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Test case on the right to be forgotten

The “right to be forgotten” online is in danger of being transformed into a tool of global censorship through a test case at the European court of justice (ECJ), free speech organisations are warning. “An application by the French data regulator for greater powers to remove out of date or embarrassing content from internet domains around the world will enable authoritarian regimes to exert control over publicly available information, according to a British-led alliance of NGOs,” notes the Guardian. The right to be forgotten was originally established by an ECJ ruling in 2014 after a Spaniard sought to delete an auction notice of his repossessed home dating from 1998 on the website of a mass circulation newspaper in Catalonia. That judgment allowed European citizens to ask search engines to remove links to “inadequate, irrelevant or ... excessive” content. While the content itself remains online, it cannot be found through online searches of the individual’s name. “In the latest ECJ case, the French data regulator is seeking to extend that power so that it applies universally. That would permit national regulators to hide articles deemed unacceptable not only from their own cyberspace such as Google.fr, but also from global domains including Google.com and from those of other countries. Google is resisting the claim on the grounds that it would set a precedent for authoritarian regimes to limit free speech.” France’s data regulator, the Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertės (CNIL), has argued that if it upholds a complaint by a French citizen, search engines such as Google should not only be compelled to remove links from Google.fr but all Google domains. Read more

  • Tuesday, 25 September 2018

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