In a startling decision of 13 May 2014, the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) found that:
- search engine operators qualify as “data controller” of the personal data contained in third party webpages that they make available in the search results. They are therefore fully responsible for the content they display
- individuals have a right to request from the search engine operator that links to third party websites with personal data be deleted from its search results, when this information published is inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive in relation to the purposes of the processing by the operator. The search engine operator is obliged to do so, even if that information is still published legitimately on the internet
- Spanish law applied because the data processing by Google Inc. in the US should be considered to (also) take place in the context of the activities of its Spanish sales office of advertising space for the US search engine.
Click here to download the Legal Alert about the ECJ ruling and its effects. The Legal Alert is available in English only.