In two recent landmark decisions issued on November 6, 2019, the German Constitutional Court (“BVerfG”) presented its unique perspective on the “right to be forgotten” and announced that it will assume a greater role in safeguarding German residents’ fundamental rights from now on.

Continue Reading German Constitutional Court Reshapes “Right to be Forgotten” and Expands Its Oversight of Human Rights Violations

On September 24, 2019, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) adopted a decision on the geographical scope of the right to erasure under the GDPR (decision available here).  The court decided, in line with the opinion of Advocate General Szpunar, that a US-based search engine does not have to remove (de-reference) search results displayed on all the search engine’s versions.  According to the court, it suffices for search results to be deleted from the search engine’s EU versions (i.e., EU domain name extensions, such as .eu, .fr or .de).  For more information on the Advocate General’s opinion, see our prior blog post here.

Continue Reading GDPR’s right to be forgotten limited to EU websites

On July 22, 2019, the Italian supervisory authority for data protection (“Garante”) issued a judgment involving the so-called “right to be forgotten”.  The Garante’s decision explores the boundaries of this right in a case in which Internet users could access an article by using a professional position as a search term, whereas it was not possible to access the article merely by using an individual’s name as a search term.

More specifically, the case before the Garante involved a professional, namely the president of a cooperative, who requested that Google remove a link to online content about him accessible by Internet users.  The content was accessible not by entering the individual’s name as a search term, but rather by entering his position as president of the cooperative, an association that serves the interests of members, i.e., social or economic needs or other general aims.

Continue Reading Italian Supervisory Authority Issues Judgment Concerning ‘Right to be Forgotten’

On January 10, 2019, Advocate General Szpunar of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) released his opinion regarding a 2016 enforcement action carried out by the French Supervisory Authority (CNIL) against Google.  In that case, the CNIL ordered Google to de-reference links to webpages containing personal data.  According to the CNIL, the

As we approach the May 2018 effective date of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), there have been a number of global developments over the last few months with respect to the so-called “right to be forgotten,” which will be codified under Article 17 of the GDPR.

European Developments

In the EU, we previously reported on a Court of Justice of the EU (“CJEU”) decision that limits the right to be forgotten with respect to public records.  And in February, A French high administrative court raised several questions to the CJEU relating to the right to be forgotten in light of the Google v. Costeja Gonzalez decision.  The questions address whether and in what circumstances search engines must delist links to websites in response to requests from data subjects, and arose in the context of a pending dispute between Google and CNIL, the French data protection authority.

A decision by a Circuit Court in Ireland recognized the right of a former election candidate to request the removal of information posted about him on Reddit under the right to be forgotten.  And the UK recently solicited views on its own implementation of the GDPR, including input regarding the interplay between the right to be forgotten and freedom of expression in the media.
Continue Reading Developments in the Right to Be Forgotten

On March 9, 2017, the Court of Justice of the EU (“CJEU”) handed down a ruling limiting the reach of its prior “right to be forgotten” jurisprudence, by holding that the right does not prevail over society’s interest in access to official public records of company details required by law.
Continue Reading CJEU Limits Public Record ‘Right to Be Forgotten’

 

  1. The CJEU “Right to be Forgotten” Ruling.  In May 2014, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) delivered an important judgement in a referral from Spain’s National High Court involving Google, a Spanish national, and the Spanish data protection authority (Case C-131/12).  The CJEU’s decision re-interpreted European data protection law to include a so-called “right to be forgotten” that enabled individuals to request search engines to block links that appear on searches of their names if the links go to information that is incomplete, inaccurate, irrelevant, or otherwise damaging to an individual’s privacy.  (This right is limited in the case of public figures, however.)  The decision also found that Google was subject to European data protection law because it operated subsidiaries in Europe whose business was to raise advertising revenues in relation to the search engine’s data processing activities.  The decision triggered an immediate tidal wave of tens of thousands of requests to Google and other search engines that continues to raise controversies to this day.
  1. CJEU strikes down the Data Retention Directive as invalid. In April 2014, the CJEU took the rare step of annulling the controversial Data Retention Directive, which mandated the systematic (“bulk”) retention of communications metadata by telecommunications companies in the EU, for potential access by law enforcement authorities (see our blog post here).  The Court criticised the Directive’s indiscriminate targeting of suspects and non-suspects alike, and the law’s general lack of safeguards, finding that it amounted to an “interference with the fundamental rights of practically the entire European population” contrary to Articles 7 and 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU.  The Directive’s invalidation raised questions about the continuing validity of the national laws that had implemented the Directive throughout the EU.  In the UK, this lead to the accelerated adoption of substitute legislation, the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 (“DRIPA”), and its implementing regulations.
    Continue Reading Top 10 International Privacy Developments of 2014

As readers of the InsidePrivacy blog know, we often save some fun reading on privacy issues for the weekend, given the crush of business during the week.  Sure, you’re reading the FTC’s just‑released Internet of Things report (and hopefully Shel’s helpful analysis of it), but a little broader reading might be just right for our (somewhat) snowy weekend.

At the top of my list for this weekend is Neil Richards’ new book, Intellectual Privacy: Rethinking Civil Liberties in the Digital Age.  This book follows up on Neil’s great law review article of the same name, but develops and updates the arguments, examples and use cases.  The subject of the work is the conflict between privacy and free expression, one of the most important issues in our area of law and policy.  Topics such as the “right to be forgotten” place this issue squarely into today’s headlines.  Neil suggests that free speech should win out in the event of a true conflict between the two values, but concludes that true conflicts are exceedingly rare.  It is more likely that privacy should be seen as a precondition for the exercise of free speech — without some assurance that privacy rights will be honored, individuals will not speak freely.  It’s a great premise with which I agree, and one that I look forward to thinking more about.  And if you’re in New York on Monday and can stop by the book launch sponsored by Data & Society, you can ask Neil about it!
Continue Reading Privacy Weekend: Provocative Articles We’re Reading Now

Late last week, the Article 29 Working Party released a short press statement announcing that it had agreed guidance for the implementation of the May 2014 CJEU ruling against Google on the “right to be forgotten.”  See our first post on the Working Party’s guidance here.  The Working Party has now published a full