responsible for the
processing that it carries out of personal data which appear on
web pages published by third parties," they said.
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee)