Sunday

25th Feb 2024

EU justice chief criticises Google on 'right to be forgotten'

The EU’s justice commissioner has accused internet giant Google of leading a campaign to shoot down data protection reforms.

Speaking in Lyon, France on Monday (18 August), the commissioner, Martine Reicherts, said: “Google and other affected companies who complain loudly” about a recent EU court verdict on personal data are “detractors … attempting to throw a new spanner in the works".

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

Instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Google and others "complain loudly" about the EU's planned data reforms - the EU's justice chief said Monday. (Photo: Infocux Technologies)

The Luxembourg-based EU court in May ruled that Google must remove links to any content that is "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant” or face a fine.

The ruling was based on the bloc’s 1995 data protection law, which are to be revised by the end of the year.

Since the May ruling, more than 250,000 requests have been made to Google asking for information to be removed from the European part of its service.

The search-engine company, which controls around 85 percent of the EU online market, fears the new data reforms would enshrine “the right to be forgotten” across Europe, leading to a flood of claims to remove data.

Reicherts played down the implications of the court judgement, however.

"A sober analysis of the ruling shows that it does in fact not elevate the right to be forgotten to a 'super right' trumping other fundamental rights, such as the freedom of expression," she said.

"This ruling does not give the all-clear for people or organisations to have content removed from the web simply because they find it inconvenient."

Reicherts is the short-term replacement for fellow Luxembourg politician Viviane Reding, who took up a seat in the European Parliament following the European elections.

Reding tabled plans to re-write the EU’s now 19-year old laws on data protection in 2012.

But agreement on the new regime could not be reached between MEPs and government ministers before the May poll, leaving it to the mercy of the new parliament and commission which are to start work in September.

The draft bill would allow individuals greater control over the use of their data, including a right to have their data expunged from company records. It would also tighten the rules on data transfers to businesses and governments outside the EU.

Opinion

After two years of war, time to hit Putin's LNG exports

Two years of tragedies, with well over 100,000 Russian war crimes now registered, underscore the urgent need to stop international LNG investments in Russia that continue to fund Vladimir Putin's war chest.

Latest News

  1. EU rewards Tusk's Poland on rule of law with €137bn
  2. UK-EU relations defrosting ahead of near-certain Labour win
  3. EU paid Russia €420-per-capita for fossil fuels since war began
  4. After two years of war, time to hit Putin's LNG exports
  5. Creating the conditions for just peace in Ukraine
  6. Energy and minerals disputes overshadow new EU-ACP pact
  7. Germany speeds up Georgia and Morocco asylum returns
  8. How Amazon lobbyists could be banned from EU Parliament

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us