EU Committee Calls 'Right to Be Forgotten' Ruling Unreasonable
As with any idea: Some people love it, other people hate it.
Earlier this summer, the European Union's highest court ruled that Google must delete data that is "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant" when requested by a member of the public. Now, members of the Lords Home Affairs EU Sub-Committee are calling are calling it "unreasonable."
In a new report, the committee members say the ruling is trying to "enforce the impossible" and that information could be blocked or deleted based on "vague, ambiguous and unhelpful" criteria.
"We think there is a very strong argument that, in the new regulation, search engines should not be classed as data controllers, and therefore not liable as 'owners' of the information they are linking to," committee chair Baroness Prashar told the BBC. "We also do not believe that individuals should have a right to have links to accurate and lawfully available information about them removed, simply because they do not like what is said."
Being considered a "data controller," Google and other search engines would be subject to data protection laws in EU countries. This means search engines would need to accept and respond to complaints from people in the EU about information that turns up in search results.
Since the ruling, Google has received about 70,000 requests to block links in the EU. Google, of course, has argued that it doesn't control data -- it simply links to information that is otherwise available online. But due to the ruling, Google has already started blocking access to certain articles via its European version.
Dare we say this is a perfect case of legislation not keeping pace with technology. European justice minister Simon Hughes told the BBC that legislation needs to balance upholding freedom of expression and the right to privacy. The high court's ruling, however, is debatable.
For reprints and licensing questions, click here.