Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has been ordered by the highest court in the European Union to allow its users to delete some links about themselves, such as links to legal records. Google might not be happy with the decision taken by the court of Justice in Luxemberg, as the company is adamant over its position of not allowing users to delete the links they requested.
Push for tougher laws
The European Union is determined to craft stricter privacy laws, some of which under negotiation with lawmakers include the so-called “right to be forgotten” or “erasure” as it is termed in the draft legislation. The new legislation also takes into its ambit companies such as Facebook. Judgment taken was based on a data protection law from 1995 that contains the rights of an object that is related to processing of personal information and to demand its erasure in certain situations.
In the court’s view, companies such as Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) should allow their online users to be “forgotten” after a definite time has passed, enabling them to delete the links to web pages, “unless there are particular reasons, such as the role played by the data subject in public life, justifying a preponderant interest of the public.”
The court was seen supporting the strict approach of privacy protection in Europe in the digital age, saying that the consequences of the interference with the right of a person have increased with the increased penetration of internet and search engines in modern society. Companies that support this interference such as Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) cannot be justified only on the basis that it is in their economic interest.
Google highly disappointed
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is disheartened by the decision. Al Verney, a spokesman for the company, said that the decision was disappointing for search engines and online publishers in general, and the company will need some time to analyze the effect of the decision on operations. Verney added that the company was surprised with the judgment of the lawmakers, which “differs so dramatically” from a previous ruling last year in company’s favor.
The case dates back to 2009, when a lawyer Mario Costeja objected that his name search on Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) lists legal notices dating back to 1998. Costeja said that all such issues do not hold any relevance now as they were resolved years ago.