Information Technology Law | Google Inc v. AEPD Case

Added on -2020-02-05

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INFORMATIONTECHNOLOGY LAW
Table of ContentsINTRODUCTION...........................................................................................................................1Background of the Case..............................................................................................................1Judgement...................................................................................................................................2Analysis and Implications of the decision..................................................................................3Brief Implications of the decision...............................................................................................7CONCLUSION................................................................................................................................8REFERENCES..............................................................................................................................10
INTRODUCTIONThe newly emerged 'Right to be Forgotten' has attracted immense controversy and uproaron an international platform, especially in connection to European Union. This jurisprudentialdevelopment was undertaken in May, 2014 through the judgement of Court of Justice in the caseof Google Spain SL and Google Inc v. Angencia Espanola de Proteccion de Datos (AEPD) andMario Costeja Gonzalez (2014). The court upheld the validity of a new right which entitles everyperson to have their personal data forgotten from internet. The application of this right is soughtin EU and in pursuance to the same every person in the region has the right to put forward arequest to the search engines, to have their data deleted from the digital memory. The impact ofthis judgement can be felt across the world and has made a significant impact on the manner inwhich internet is operated.1 A specific impact of this decision is made on the extent to which anyperson can access data on internet in respect to specific individuals. It is important to note thatthe business impact of this decision is not only detrimental for Google alone, the broadconstruction of the decision has the capability to make other internet operators liable for breachof privacy. In order to gain a better understanding on the issue the instant study seeks to analyzethe judicial pronouncement of the 2014 case and illustrate the impacts which it has on all thesearch engine, in addition to Google. Background of the CaseThis case involved a Spanish national who approached Spanish Data Protection Agency(SDPA) to remove an internet article published by a newspaper. The compliant was made againstGoogle, as it was alleged by him that on searching the name of the applicant a particular articlefrom 1998 is shown in the results. It was further alleged that the article revealed certaininformation in respect to an auction which was conducted to recover certain forms of debtagainst him. In pursuance to the complaint of applicant, SDPA directed Google Inc. and GoogleSpain to conceal the concerned personal data or remove it from internet. In response to the samea legal proceeding was instituted by Google before the National High Court in Spain. The matterwas referred to European Court of Justice (ECJ).2 The specific legal issues which were made froreferral were:1McNealy Jasmine E. ‘The emerging conflict between newsworthiness and the right to be forgotten’. (2012).2‘Google Spain SL and Google Inc v. Angencia Espanola de Proteccion de Datos (AEPD) and MarioCosteja Gonzalez’ (2013). <https://h2o.law.harvard.edu/collages/34645> accessed on 1st April 20171
Whether the applicant was entitled to directly approach Google for removal of theconcerned personal data, which has been published by a third party;Whether Right to object or erasure, given under the European Union Directive95/46/EC entitles the data subject to request removal of such personal data on theground of right to privacy, even after passage of a considerable time or even if the datawas uploaded lawfully at that point in time.The Directive provides for processing of personal data as well as on free movement ofsuch data.JudgementConsidering the European Union Directive 95/46/EC it was stated by ECJ that thisregulation is responsible for processing of data as well as grant rights to such people to raiseobjection on processing of any form of personal data on grounds which are reasonable andjustifiable in nature. In accordance to this provision the data subject is entitled to complaint thesame to the concerned person who is responsible for processing the data. It was found by thecourt that the activities being carried out by Google are well within the definition of processingthe personal data as suggested in the Directive. In light of these deductions Google Inc. andGoogle Spain shall be considered well within the scope of the Directive.3 In the event the requestis not fulfilled at this level the data subject may approach the judiciary or other supervisoryauthorities. The court while considering the facts of the case in hand stated that the nature ofpersonal data involved in the present case has the potential to fundamentally impact theirrespective right of privacy. Considering the nature of interference which the applicant is beingsubject to it can be stated that publication of such a personal data cannot be solely justified forthe economic interests which the concerned processors of information may have in the matter.The respective search engine was considered to be under obligation to process the datacompletely in accordance to the Directive 95/46/EC. In furtherance to the same the court whileinterpreting the right to object under the Directive as inclusive of the 'right of erasure or to beforgotten' in connection to the personal data which is published on internet.4 In light of this3Erik Werfel J. D., CIPPUS IGP, and CEDS CISSP. ‘What Organizations Must Know About the 'Right tobe Forgotten'. Information Management 50 2 (2016) 30.4Dumas Agnès, ‘The right to be forgotten: a change in access to insurance and loans after childhoodcancer?.’ Journal of Cancer Survivorship (2017) 1-7.2

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