The expression "right to be forgotten" has been used to label a broad range of very different legal issues, from privacy claims requesting broadcasters and newspapers to remove news from digital archives, to data protection claims requesting Internet search engines to delist results of queries based on a person's name.
If the idea of a right to be forgotten is not entirely new, the topic came to global importance after a 2014 decision of the Court of Justice of the EU. In Google Spain v. Agencia Española de Protección de Datos & Mario Costeja González, the Court affirmed that search engines should be considered data controllers, as defined by the EU's 1995 Data Protection Directive. As controllers, they were obliged to stop some links from appearing, upon the request of an individual, in the web search results when users query for the individual's name.
The decision said that the results should be removed if "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive in relation to the purposes of the processing" by the intermediary. In contrast, the results should not be delisted if there is a public interest in the access to the information for particular reasons, "such as the role played by the data subject in public life."
Since the CJEU decision, the debate on a right to be forgotten spread throughout the world, leading to decisions that are, both literally and figuratively, all over the map. The delisting procedures followed by intermediaries have also raised important concerns about freedom of expression. More recently, the transparency and procedural safeguards for affected webmasters and publishers (see Mexico’s appellate ruling involving Fortuna magazine, and the Spanish DPA’s ruling against Google), and the geographical scope of content delisting (see the CNIL vs. Google France case) have been at the center of the debate.
Below, you can find the entries tagged as relevant to the Right to Be Forgotten in the WILMap database. Please let us know if you identify any important development that should be included.