There Is No Universal Right to Be Forgotten, Says Top EU Court Advisor
In a formal opinion to the European Court of Justice (ECJ), Advocate General Niilo Jääskinen wrote that search engine service providers are not responsible, on the basis of the current Data Protection Directive, for personal data appearing on web pages they process.
When the Directive was adopted in 1995, Internet search engines were a new phenomenon and, according to Jääskinen, their current role as de facto gatekeepers to the Internet could not have been foreseen by the legislators. He says that, as such, Google cannot be considered a ‘controller’ of personal data under the rules as they were established nearly 20 years ago.
It therefore follows that national data protection authorities cannot require a search engine to remove information from its index. Jääskinen adds that rights to rectification, erasure or blocking of data only apply if there is incomplete, inaccurate, libellous or criminal information.
One exception is if the original publisher of a web page includes ‘exclusion codes’, which advise search engines not to index, store or display a page in search results.