European Union users lose recognition of their right to be forgotten before the giant Google

The technology giant Google has obtained a second favorable ruling in just two weeks that the Court of Justice of the European Union (EU) proved him right in a dispute he had with the French data agency.

That situation jeopardizes the right to be forgotten by European users, who, while recognizing that cyberspace has no borders, were protected within the boundaries of the EU.

The right to be forgotten by European users was recognized five (5) years ago when the judges of that jurisdiction, specifically the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that the users were empowered and protected to request the elimination of the search engine results linked to their name in the EU links. The fight for the aforementioned right began in Spain when a lawyer - through the Spanish Agency for Data Protection - requested that Google withdraw information from cyberspace that had been published about him in the newspaper La Vanguardia.

The aforementioned process reached the courts of Luxembourg, who supported European citizens to request directly from Google's search engine the removal of their names, in particularly specific cases. The company must evaluate the user's request in order to verify whether it is amiable or not; because the lack of pronouncement, merits that those affected resort to justice to demand the defense of their right.

Subsequently, and covered by the antecedent issued in the EU, a French user turned to the National Computing and Freedom Commission of his country, when he found that, despite having submitted his request to Google to remove some links associated with his data (name ), the company had only proceeded with the requirement in the engines of its European subsidiaries, but not worldwide. Despite the requirement of the French authority, the technology giant only agreed to eliminate links within the EU; and even after being fined by the aforementioned Commission, it maintained its position, and it would be recently backed by European justice.

Specifically, the Luxembourg Court stated in its ruling that, although in cyberspace where there are no borders, the withdrawal of links would be the appropriate response to the protection objective pursued by the EU's right to be forgotten, it also emphasized that countries that are not part of the EU do not necessarily recognize and protect the right to forget or do so by giving it a different content and recognition. This coupled with the fact that this right is not absolute, but must be evaluated in each specific case, in order to maintain a balance with other equally friendly rights, such as “freedom of information”.

More abundantly, the court concludes that the Community legislation does not have cooperation mechanisms in relation to the extent of the removal of links outside the EU, so there are no legal tools to require Google to comply with such a requirement.

This decision, even though it has not been favorable for European users, should not discourage users from the world from taking legal action that corresponds to a giant; This allows companies like Google to rethink their actions and take measures that advocate a more reasonable balance between people's rights to access information and privacy.

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Erika Rios
Erika is a lawyer from the Peruvian University of Applied Sciences (UPC). He has experience in banking regulatory advice and financial transactions, mainly in financing with local and foreign financial entities. He currently works at Vodanovic Legal, an expert legal firm in financial law issues. He specializes in Banking Regulation and Fintech.

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