Feeds

Is Google liable for unlawful web graffiti on its walls?

High Court says no, Spanish beaks unsure

Security for virtualized 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. ®

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.