The highest court in the European Union decided on Tuesday that Google must, in some cases, grant users of its search engine a so-called right to be forgotten that includes deletion of links to embarrassing legal records. The decision by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg appeared to represent a blow for Google, which has sought to avoid the obligation to remove links when requested by European users of its service.
Europe’s highest court today ruled that search engines can be ordered to remove links to publicly available news items from their search results. The decision by the European Union Court of Justice (ECJ) has dealt a blow to Google in Europe. The company had, with its Spanish operation Google Spain, appealed an order by the Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD) that stipulated that the companies had to remove links to two pages published in 1998 by Spanish newspaper La Vanguadia. The order followed a complaint by Spanish nation to the AEPD in 2010, after he found that searches for his name made through Google returned links to the two pages, which contained details about a real-estate auction that was held to settle social security debts. Essentially, the complainant believed the links highlighted details about his history that were no longer relevant.