The Right to be Forgotten

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The EU’s top court ruled Thursday that citizens of the bloc can order Google to delete search results about themselves if they prove the information is “manifestly inaccurate,” Politico reported.

The case began when two investment managers asked Google to remove the results of a search based on their names, which included links to publications criticizing their investment model. The individuals said the information from those links was inaccurate.

Google rejected the request, saying it was not aware that the information in the articles was wrong.

A German court then sought the advice of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on how to strike a balance between the “right to be forgotten” and the right to freedom of expression and information, Reuters noted.

The CJEU found that the right to freedom of expression and information cannot be considered “where, at the very least, a part – which is not of minor importance – of the information found in the referenced content proves to be inaccurate.”

It added that users have to provide sufficient proof that what is said about them is false and that the evidence doesn’t have to come from a court case against a publisher.

Google said it welcomed the decision and will review the verdict. It also said that it had removed the links and that thumbnails related to the two executives are no longer available through web and image searches.

The case is considered a victory for privacy rights advocates, who have clashed in recent years with supporters of free speech over people’s “right to be forgotten” online.

The CJEU enshrined the right to be forgotten in 2014, declaring that individuals may ask search engines like Google to erase inaccurate or irrelevant information from web results for their names.

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