February 12

In Europe, You Have the Right to … Be Forgotten.

In the spring of 2014, the European Court of Justice decided that Google needed to remove content that was outdated or irrelevant upon request by any individual within Europe.  The decision was based on the precedent set by the Right To Be Forgotten concept that was put into practice by the European Union and Argentina back in 2006.  Since the ruling, the scope of who can request a link be removed, or which Google domains it will be removed from, has been highly contested.

In order to determine who can and cannot use the Right To Be Forgotten concept to have a link removed, Google appointed a panel of experts to weigh in and advise on how Google should implement the ruling that was handed down by the European Court of Justice.  The panel met last fall across 7 major European cities to discuss the ruling and determine whether the ruling set forth by the EU Court of Justice should pertain to other countries outside of Europe or other Google domains that reside in other parts of the world.  After 7 several-hour sessions, the panel has agreed that the ruling should only apply to searches on Google’s European websites.

The discussion on the reach of the Right To Be Forgotten ruling is by no means over.  The panel of experts has made it clear that they believe this judgment should only apply to their European Websites, while opponents of Google’s judgment continue to argue the fact that it is still extremely easy to sidestep the intention of the Right To Be Forgotten as a whole.  Basically, if someone in Germany gets content removed from Google.de, all anybody has to do is switch to Google.com and they can have access to the removed material.  It is because of this, that conversations will continue to exist, but for now, Google’s stance remains that the links should only be removed from the European domains.