Right To Be Forgotten

Right to be forgotten rulings have left Europe with no official means to enforce them Investigative reporters at Max Schrems’s non-profit privacy advocacy group called, “Europe v Google. Have appeale to the court in Ireland to re-examine a recent court ruling that Google must remove search results related to their right to be forgot requests.

The case is being brought by two French journalist, both of whom were being harass by the family members of people who had die, due to information that had been found on their sites. They had asked Google to remove the links, which is the standard procedure.

Recent Months

In recent months, the cases have been coming in bunches, with a man from Germany seeing the same thing happen to him and one from the UK being determine by Google to be “not in the public interest” and remove.

Google was fine in France €150,000 for not removing the search results. The French law dictate that anyone who “has knowledge of a fact that is generally public, that is not conceal from the public in a sufficient manner, shall inform it in a sufficient manner” when asked to.

Defamation Of People

What is unclear is whether that would include defamation of people. It is also unclear whether someone with the information can make the information “obscene”. To appeal the Irish court ruling, Schrem’ group is arguing that by allowing Google to remove links, the court had made it impossible for the person who had requested the removal to prove they had the right to be forgot.

At the heart of the case is whether European law or human rights is dictating the outcome. In Ireland, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) decided to hear the case (as well as two other similar appeals), in an attempt to resolve the disagreement, with the hope of setting a European-wide standard for cases like this.


As well as Schrems, the journalist in question, a lawyer, a photographer, an Irish politician and a priest all had different stories. Google’s first answer to the Irish court was that the removal was a “narrowly-tailored remedy“. But as the decision made by the court, or the finding from the judge, is not public, we don’t know exactly what evidence the court has used to arrive at that decision.

As a lawyer, Michel Navratil, who represents one of the individuals in the Irish case, told The Register, in the wake of the initial ruling, he had argued that the court neede to be more specific as to what information is include within the public interest exemption. He also argued that the court needed to be specific as to what information was being refer to as “publicly available”.


Those are, of course, just two of the points the ‘Europe v Google’ group will raise in their appeal. Navratil told The Register that the ruling, even though it was a decision made by Ireland  High Court, had sent “very bad signal” and had the potential to change the way Google  search algorithm operate, which could allow people to hide what they do not want anyone to know.

He add that the ruling could even make it harder for people who have become victims of a crime, as without the right to be forgot information, it will be hard for people to seek justice for them in the courts.


“It opens a lot of doors for people,” Navratil told us. “Google has created a new right. They have already said to me that they need to rethink their algorithms.” The reason that Schrems’ group is taking the Irish case to the ECJ is that, under European law, the court does not have the power to make recommendations.

It has to issue a ruling, which will give the legal authorities the ability to enforce those rules within the European Union. Under those rules, the court will have the power to use its decision as a guide for national authorities to enforce those rules. The court may also, as in the case of the right to be forgot, have the power to rule on the interpretation of the law.


Benefit the crux of Schrem’ appeal lies in the wider implications of a ruling which would allow Google to determine what information should be remove and what information is allow to remain.

A number of digital activists, who believe that mass surveillance is an issue, have joined the Schrems campaign. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, an international digital rights advocacy group, argues that if, as in Schrems’ case, only the public would benefit from being able to have information removed from Google searches.

All Internet Users

Then “all internet users will benefit, as Google will no longer be require to process or delete irrelevant and erroneous data from its index. Without the legal protection of the right to be forgot, ordinary internet users might be at risk of an automate takedown of all personal information.

“For example, a public transit agency might use an automated takedown system to disable services to the entire city rather than disable access to their customer database.” The EFF also argues that a ruling in favour of Schrems could give more power to the authorities in search warrants. Those request could end up with the authorities determining what data should be delete from search results.

Modern Sense

A ruling which favours Schrems, meanwhile, would affect online privacy in an unprecedente way. When was the right to be forgot introduce? The right to be forgot, in its modern sense, has existed in Europe for a decade. It was originally introduce in Spain, when the country’s Supreme Court.

Person’s failure to remove information about themselves from Google’s search results was a privacy violation and as such was a violation of Spanish privacy law. Soon after, Google complied with a Spanish court order to remove a link to a photo of a man taking drugs, and a link to a link to a link to a news article about another man who had been arrested for a crime he didn’t commit diritto all’oblio.

European Union

But the guideline for how to apply the right to be forgot have not always been clear or easy to understand. The problem, Schrems says, is that Google doesn’t know all of the people in the European Union. “It is difficult to imagine how they [Google] would know if the person was or wasn’t the target of a European Union law,” he told us.

A source at the court. Who decline to be name. Told the Irish Time that the refer of the Schrem case in itself was not a decision by the court. But that it was intende as “a message” to the Irish court.


A spokesman for Google confirmed to the Irish Times that the company has received a referral to the ECJ from the Irish High Court. But said it would not comment on the case. “We remain confident that the right to be forgot does not violate people’s EU rights and are still awaiting the final judgment” he said.

A decision is expecte by the end of the year, and the Europ Court of Justice will then issue the necessary guideline to ensure that data protect law are upheld. In the United Kingdom. The information commissioner’s office is already investigating whether Google is acting in compliance with the right to be forgt.

British Case

The right to be forgot was original introduce in Spain in 2009 and only applie to European citizen.


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