Forcing Europe to Wear the Rose-Colored Google Glass:  The “Right to Be Forgotten” and the Struggle to Manage Compliance Post Google Spain

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The “Right to Be Forgotten” has long been recognized in European law as a means of protecting individuals’ identities from outdated information.  The Court of Justice of the European Union’s ruling in the 2014 Google Spain case has strengthened the “Right to Be Forgotten” considerably, as European citizens can now demand that search engines delete links to embarrassing information about them.  While this “Right” helps people battle the permanence of information on the Internet by allowing them to shape what the public may see, it also censors free speech without proper procedural safeguards, since Google itself handles and decides the link removal requests.  This Note compares this process to the procedural safeguards found in defamation and privacy law in Western democracies, and argues that these safeguards are largely absent from the Google Spain review process.  Instead, this Note argues that independent governmental authorities should make the initial determination about what the public may see on the Internet, and what it may forget.

 

54 Colum. J. Transnat'l L. 296