Google has received good news in a European privacy case. An advisor to the EU’s Central Court of Justice has said that the company should not be required to block links to personal information when that information is legal.
The Wall Street Journal’s David Román and Frances Robinson reported, “Google Inc. won support from the European Union’s highest court on Tuesday in the form of an opinion that the world’s top Web search engine can’t be forced by government agencies to remove links to personal material purely on privacy grounds, a decision that may open another front in a long battle over EU privacy laws. Niilo Jaaskinen, an advocate general to the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice, said search engines aren’t responsible for personal data that shows up in Web pages they process.”
BBC News explained, “The specific case Mr Jaaskinen was considering goes back to November 2009 when a Spanish man complained about links on Google to an e-newspaper report detailing how debts had led to his house being repossessed. He argued that, as the report was 10 years old, the links were no longer relevant and should be removed. He failed to get the original article removed because it was deemed to be in the public interest.”
PC Mag’s Chloe Albanesius quoted the EU’s Central Court of Justice, which said Spanish law “does not establish a general ‘right to be forgotten.'”
Reuters observed, “A final judgment on the case is expected before the end of the year. Judges in the European Court of Justice are not bound by an advocate general’s opinion, but follow such recommendations in the majority of cases.”