Data Protection Inspectorate Mulling 'Right To Be Forgotten' ({{commentsTotal}})

The European Court of Justice, the EU's highest court, has ruled in favor of a lawsuit brought by a Spanish lawyer to force Google to drop search results referencing him, a decision that has the Data Protection Inspectorate looking into how a "right to be forgotten"can be implemented in Estonia.

In the court case, Mario Costeja Gonzalez had sued Google, because its search results linked his name to a newspaper article from 1998, which referenced a now-resolved lawsuit. 

The court ruled that Google was a “data controller” under the nearly 20-year-old European law on data protection, which gives individuals strong rights over data that others hold concerning them. The decision stated that Google could be required not to display links to information that is inadequate, irrelevant or excessive, given the purpose for which they are processed and the time that has passed. Individuals will also be able to appeal to their national data supervision bodies if they are turned down.

The upshot of the ruling is that Google is now responsible for the data it displays, not the sources of the data. If someone wants his or her data deleted, they will only have to file a request with Google, not the precursor sources.

Google receives 2-3 such requests per month from Estonia. Whether the European court ruling even applies to Estonia is something that the Data Protection Inspectorate  and possibly the courts will have to deliberate, reported based on an interview with Andres Ojaver of the Data Protection Inspectorate. While Google has a subsidiary in Spain, it has no local office in Estonia.