Google Fights Spain in EU Court over "Right to Be Forgotten"

Google argues that it shouldn't be forced to censor legal, factual information

Google is going to court in the EU to fight against the so-called "right to be forgotten" proposed by Spanish courts. The company doesn't want courts ordering it to remove factual, accurate info from its search results at the behest of individuals, especially since that information remains in place on the sites that house it.

"Today, the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg will hear arguments in a case that aims to determine whether search engines can be ordered to block search results that link to valid, legal content on Spanish newspaper and government websites," Google explained.

Europe has been struggling with the awkward concept of "right to be forgotten," the idea that people should have the right to put the past behind them by removing information about them from search engines.

Supposedly, this is to make it possible for people to hide the mistakes of their youth or just make sure that they enjoy some form of privacy by making it harder for others to find out about their past.

This is in reaction to the "Internet" which has made it impossible for people to move on, apparently, and stems from the false notion that people were able to run away from their past before the Internet was widespread.

In practice, the notion is pushed mostly by people who really have something to hide, convicted politicians or criminals and so on.

Since politicians and out-of-touch companies equate the Internet with Google, it's easy to see why the US company is at the center of this.

Google has been at the center of a lawsuit in Spain, which is being heard by the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Spain wants to make it possible to force Google to remove results that may be embarrassing or revealing for individuals.

Google actually agrees that the "right to be forgotten" has some merits, but contests this when it comes to newspaper or government archives.

But Spain argues this should be removed as well. It's "interesting" that no one is arguing that the news stories should removed from the newspaper sites or from the government archives and databases, just from Google search results.

"People shouldn't be prevented from learning that a politician was convicted of taking a bribe, or that a doctor was convicted of malpractice. The substantive question before the Court today is whether search engines should be obliged to remove links to valid legal material that still exists online," Google added.

"We believe the answer to that question is 'no.' Search engines point to information that is published online - and in this case to information that had to be made public, by law," it said.

Hot right now  ·  Latest news