Spaniards fight for the ‘Right to be Forgotten’


SPAIN‘S Data Protection Agency has ordered that Google remove links to material about 90 people from the World Wide Web. These Spanish citizens lay claim to a “Right to be Forgotten” because public information once hard to get is now so easy to find on the Internet.

Amongst them are a plastic surgeon, a prison guard and a high school principal who all want old Internet references, published years or even decades ago, about them wiped away.



Google Inc. and privacy experts have called this case a first of its kind, and have decided to challenge the orders. Five cases have been appealed so far this year to the National Court.

Experts say a victory for the plaintiffs could create a troubling precedent by restricting access to public information.

Google regularly receives pleas asking that it remove links to embarrassing information from its search index or least ensure the material is buried in the back pages of its results. The company almost always refuses in order to preserve the integrity of its index.

The European Commission this year is expected to craft controversial legislation to give people more power to delete personal information they previously posted online.

Many details about the Spaniards taking on Google via the government are shrouded in secrecy to protect the privacy of the plaintiffs.

However, amongst them is plastic surgeon Hugo Guidotti. In Google searches, the first link that pops up is his clinic. But the second takes readers to a 1991 story in El Pais about a woman who sued him for the equivalent of €5m for a breast job that she said went wrong.



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