Risk
6/26/2013
07:02 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Google Gets Help In Spanish Privacy Fight

Legal filing argues Europe's right to be forgotten isn't quite a right and doesn't obligate Google to delete data that makes people unhappy.

An expert legal opinion filed with the European Court of Justice on Tuesday argued that Google should not have to remove data from its search index because someone finds it objectionable, a recommendation that places the right to remember over the right to be forgotten, a controversial aspect of a pending legislative update of Europe's 1995 Data Protection Directive.

The European Court of Justice, Europe's high court, has not yet ruled in the case, but the filing, by advocate general Niilo Jääskinen, may increase the odds that Google will ultimately prevail and could help define the parameters of the right to be forgotten, if such a thing is even feasible at a time when national intelligence agencies strive to remember everything.

In 2009, a man who was named in a 1998 print newspaper article as owing a tax debt, and in a subsequent online version, sought to have the publisher of the article remove his name from the online version. The publisher refused, and in 2010 the man asked Google to remove links to the article. Google refused and the man took his case to the Spanish Data Protection Authority.

[ How will the IT sector react to Wednesday's Supreme Court ruling? Read Tech Companies Embrace Marriage Equality. ]

The Spanish agency said the publisher didn't have to remove the article because the information came from a Spanish government ministry and was legally justified. But it decided that Google did have to remove links to the article. Google appealed the ruling to Spain's high court which turned to the European Court of Justice for guidance.

Google's global privacy counsel Peter Fleischer has written several times in recent years about the problems with the right to be forgotten, which he and others have pointed out, puts free expression and history at risk. In 2011, he wrote, "[I]t's wrong to try to use search engines to try to make legal information harder to find. It's wrong to use search engines as an indirect tool of censorship, since European law rightly holds the publisher of material is responsible for its content. Requiring intermediaries like search engines to censor material published by others would have a profound chilling effect on freedom of expression."

Jääskinen has come to the same conclusion, arguing that requiring search engines to suppress legitimate, lawful information would interfere with freedom of expression and would amount to a right to censor.

Even better for any organization that stores data, Jääskinen asserted that there really isn't a right to be forgotten in a broad sense. He noted that the pending legislative update of Europe's 1995 Data Protection Directive, while an important legal innovation, is not yet codified into law and remains the subject of ongoing debate.

The Data Protection Directive, Jääskinen's filing stated, "does not provide for a general right to be forgotten in the sense that a data subject is entitled to restrict or terminate dissemination of personal data that he considers to be harmful or contrary to his interests."

Technology companies may not yet be ready to forget about the right to be forgotten, but whatever form that right eventually takes in European law, it's unlikely to be as sweeping as some feared.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
Partner Perspectives
What's This?
In a digital world inundated with advanced security threats, Intel Security seeks to transform how we live and work to keep our information secure. Through hardware and software development, Intel Security delivers robust solutions that integrate security into every layer of every digital device. In combining the security expertise of McAfee with the innovation, performance, and trust of Intel, this vision becomes a reality.

As we rely on technology to enhance our everyday and business life, we must too consider the security of the intellectual property and confidential data that is housed on these devices. As we increase the number of devices we use, we increase the number of gateways and opportunity for security threats. Intel Security takes the “security connected” approach to ensure that every device is secure, and that all security solutions are seamlessly integrated.
Featured Writers
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading's October Tech Digest
Fast data analysis can stymie attacks and strengthen enterprise security. Does your team have the data smarts?
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-2021
Published: 2014-10-24
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in admincp/apilog.php in vBulletin 4.4.2 and earlier, and 5.0.x through 5.0.5 allows remote authenticated users to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via a crafted XMLRPC API request, as demonstrated using the client name.

CVE-2014-3604
Published: 2014-10-24
Certificates.java in Not Yet Commons SSL before 0.3.15 does not properly verify that the server hostname matches a domain name in the subject's Common Name (CN) field of the X.509 certificate, which allows man-in-the-middle attackers to spoof SSL servers via an arbitrary valid certificate.

CVE-2014-6230
Published: 2014-10-24
WP-Ban plugin before 1.6.4 for WordPress, when running in certain configurations, allows remote attackers to bypass the IP blacklist via a crafted X-Forwarded-For header.

CVE-2014-6251
Published: 2014-10-24
Stack-based buffer overflow in CPUMiner before 2.4.1 allows remote attackers to have an unspecified impact by sending a mining.subscribe response with a large nonce2 length, then triggering the overflow with a mining.notify request.

CVE-2014-7180
Published: 2014-10-24
Electric Cloud ElectricCommander before 4.2.6 and 5.x before 5.0.3 uses world-writable permissions for (1) eccert.pl and (2) ecconfigure.pl, which allows local users to execute arbitrary Perl code by modifying these files.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Follow Dark Reading editors into the field as they talk with noted experts from the security world.