Google’s Internet gallop slowed a bit Tuesday with a European high court ruling on citizens’ privacy rights.
Google has become a verb in everyday lingo with people doing Internet searches for the lowdown on relatives, dates, businesses, jobs and job applicants. But the European Court of Justice decided that what anyone might post on the Internet about anyone or anything shouldn’t stay there forever.
The ruling resulted from a Spanish man who was upset that searches of his name resulted in a 1998 tax problem surfacing, The Washington Post reports. In weighing the public’s right to know against a citizen’s right to privacy, the European high court decided in favor of a person’s right to leave behind unwanted matters of personal history.
In Europe, it’s know as “the right to be forgotten.” That could have privacy implications in the United States.
The rules are more lax, and certainly the National Security Agency with its bulk data collection on citizens has expanded the boundaries. But the presumption of openness certainly isn’t a given anymore.
It could affect other Internet companies such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. More immediately, the ruling will mandate that Google set up extensive new procedures to receive, evaluate and execute requests to eliminate things posted on the Internet.