Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), on Tuesday, faced a panel of 15 judges at the European Union’s Court of Justice over its ongoing EU data control lawsuit. Google, which is currently under threat of receiving coordinated repressive action from the EU, –as we reported– said it shouldn’t be pushed to remove content from its search engine that was lawfully published elsewhere. This statement was issued by Google lawyer, Francisco Diaz, in an address to the 15-judge panel.
Diaz argued that Google was not a controller of data, but a mere intermediary in relation to the data it indexes. He further contended that direct requests for personal information to be scrapped off the search engine, regardless of whether it was put online by a newspaper, “would amount to censorship”. In addition, Diaz noted that such an action would present a fundamental shift in responsibility from the publisher to the search engine.
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s case was fuelled by Spanish data protection authorities, who on 200 separate instances, ordered Google to pull down information on people. The information relating to today’s case revolves around a Spanish man who lost his house to auctioneers following his failure to pay taxes. This information is available on Google search despite the fact that it was published in 1998, fifteen years ago, by Spanish Newspaper La Vanguardia.
Information potentially damaging to victims
Joaquin Rodriguez, the Spanish man’s lawyer, insists that the man’s case, like many other similar cases, causes grave harm to the involved individuals. Rodriguez argues that Google should take liability for the case, saying that the tech titan allows quick and easy access to information that wasn’t easily found on the internet before. “The information is tracked and ordered by Google and contains, to a very large extent, personal data,” he said.
In a blog post penned by Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), the tech titan has come out to say that people should not be restricted access to information relating to a politician’s corruption or a doctor’s malpractice. In essence, Google believes that people should be granted access to information relating to valid legal materials. Similarly, it argues that publishers should bear responsibility and not the search engine itself.
The big question stalking the whole privacy dispute is whether or not search engines should be obliged to remove links to valid legal material.