The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), in its landmark judgement has held that the controversial “right to be forgotten” requests from within the European Union can lead to removal of information only within the EU and does not apply globally.
Initially, in 2016, Google had filed an appeal against the decision of CNIL, French privacy watchdog, which required Google to remove information under the right to be forgotten from search engines globally. The ruling now means that tech companies will have to use geo-blocking to comply with removal requests under the right to be forgotten.
Digital Rights Foundation and 12 other NGOs also joined the petition to argue that a singular law or state should not be able to determine what kind of information is included or excluded in another part of the world as this will become a major threat to freedom of expression, activists or organisations working against human rights violations in their respective countries or even advocating for progressive changes in the society.
The court also recognised concerns about how the right to free speech or expression and the right to be forgotten is not being used in balanced or fair approach in multiple states which has the potential for serious implications on the society.
The court said,
“…it should be emphasised that numerous third States do not recognise the right to de-referencing or have a different approach to that right. Moreover, the right to the protection of personal data is not an absolute right, but must be considered in relation to its function in society and be balanced against other fundamental rights, in accordance with the principle of proportionality… Furthermore, the balance between the right to privacy and the protection of personal data, on the one hand, and the freedom of information of internet users, on the other, is likely to vary significantly around the world.”
The Digital Rights Foundation along with 12 other organizations appeared as petitioners represented by barristers Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, Jude Bunting and Jennifer Robinson of Doughty Street Chambers, along with avocat Thomas Haas.
On this petition, all the petitioners strive to protect basic human rights including the right to freedom of speech.
Published by: Digital Rights Foundation in Blog