Will Google Respect the “Right to be Forgotten”?

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Spain's Data Protection Agency wants Google to wipe away links to material on about 90 people. All these people claim that Google is making sensitive information about them widely available by means of simple searches, and insist on their "Right to be Forgotten".

Much of the information about the Spanish plaintiffs remains veiled to protect their privacy, but the case of plastic surgeon Hugo Guidotti mirrors the heart of the matter. The first link in Google searches points to the site of his clinic, but the second one takes users to a story about a woman who sued him for a breast operation gone wrong.

The making of a final decision on some suits may take a lot of time because appeals can be filed to higher courts. But in the nearest future the European Commission is going to create a law that will allow people to delete personal information that they posted earlier online. It will give the Spanish complainants the opportunity to win an action.

However, Spain's case is not the first for Google. The company regularly receives requests to withdraw links to sensitive information from its search index, or to place such links in the back pages of the search results. As a rule, Google rejects them to protect the integrity of its index.

Artemi Rallo, director of the Spanish Data Protection Agency, predicts that the "Right to be Forgotten" will become "much more important in the future. Google is just 15 years old, the Internet is barely a generation old and we are beginning to detect problems that affect our privacy. More and more people are going to see things on the Internet that they don't want to be there."

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