Internet search engine giant Google must obey new rules in Europe
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
5/14/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Almost an omniscient presence in the United States, it now appears that Internet search engine giant Google will have to play by a different set of rules in Europe. Under a new ruling, the search engine must abide by agreements to take down links to news articles, court judgments and other documents in search results.
Internet search engine now must abide by Europe's "right to be forgotten" law when it comes to links.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to a surprise decision in the European Court of Justice, Google can now be forced to erase links to content about individuals on the Web. The decision comes as a big surprise which could disrupt search-engine operators and shift the balance between online privacy and free speech across Europe.
The new ruling says that individuals can request that search engines remove links to news articles, court judgments and other documents in search results for their name. National authorities can also force the search engines to comply if they judge there isn't a sufficient public interest in the information, the court ruled.
The ruling doesn't trigger any specific new enforcement, but it does set a strong legal precedent across the European Union.
The European Court of Justice's decision represents the strongest legal backing of what is often called the "right to be forgotten." The law stems from a 19th-century French and German legal protection that once permitted honor-based dueling. The concept remains unfamiliar to most Americans. The decision marks a major boost for proponents of what is often called a "right to be forgotten."
Those who bolster the "right to be forgotten" argue that individuals should be able to force the removal from the Internet of information that is old or irrelevant, and could be deemed to infringe on their right to privacy.
Opponents say that the ruling could lead to a massive wave of takedown requests that would swamp companies and privacy regulators with legal costs -- while possibly whitewashing the public record.
Richard Cumbley, information-management and data-protection partner at U.K. law firm Linklaters says that the decision "makes grim reading for Google and will delight privacy advocates in the E.U."
The new ruling comes as a surprise reaction considering a ruling last year that search engines like Google shouldn't be responsible for personal data that they turn up when crawling the Web for information.
The EU's Court of Justice has ruled that Google must listen, and sometimes comply, when individuals ask for links to articles or Web sites to be removed.
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