News / Europe

    EU Rules Google Must Remove Some Links on Request

    FILE - The reception counter of the Google office in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad.
    FILE - The reception counter of the Google office in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad.
    VOA News
    Internet companies can be made to remove irrelevant or excessive personal information from search engine results, Europe's top court ruled on Tuesday in a case pitting privacy campaigners against Google.

    In a landmark case, the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) upheld the complaint of a Spanish man who objected to the fact that Google searches on his name threw up links to a 1998 newspaper article about the repossession of his home.

    The case highlighted the struggle in cyberspace between free speech advocates and supporters of privacy rights who say people should have the "right to be forgotten" - meaning that they should be able to remove their digital traces from the Internet.

    It creates both technical challenges and potential extra costs for companies like Google, the world's no.1 search engine, and Facebook.

    In an advisory judgment that will impact all search engines, including Yahoo and Microsoft's Bing, the court said a search on a person's name yields a results page that amounts to an individual profile. Under European privacy law, it said people should be able to ask to have links to private information in that "profile" removed.

    Personal privacy vs. freedom of information

    Campaigners say the ruling effectively backs individual privacy rights over the freedom of information.

    Google said it was disappointed with the ruling, which contradicted a non-binding opinion from the ECJ's court adviser last year that said deleting sensitive information from search results would interfere with freedom of expression.

    "We are very surprised that it differs so dramatically from the Advocate General's opinion and the warnings and consequences that he spelled out. We now need to take time to analyze the implications," said Google spokesman Al Verney.

    The European Commission proposed in 2012 that people should have the "right to be forgotten" on the Internet. This was watered down by the European Parliament last year in favor of a "right to erasure" of specific information.

    The proposal needs the blessing of the 28 European Union governments before it can become law.

    Google, Facebook and other Internet companies have lobbied against such plans, worried about the extra costs.

    The issues of privacy and data protection in Europe have become all the more sensitive since a former U.S. intelligence contractor, Edward Snowden, leaked details last year of U.S. surveillance programs for monitoring vast quantities of emails and phone records worldwide.

    Tuesday's court ruling will likely benefit ordinary people but not public figures, said Larry Cohen, a partner at law firm Latham & Watkins.

    European Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said that the court ruling vindicated EU efforts to toughen up privacy rules.

    "Companies can no longer hide behind their servers being based in California or anywhere else in the world," she said on her Facebook page, calling the judgment a "strong tailwind" for data protection reform.

    Google suffered a previous privacy setback earlier this year when a German court ordered it to block search results in Germany linked to photos of a sex party involving former Formula One motor racing boss Max Mosley.

    Some information for this report was provided by Reuters and AP.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: joe hall from: colorado
    May 13, 2014 10:49 AM
    Meanwhile the bad guys (the USA) will continue to abuse all the rights of its citizens and continue to represent only their briber's.

    by: PermReader
    May 13, 2014 10:35 AM
    Google search websites founded often contain the comments irrelevant to the search topic.These comments often contain anti-semitic slur.They must be deleted.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora