Google Judgment reinforces Internet Privacy


Google Judgment reinforces Internet Privacy

Tuesday, 20 May, 2014

The European Court recently ruled that Google has to respect privacy laws. Any person using Google´s search engine on the internet receives links relating to a specific keyword. If such a keyword is the name of a person, all personal data of such person will appear in the search engine. The European Court ruled that Google is compelled to respect personal data and therefore has to remove any search links because of the privacy requests of the person involved. With this decision, the European Court values the private personal data of the European citizen above information requested from any person searching the internet.

The European court rendered its decision on May 13, 2014 and the ruling of the European Court in this matter reads as follows: 

  1. Article 2(b) and (d) of Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 regariding the protection of individuals with the processing of personal data and the free movement of such should be interpreted to mean that; first, the activity of a search engine that finds information published or placed on the internet by third parties, indexs this information automatically, stores it temporarily and, finally, makes it available to internet users according to a particular order of preference must be classified as ‘processing of personal data’ within the meaning of Article 2(b) when that information containing personal data and; second, the operator of the search engine must be regarded as the ‘controller’ within the meaning of Article 2(d).2.
  2. Article 4(1)(a) of Directive 95/46 is to be interpreted that the processing of personal data is to be carried out in the context of the activities of an establishment of the controller on the territory of a Member State, within the meaning of that provision, when the operator of a search engine sets up in a Member State a branch or subsidiary which is intended to promote and sell advertising space offered by that engine and which orientates its activity towards the inhabitants of that Member State.
  3. Article 12(b) and subparagraph (a) of the first paragraph of Article 14 of Directive 95/46 are to be interpreted as meaning that, in order to comply with the rights laid down in those provisions and in so far as these conditions are satisfied, the operator of a search engine is obliged to remove from the list of results, following a search made on the basis of a person’s name, links to web pages, published by third parties and containing information relating to that person, and also when that name or information has not been erased beforehand or simultaneously from those web pages, and even, as the case may be, when its publication in itself on those pages is lawful.
  4. Article 12(b) and subparagraph (a) of the first paragraph of Article 14 of Directive 95/46 are to be interpreted that, when appraising the conditions for the application of those provisions, it should be examined whether the data subject has a right to the information in question relating to him personally, at this point in time, without it being necessary to find such a right that the inclusion of the information in question causes prejudice to the data subject. As the data subject may, in the light of his fundamental rights under Articles 7 and 8 of the Charter, request that the information in question no longer be made available to the general public in such a list of results, those rights override, as a rule, not only the economic interest of the operator of the search engine but also the interest of the general public in having access to that information upon a search relating to the data subject’s name. However, that would not be the case, if it appeared, for particular reasons, that the interference with his fundamental rights is justified by the preponderant interest of the general public, on account of the individuals inclusion in the list of results, providing access to the information in question.