The story began when the Court of the European Union decided that the data should be kept for future reference. Under the regulations, all websites and other online elements had to keep a copy of the data even if it was deleted or changed online. So what is the right to be forgotten and how does it work in light of EU data protection law?
Things were going well until someone in Spain filed a complaint against the Spanish newspaper for showing it in a bad light. The thing is, this person foreclosed on a loan, and years later this information appeared in the newspaper as a reference (presumably in a press release by a third party). The Spanish court referred the case to the EU court because it believed that such information from the past, which had been fixed long ago, could affect people’s present and future. He also asked to review the law in light of data protection law by the same EU court.
EU Court ruling: right to be forgotten
After brainstorming with Google and Microsoft, the EU court concluded that data that is no longer needed could be deleted – under data protection law. He further concluded that people might opt for images, events, and news to be forgotten after they are no longer relevant.
Simply put, the decision has two main parts:
- The data protection law was to include a clause providing that information should be permanently deleted if it is no longer needed or if the authorities are certain that the information will no longer be necessary for legal proceedings in the future.
- The right to be forgotten has been granted when people can ask search engines to remove references to their information that those requesters believe spoils their image without fail.
The right to be forgotten has important specific clauses. First, if the search engine deletes the information from its servers, the third party hosting the information must also wipe the data from the Internet so that it is not re-indexed by search engines. It also indicates that search engines operating using servers based outside the EU must also comply with the decision in which the complainant resides and is a citizen of the European Union.
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He further adds that each request for oblivion must be examined separately. The forget request should see if the URLs and/or stories requested to be deleted are no longer of public importance. If the applicant has had a criminal past, the records cannot be deleted because people need to know the person, even if the person has made amends. Similarly, suppose the requester had a public life as a celebrity or politician, and the story sought to be deleted relates to that public life. The Data Protection Act will protect it, and the right to be forgotten will not apply here.
How to apply to be forgotten
Currently, Google and Bing offer special forms. A person wishing to remove a piece from the Internet must complete the form and submit it along with the documents (if applicable).
Removing material from search engines is not new. There were already provisions to remove personal information, etc., from search engines. But with the EU decision, the matter must be addressed as a matter of priority, and ALSO, the third party hosting the objectionable content must erase this data from its site(s).
It’s best to apply both Bing and Google when you want to be forgotten, as this will ensure you are forgotten. Using the forms and special methods provided and requested by these search engines also makes it easier to erase data from third-party websites so that they are not indexed again.
- Google form for the right to be forgotten: Click here.
- Bing form to remove content and be forgotten: Click here.
NOTE: In both forms you will need to provide proof of digital ID so they know it is the same person and not an impostor.
Remember that submitting the forms does not guarantee that the information will be deleted. It will be studied by experts who must decide that the information is indeed useless and no longer relevant before it is deleted with a request to erase the content on the third-party sites.
Is the UK still part of EU data protection?
Since January 1, 2021, the United Kingdom has officially left the European Union. Under the EU GDPR, the UK is now considered a “third country”. For this reason, the EU-GDPR is an EU regulation and it no longer applies in the UK.
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What is the difference between the Data Protection Act and the GDPR?
A GDPR law expands the scope of data protection law to take into account online identifier markers, location data and genetic information, among others