Feeds

Is Google liable for unlawful web graffiti on its walls?

High Court says no, Spanish beaks unsure

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Europe's highest court has been asked to make clear whether or not it is Google's responsibility to remove data from its search engine index and news aggregator if it hadn't produced that material itself.

The request from Spanish court, the Audiencia Nacional (in Spanish), to the European Court of Justice came as a top judge in the UK ruled that Google was not responsible for what he described as "internet graffiti" on the company's services.

Madrid's data protection authority received over 100 requests from Spanish citizens who wanted information deleted from Google's search results, prompting Spain's highest court to seek clarity on the matter from the ECJ.

Audiencia Nacional judges also asked the ECJ if complainants would be required to go via a Californian court in order to air their gripes seeing as that's where Google is headquartered.

The company implemented its new privacy policy last week despite protests by a French watchdog on behalf of the Article 29 Working Party, which is an independent data protection advisory body to the EU.

Google had been urged to halt the changes to its terms of service amid concerns over the firm's handling of its users' data and the ramifications of the tweaks for an individual's privacy online.

But, in contrast to Spain's referral to the ECJ, Mr Justice Eady threw out a libel case brought against Google at the UK's High Court late last week.

He declared that Google was "purely [a] passive wall" and said the world's largest search engine had no responsibility for the "graffiti" posted on its blogger.com service.

Put simply, the judge - citing common law - found that defamatory snippets on Google's platform had not been published by the company and Eady thereby ruled that Mountain View was not liable for those remarks.

Removing material and the right to be forgotten

Google has put out carefully-worded statements rejecting the main thrust of the so-called "right to be forgotten" online - a pledge championed by European Commissioner Viviane Reding to give EU citizens the right to erase damaging material published on the internet.

Peter Fleischer, Google's privacy counsel, has labelled the "right to be forgotten" as a "political slogan".

"As this debate unfolds, the lack of clarity is raising false expectations. As people read that there will soon be a legal 'right to be forgotten', they are asking DPAs and search engines to delete third-party content about themselves or links to such content," he said just days after the commissioner tabled her draft data protection bill with the European parliament.

"I regularly hear requests from people to 'remove all references to me, Mrs X, from the internet'. No law can or should provide such a right, and politicians and DPAs should not mislead them to expect it."

Blighty's High Court has agreed with that argument; it's less clear if other parts of Europe - where data protection is much more strongly enforced - will share that view, however. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
EU justice chief blasts Google on 'right to be forgotten'
Don't pretend it's a freedom of speech issue – interim commish
Detroit losing MILLIONS because it buys CHEAP BATTERIES – report
Man at hardware store was right: name brands DO last longer
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
This'll end well: US govt says car-to-car jibber-jabber will SAVE lives
Department of Transportation starts cogs turning for another wireless comms standard
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.