The European Union’s top court ruled on Thursday that Google must remove search results about people in Europe if they can demonstrate that the information is demonstrably false.
If the individual requesting it can show that the information is “manifestly erroneous,” the European Court of Justice determined that search engines must “dereference information.”
According to the “right to be forgotten” principle, European individuals have the right to request that Google and other search engines remove references to humiliating or out-of-date information about themselves, even if it is accurate.
People in the 27-nation bloc have the right to control what appears when their names are searched online, but stringent data protection laws regularly conflict with the public’s right to information.
In the most recent instance, two managers of an unnamed group of investment companies requested that Google remove search results based on their names linked to publications that criticized the company’s investment strategy.
They said the articles contained exaggerations.
A press summary of the decision stated that Google declined because it was unsure of the accuracy of the articles.
The court disagreed, stating that the search engine must accept the request if someone provides pertinent and convincing evidence demonstrating the “manifest error” of the content.
Google stated that it appreciated the choice.
The company stated in a statement that it had “worked hard since 2014 to implement the right to be forgotten in Europe and to strike a reasonable balance between people’s rights of access to information and privacy.”
“The content at issue has been offline for a long time; the links and thumbnails in question are no longer accessible via the web and image search.”