Up to about two or three years ago I always felt Data Protection Laws were a nuisance and bureaucracy when running a business. My attitude has changed considerably and I now accept that there is a huge responsibility on all businesses to properly process data and information they have on their customers.
I think many older readers will appreciate the importance of their privacy and good name. Unfortunately many younger readers have grown up in an environment where there is very little privacy. Facebook, Snapchat and other means of cyber communication intrude very significantly on what we do from day to day.
There was an extremely significant judgment by the European Court of Justice last week that has resoundedly stated that the right of EU citizens to privacy is more important than the right of corporations to conduct business.
This potentially far reaching case, which requires Google to remove, on request, certain types of information that may be deemed out of date or no longer relevant, is the second major case in support of privacy in recent weeks. A month ago the ECJ made another landmark privacy decision when it threw out Europe’s Data Retention Directive, a judgment that arose in a large part from a case Privacy Advocates “Digital Rights Ireland” brought against the Irish State which was referred to the European Court of Justice.
Taken together these two rulings are globally significant statements that Europe prioritizes personal privacy and protection of citizen’s data, over the rights of either businesses or States to access it.
Google and other internet groups are braced for a blizzard of requests from European citizens demanding that sensitive personal information be removed from search results.
Last week’s case stems from a request made to Google to stop linking a sixteen year old announcement of the sale of a Spaniard’s house because of debt. Google lost on the grounds that individuals can demand the removal of links to “inadequate, irrelevant and no longer relevant” personal data—even when it was published legally.
The mechanics associated with getting some old data removed from Google will probably be clarified in the next few months. I am in no doubt a lot of readers will want to google their own name and see if there is something that comes up that at this stage is “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant” to us and will want to have them deleted as they give the wrong impression of how we now live!