Spanish DPA asks ECJ on right to be forgotten
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Deutsch: Recht auf Vergessen: Spanische Datenschutzbehörde wendet sich an EuGH
While Spain's National Court, Audiencia Nacional de Espana (AN) has asked the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to clarify jurisdiction issues in cases involving individual privacy complaints against Google and search engines in general, Spain's Data Protection Agency DPA (Agencia Española de Protección de Datos - AEPD) reasserted its position that Spaniards and Europeans in general should be able to file such complaints in courts in their own countries.
AN stated it was unclear who should make a decision about personal privacy complaints made by people who did not want their data to appear on third-party websites such as search engines.
Google wants privacy complaints against it filed in California, where the search engine has its headquarters but, in AEDP's opinion, Google and other search engines are subject to the laws of European countries and of the EU when European citizens are involved.
The court believes that Spanish citizens whose data was indexed from web pages located in Spain, in relation to an information published in Spain, have to defend their right to protection of their personal data in Spain and based on a Spanish legal norm and not in US. Otherwise, this "would put those affected in an especially vulnerable situation and prevent or greatly hinder the effective protection of this right, which would be inconsistent with the spirit and purpose that inspires the European Directive and, above all, with an effective protection of a fundamental right contained in the European Charter of Fundamental Rights."
"The purpose of Directive 95/46/EC is to provide effective protection in the European Union to the data of individuals (this is apparent from paragraphs 10 and 18 of the preamble), which would hardly be compatible with the Google the company claim that the victims who want to exercise their right to removal, blocking and / or opposition to your browser have to go to the jurisdiction of the United States and subject to the rules that State. This company believes that it is not applicable Community legislation (or consequently the national) data protection and that those affected cannot go to the authorities and, where appropriate, the national courts for the protection of their rights" was the Spanish Court's statement.
In January 2012, the EC added "the right to be forgotten" proposal to the existing online privacy protections in the EU. This proposed regulation is meant to strengthen online privacy rights and give people the right to remove personal data from the Internet.
AEPD hopes that the ECJ ruling in response to questions raised by AN, will give Spanish, and implicitly European citizens, the exercise of their rights in their own counties. The data protection authority has received over 100 requests from Spanish citizens to have their data removed from Google's search results.
The Spanish court said in a statement on its website, that in response to the Spanish prosecutor, Google answered it needed more legal justification for removing references to events in an individual's history.
Furthermore, the newly proposed European Regulation on Data Protection establishes a clear regulation regarding the applicability of European data protection standards. "This Regulation applies to the processing of personal data of persons resident in the Union by a controller not established in the Union, when treatment activities are related to: A) supply of goods or services to those interested in the Union, or b) control of their behaviour," says Article 3.2 of the proposed regulation which also includes a new rule on the right to be forgotten in Article 17.
A Google spokesman told Reuters: "We welcome the Spanish national court's decision to refer this case to the European Court of Justice. We support the right to be forgotten, and we think there are ways to apply it to intermediaries like search engines in a way that protects both the right to privacy and the right to free expression."
Information note of DPA on the un-raised questions by ECJ on the exercise of
rights against Internet search engines (only in Spanish, 2.03.2012)
Spain Seeks Jurisdiction Guidance From EU for Google Privacy Complaints
Spain refers Google privacy complaints to EU's top court (2.03.2012)