Google in the dock over data-protection rights claims
Search engine appealing settlements enacted by Spanish Data Protection Agency
EL PAÍS - Madrid - 18/01/2011Google is once again in the eye of the data-protection storm. The US internet giant is appealing 75 settlements enacted by the Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD) in the High Court and today Google Spain representatives will face off with the agency in court, where two basic rights will collide: the freedom of expression online and the right to privacy.
The first is Google's own scales of justice while the second is the sword with which the AEPD will aim to beat Google down in a sensitive case for the company, which fears a domino effect. If the High Court rules in favor of the AEPD, it could augur an avalanche of claims.
The AEPD requires Google to exclude from its indexes data that is contained in official bulletins. One of the claims against Google was lodged by a prison worker in 2008, who had been sanctioned in the 1990s, when the state bulletin was distributed solely on paper. The claimant points out that the diffusion of details of a "personal character" on the internet might be of interest to ETA "as prison workers are a target."
Google Spain says that information made available by third parties is public and its elimination a task for others. "European and Spanish law adequately state that whoever publishes material is responsible for its content. To demand that intermediaries censure public material will have a paralyzing effect on freedom of expression without protecting people's privacy," said Google head of communications Peter Barron.
Google in the dock over data-protection rights claims · ELPAÍS.com in English