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June 26, 2013

Google need not remove personal data says EU court

The search engine company hailed the opinion of the advocate general.

By CBR Staff Writer

Search engine company Google need not remove personal information from its search results, an adviser to the EU’s top court said.

European Court of Justice Advocate General Niilo Jääskinen said that although Google was subject to EU data protection laws, responsibility does not fall on it for content produced by third parties, including newspapers and TV channels.

"Requesting search engine service providers to suppress legitimate and legal information that has entered the public domain would entail an interference with the freedom of expression," the court said in a statement referring to Jääskinen’s opinion.

London-based Field Fisher Waterhouse lawyer, Eduardo Ustaran, said that a search engine was just a tool. "The nature of that information is irrelevant. It is just ones and zeros," he added.

A final judgement on the case is expected before the end of 2013. Although the European Court of Justice is not bound by advocate generals’ opinions, it follows their recommendations in most cases.

The case follows complaint a lodged by a Spanish national that Google should remove an outdated link of his house auction.
Google hailed the opinion of the advocate general.

Google’s head of free expression in Europe, the Middle East and Africa Bill Echikson in a statement said: "This is a good opinion for free expression."

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