Google Fined in France, Fighting 'Right To Be Forgotten' in Spain

Google is fined 430,000 Euros for four breaches of copyright by a French court, while the Spanish courts are considering referring a 'right to be forgotten' case involving 80 instances to the European Court of Justice.It appears that most EU regulators are sympathetic to the "right to be forgotten" concept. How it would be implemented […]

Google is fined 430,000 Euros for four breaches of copyright by a French court, while the Spanish courts are considering referring a 'right to be forgotten' case involving 80 instances to the European Court of Justice.

It appears that most EU regulators are sympathetic to the "right to be forgotten" concept. How it would be implemented and what the duties and burdens imposed on online publishers and search engines would be is somewhat unclear. That's where it would get messy.

The instance in the Spanish case that has received the most attention involves a plastic surgeon and newspaper article about him being in court for a botched job that apparently was eventually dismissed. His cry for removal is the cause celeb of the movement growing "in parts of Europe to create a "right to be forgotten," which would let individuals excise personal information from the Web on privacy grounds. The EC, as part of its data-protection overhaul, has proposed recognizing such a right. France's Senate has also approved similar proposals, which have yet to be ratified by the National Assembly.

Though freedom-of-expression provisions of Spanish law protect newspapers, legal gazettes and other publishers from government censors, the Spanish data regulator contends the protections don't extend to Internet search engines like Google," the WSJ reported.

If the plastic surgeon was wrongly accused and the article has compromised his ability to make a living, one can understand the frustration and desire to get the article out of Google's index. But there're other ways to address what is essentially an SEO and PR problem.

While the fines in France have their own implications of what Google has to do about policing uploads of video or photography or any form of proprietary media, it's the question of whether people can have historically reported information about them removed from the internet - though in the case of Google it would be removed from the index of published information.

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