SEARCH ENGINE SERVICE PROVIDERS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR DATA

Opinion Advocate General Jääskinen

Opinion in Case C-131/12, Google Spain SL, Google Inc. v Agencia Española de Protección de Datos, Mario Costeja González.

According to the Advocate General a national data protection authority cannot require an internet search engine service provider to withdraw information from its index except in cases where this service provider has not complied with the exclusion codes4 or where a request emanating from a website regarding an update of cache memory has not been complied with.

Also, the Directive does not establish a general ‘right to be forgotten’. Such a right cannot therefore be invoked against search engine service providers on the basis of the Directive, even when it is interpreted in accordance with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

The rights to rectification, erasure and blocking of data provided in the Directive concern data whose processing does not comply with the provisions of the Directive, in particular because of the incomplete or inaccurate nature of the data. This does not seem to be the case in the current proceedings.

The Directive also grants any person the right to object at any time, on compelling legitimate grounds relating to his particular situation, to the processing of data relating to him, save as otherwise provided by national legislation. However, the Advocate General considers that a subjective preference alone does not amount to a compelling legitimate ground and thus the Directive does not entitle a person to restrict or terminate dissemination of personal data that he considers to be harmful or contrary to his interests.

Source: Press Release Court of Justice of the European Union

NOTE: The Advocate General’s Opinion is not binding on the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Karel Frielink

(25 June 2013)

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