The case underlines the battle between advocates
of free expression and supporters of privacy rights, who say
people should have the "right to be forgotten" meaning that they
should be able to remove their digital traces from the Internet.
The ruling by the Luxembourg-based European Union Court of
Justice (ECJ) came after a Spanish man complained to the Spanish
data protection agency that an auction notice of his repossessed
home on Google's search results infringed his privacy.
The case is one of 180 similar cases in Spain whose complainants
want Google to delete their personal information from the Web.
The company says forcing it to remove such data amounts to
The ECJ said the rights of people whose privacy has been
infringed outweighed the general public interest.
"If it is found, following a request by the data subject, that
the inclusion of those links in the list is, at this point in
time, incompatible with the directive, the links and information
in the list of results must be erased," judges said.
They said people could ask Google to delete sensitive data or go
to a relevant authority if the company fails to comply with
Adopted in 1995, Europe's data protection directive is now
currently being revised to make the rules stricter. Google could
not be immediately reached for comment.
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Adrian Croft)
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