What is more important – the right of access to information or protection of personal data? The Federal high court in Karlsruhe ruled on this account its first verdict. He was in favor of Google.
People change. Change their habits, opinions, preferences. But the information about them, even one that is already obsolete, is stored online. Always out of context. And how in this case, the right to oblivion that allows you to require under certain conditions the removal of their personal data from being shared via search engines? We are talking primarily about the outdated, inaccurate data and information, the legal basis for retention which disappeared over time.
Should this right be applied automatically, if we are talking about the protection of personal data? Should large corporations that are responsible for the dissemination of information on the Internet periodically to remove it? All these questions interested the Europeans since the EU appeared uniform rules of protection of personal data.
The decision of the Federal court of justice in Germany the case against Google
27 July 2020 for the first time in Germany the Federal court of justice in Karlsruhe issued a verdict in the case, which is directly related to this topic. After all, the plaintiff appealed to the court because the search function of Google gave at the mention of his name obsolete information about it.
The former head of the regional charity organization in the Federal state of Hesse demanded that Google no longer showed old articles that dealt with the illness of plaintiff and the financial difficulties encountered previously by the organization.
But the court made the decision according to which the public’s right to information prevails over the right to the protection of personal data. Thus, even articles with outdated information will be displayed in the search. According to the court, the automatic use of the right to oblivion on the Internet is not provided by European standards. And in the case of materials, the critical content of which is disputed, the decision is always made on an individual basis.
To the process in Karlsruhe was the centre of attention, as this is the first verdict of the highest court in Germany after the entry into force of EU legislation and Germany on the protection of personal data. Another similar case will address the European Court of justice in Luxembourg. We are talking about a married couple, which opposed to at the mention of their names search the car was given outdated information about their difficult financial situation.
How does the right to be forgotten?
From may 2018 in the EU, new rules on the protection of personal data. To the General regulations on the protection of personal data is particularly important is article 17.
As explained by Christian Solimene (Christian Solmecke), the Cologne expert in the field of online rights, according to this article, every person may demand from the one who is responsible for the use and dissemination of information, to immediately remove the part which contains his personal data.
To protect the so-called “right to be forgotten” helps the decision of the Court of the European Union in Luxembourg, adopted in 2014. Then the court asked the Spaniard required when referring to Google his name did not appear old article with a Spanish newspaper, which reported on the for sale of property owned by that person. The information contained in it, at the time of going to court are outdated and could hurt the image and financial Affairs of the plaintiff. The court took his side.
Europeans have took advantage of this right
It was a precedent. Since then, according to Google Transparency Report, nearly a million citizens of member countries of the EU has made demands on the us-based company to remove nearly 4 million references. About half of them were satisfied. Most often, in the end, Google removed links to Facebook. Every sixth complaint for violations related to the protection of personal data was of German citizens.
Just two examples: one teacher had ensured that Google didn’t appear any more info on last offense. At the request of another person, the victim of the violence was removed the link to the article in which it was told about it.
There are quite different examples. One of the members of the clergy failed to force Google to remove the information that he was accused of sexual violence. The group found this information to be relevant to society. And the Church has not yet completed the investigation into the incident.
“Oblivion is not a mistake,” – says Viktor Mayer shenberger (Viktor Mayer-Sch?nberger) lawyer and scholar from Oxford, one of the first taking up the study of the question of the right to oblivion on the Internet. In his book he back in 2010 I wrote about the dangers is an endless storage of personal data on the Internet and the ability of search engines to find them. After all, in the digital age you can find information from the past that had long been forgotten and which in another era would have been impossible. Information becomes more and more, and it does not disappear. And one day mankind may be at an impasse.
The danger for modern society
In medicine there are examples of the suffering of patients diagnosed with hyperthymesia who can’t forget. They can’t be free from her memories, living each one as occurring at the moment, the fact, losing in the end, the ability to distinguish past from present.
This danger exists in modern society: the Internet never forgets anything. And in the end, you may lose the ability in the ocean of information to find important and relevant. Expert Viktor Mayer shenberger believes that the decision of the court in Karlsruhe will draw attention to the importance of the right to oblivion in times of universal digitization. But he’s convinced to exercise this right will not all. Agree with him and the lawyer Solimene. The one who wants to force Google to remove information about themselves must have a lot of patience.
“It often happens that Google does not initially respond to the demand to remove the information or totally refuses to do it,” adds the expert in the field of Internet law. And also indicates the necessity of using the technical opportunities for more effective communication, allowing to solve the question of the application of the right to oblivion. As an example, Mayer shenberger results messenger Snapchat, which automatically deletes all information after a short time, thereby allowing you to forget of the communication process of all outdated and no longer relevant data.