European Court Says Google Does Not Have To Remove Search Results

Often, when people find undesirable search results about themselves, they want Google to remove them. On the surface, this is understandable. You found it on Google, so Google should remove it right?

Actually, no. Wrong.

As Google has explained many times in the past, it does not remove content simply because you don’t like it. It only removes content when legally obligated to.

The European Court of Justice has now decided that Google does not have to delete links that damage a person’s reputation. Jo Best at ZDNet runs down the case:

The decision comes after the case of a Spanish man whose property was sold due to non-payment of social security debts — a fact that came up in a newspaper article when the man’s name was Googled 10 years later.

The individual asked Google to remove links to the newspaper article when a search was performed on his name, and filed a complaint with Spain’s data protection watchdog the Agencia Española de Protección de Datos (AEPD). The AEPD upheld the compliant, and said Google should remove the newspaper article from its index.

Google appealed to the Spanish high court, which referred the decision onto the European Court of Justice.

Google has been not only consistent regarding its message about this kind of thing, but it even abides by this code when it finds itself under scrutiny. The subject of search result removal even came up last week as Google discussed its efforts to combat rogue pharmacies. When it comes to organic search results, the company maintains its long-standing policy that it is not Google’s place to determine what content should be censored and what should not.

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