Europe’s highest court just gave ordinary people the right to challenge Google over “irrelevant” or outdated search results. The court ruled today that individuals could ask Google to remove such search results associated with someone's name.
The case stems from a request by a Spanish citizen to remove information about the repossession of his home 16 years ago. The man successfully argued before the European Court of Justice (ECJ) that the outdated search results infringed on his right to privacy.
The ECJ ruled that individuals have the right to approach search companies like Google directly to request removal of information and, when the request is denied, "bring the matter before the competent authorities" to obtain, under certain conditions, the removal of questionable links from the list of search results.
If that wasn’t bad enough for search engine operators, the court also ruled that operators are responsible for any personal data it processes, even if that data appears on web pages published by third parties. In short, this means search engine operators are responsible for any information generated about individuals through search.