• 06.25.13

Google Doesn’t Have To Delete Damaging Information From Its Search Engine, Says European Court

An advocate general of the European court of justice has decided that firms operating in the European Union must adhere to data protection legislation, but are not obliged to remove personal content produced by others.

Search engines do not have to delete information that is either erroneous or misleading, says an adviser to the European Court of Justice.


The decision is part of a long-running case that started when a Spaniard objected to a newspaper report that highlighted his insolvency and asked Google to remove the link from its search results. Despite the highest court in Spain upholding the man’s complaint, Google challenged the decision, which led to the case then being heard in the ECoJ.

Although the court has yet to announce its verdict. It usually follows its adviser’s lead–in this case, Niilo Jaaskinen, an advocate general of the European Court of justice–and has released a statement.

“Search engine service providers are not responsible, on the basis of the data protection directive, for personal data appearing on Web pages they process.”

In short, Google should be treated under law as a host of information, rather than a publisher.

About the author

My writing career has taken me all round the houses over the past decade and a half--from grumpy teens and hungover rock bands in the U.K., where I was born, via celebrity interviews, health, tech and fashion in Madrid and Paris, before returning to London, where I now live. For the past five years I've been writing about technology and innovation for U.S.