The European Union’s highest court has ruled that Google should allow people the “right to be forgotten”, and should erase “irrelevant data” on its users if they request it.
The ruling is seen as a blow struck in favour of privacy rights online. Google has said the ruling was “disappointing”, adding that they “now need to take time to analyse the implications”.
The search giant has said in the past that it does not control data, it only offers links to information that is freely available on the Internet. Google has argued in the past that forcing it to remove data amounts to a form of censorship.
However, the purpose of the EU directive, according to the court, is to protect “the fundamental rights and freedoms of natural persons (in particular the right to privacy) when personal data are processed, while removing obstacles to the free flow of such data.”
The EU Justice Commissioner, Viviane Reding, rather bizarrely celebrated the court’s decision via a post to her Facebook page.