Google Inc. faces privacy investigations around the world as it adds on services and steps up competition with Facebook Inc. for users and advertisers. Bloomberg News reports that Google Inc. may be ordered to remove personal information from its search engine after the European Union’s top court paved the way for citizens to have a “right to be forgotten.”
New privacy rights, including data subject’s “right of portability” and the “right to be forgotten”, will be established in the EU. The “right of portability” will allow a transfer of all data from one provider to another upon request, for example transfer of a social media profile or email, whereas the “right to be forgotten” will allow people to wipe their history clean.
The EU Court of Justice has said in a statement on a ruling according to Bloomberg News that, “Links and information in the list of results must be erased” where a person’s fundamental rights are harmed by the posting of personal information online and where there is no public interest in the publishing of the information.
The director of information security at Ernst & Young LLP in London, Mark Brown, said that this is “a very loud wake-up call” to businesses that gather and store consumer data. Brown said that according to a report by Bloomberg News, many companies might be “quaking in their boots at the thought of responding to a consumer ’right to be forgotten’ request” as they may not know what data they are holding.
Al Verney, a spokesman for the company in Brussels said that Google felt the decision was “disappointing” for search engines and for online publishers. A spokeswoman for the commission, Mina Andreeva, said that regulators welcomed the court’s finding that EU data-protection law applies to Google and other search engines that are operating in Europe.
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