[Re: Is the “right to be forgotten” online a real danger to freedom in Europe? yesterday]
The Google “right to be forgotten” judgement is about the protection of personal data on the internet, not the freedom of expression. Google cannot say that its processes are carried out “solely for journalistic purposes”. But journalists clearly can. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has made it clear that the personal data in question, which was held in the online archives of a Spanish newspaper and was irrelevant (but lawful), should stay there. It ruled that Google had to remove this irrelevant personal data from its search results. So the journalistic work and the content of archives were preserved and confirmed by the ECJ. A fair balance must be sought between the legitimate interest of internet users and the citizens’ rights, in particular the right to privacy and personal data. Freedom of expression carries with it responsibilities, and has limits both in the online and offline world. This balance may depend on the nature of the information in question – its sensitivity for the citizens’ private life, and on the interest of the public in having that information.
Mina Andreeva, European Commission spokeswoman for justice, fundamental rights and citizenship
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