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Google Search and the “Right to Be Forgotten”


On May 13, 2014, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that Google must comply with Spanish attorney Mario Costeja González’ request that it remove links to notices of a 1998 forced sale of real estate he then owned, helping to establish a “right to be forgotten” in regard to Internet searches in the European Union. While some have argued that the decision is unwarranted censorship that threatens freedom of speech and the character of the Internet, I contend that the recognition of a right to be forgotten is an acknowledgment of the tremendous power which Google has in determining how a person is perceived and that the CJEU’s decision is merely a small step in allowing individuals to limit real harms that can occur from what the company chooses to include in the results it returns when a person’s name is used as a search query.

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