Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) and other search engines have been ordered by the EU’s Court of Justice to stop showing links about people to information that’s no longer relevant or otherwise “inadequate.” The court said people are allowed to ask Google to remove sensitive information about them from search results if it fits into these categories.
According to USA Today, if Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) does not comply with the request, the person can file an official complaint. The court will then grant an order for Google to remove the links in question. The judges said Internet search engines are “responsible for the processing” they carry out regarding web pages published by third parties.
The case stems from a complaint filed by a Spanish man who said Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) violated his right to privacy by including links regarding the repossession of his home. The links revealed that the home had been auctioned off.
Google, law experts respond to the ruling
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) said it was “a disappointing ruling” and that it now must “take time to analyze the implications” of it. The search giant said during the court case that it has no control over personal data. It simply links to data the Internet already offers legally and freely.
USA Today spoke to media law expert Ruth Collard, who called it a win for the average citizen. She said that young people particularly stand to benefit from it. She noted that often something embarrassing which happened while they were in school can haunt them for the rest of their lives—all because it appeared on the Internet. They may then have difficulties finding a job forever, because of something they did years ago.
Google no stranger to investigations
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) has been dealing with privacy concerns in courts all over the world. A court in Italy ordered the search giant to pay $1.38 million in connection with its Street View program, which snapped photos of people without their permission or knowledge. The company has faced lawsuits in multiple countries in connection with that program.
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) also had to pay other fines in Spain and Italy in connection with how it uses personal data.