EU’s ‘right to be forgotten’ now extends to inaccurate claims about people

Your “right to be forgotten” (or rather the right of deletion) in the European Union now extends to bogus claims about you. EU Court of Justice ruled that Google and similar providers must remove search results on request when they are “obviously inaccurate”. Those making the claim will have to prove that there is a substantial deviation, but they will only have to provide evidence that can be “reasonably” claimed. In other words, they won’t have to ask for a court order. Search engine creators cannot be forced to actively participate in an investigation.

The ruling is in response to a case where two investment managers asked Google to remove search results for their names that linked to articles critical of their business model. Regulators argue that the claims are false and also object to the alleged thumbnail images taken out of context. Google declined to fulfill the request, saying it didn’t know if the information was accurate.

in one statement arrive politicsGoogle says it’s “welcome[d]” ruling and will review the Court of Justice’s decision. The court stressed that the affected search results and thumbnails have been unavailable for a long time.

This decision could help shape interpretations of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). You will not only have the right to delete search data for privacy reasons (such as reporting an old conviction), but also to obtain content that is clearly false. This could theoretically help Europeans reduce their access to misinformation and slander, even if they are not interested in filing a lawsuit.

There are questions still. It is noteworthy that the court’s decision did not directly address the issue of parody. It’s not clear if someone can ask Google and other search engines to remove fake content for the purpose of joking. Also don’t know if this can be used to hide content which is mostly correct, but includes an obvious bug. Complainants could theoretically use this to mitigate criticism by targeting less-than-perfect stories. However, the ruling at least laid a foundation that could be used for future disputes.

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