Photo illustration by Aurich Lawson
The European Union’s highest court, the European Court of Justice (ECJ), ruled on Tuesday that Internet search engines like Google must erase links related to webpages in certain cases where the information contained is deemed “inadequate” or “irrelevant,” according to a press release issued by the ECJ.
In the matter before the Luxembourg-based ECJ, an attorney named Mario Costeja González previously filed a complaint with the Spanish Data Protection Agency claiming that his privacy rights had been violated. Specifically, Gonzalez was displeased that entering his name in Google’s search engine drew results including a legal notice dating back to a 1998 story on his forced property sale to satisfy mounting personal debt.
After both the publication in question and Google refused to take down the information, González brought a claim alleging that his privacy rights were being violated according to the European Commission’s Directive on Data Protection, which guarantees a right to be forgotten in cases where information is incomplete or inaccurate.
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