Experts Question ECJ’s Right to be Forgotten Ruling
Earlier this week, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) sided with Google in a court case concerning the European Union’s (EU) “right to be forgotten” privacy legislation that is meant to provide EU citizens with more control over their private information in the digital realm.
French privacy regulator CNIL had filed a lawsuit against Google, arguing that the tech giant should, on a global scale, remove links to websites containing information on EU citizens that may harm their reputation. Google maintained that it only needed to remove links to EU websites and argued that a global implementation of the EU legislation would hurt freedom of speech and could actually empower oppressive governments by letting them control the flow of information on the web. the ECJ agreed with Google’s interpretation of the matter, but some analysts claim that this seriously undermines the “right to be forgotten” law.
According to Simon Migliano of Top10VPN, “Google is normally able to detect visitors from Europe to its global search engines and block them from seeing certain web pages containing sensitive information about individuals from queries made using their names.” However, the ECJ ruling doesn’t seem to take into account VPN and proxy services. As Migliano explains, “anyone connected to a VPN server located outside Europe will evade such detection and be able to view those results regardless of any ‘right to be forgotten’ decision in place. This loophole highlights the significant limitations of geo-restricting contentious web content in this day and age.”