It looks like Google escaped the legal guillotine in Europe. Recently, an EU judicial official sided with the tech behemoth with regards to personal data in Google’s index. That said, the announcement made clear that U.S.-based businesses with an online presence are bound to stricter EU Internet privacy standards.
For years, Google has been fighting an online privacy legal battle across the pond. Since the European Data Protection Directive addresses online privacy rights more aggressively than United States law, the tech company has dealt with their fair share of litigation in the UK, France, Ireland and Spain – to name a few.
The latest legal scrimmage involves the presence of “personal information” in Google’s massive database. Specifically, it raises the question of whether or not Google has the right to keep sensitive personal information indexed. For example, a man in Spain launched a formal complaint stating Google should remove information about his home foreclosure that was published, per law, on the website of a Spanish newspaper.
But it looks like Advocate General Niilo Jaaskinen, advisor to European Union Court, recommended that Google does not have to delete personal information content from their search index. Jaaskinen’s reasoning was twofold:
- European Union law does not require operators to remove 3rd party content. As such, Google is free from blame when it comes to the presence of personal information indexed in their system.
- Since algorithms do not differentiate between public and personal data, it unreasonable to expect Google to identify and censor sensitive personal information.
Official judgment in the case is expected before the end of the year. But if you look at the history of the governing body, they usually do what the general advocates suggest. As such, Google can safely assume that they will emerge victorious in this online privacy legal battle.
Just because Google won this round, however, does not mean U.S.-based businesses are free from adhering to stricter European online privacy laws. If you conduct business on the Internet, your safest bet is following standards outlined in the UK Cookie law for visitors from the European Union.
If you want to make sure your online business efforts are in compliance with international Internet law standards, contact Kelly Warner Law.