Spain’s Data Protection Agency has ordered Google to delete personal information regarding approximately 90 individuals from Google’s search engine indexes. These individuals filed formal complaints with the Data Protection Agency alleging that certain personal information, such as decades old arrest records and the current address of a domestic violence victim, should not be accessible through the Internet. In ordering Google to delete information, the Data Protection Agency indicated that every individual has the “right to be forgotten” and have certain information deleted from the Internet.
The Agency and Google are now engaged in a lawsuit regarding whether Google can be required to remove certain information from its search indexes. Privacy experts have expressed concern that requiring search engines to delete certain personal information could restrict access to public information. Regardless of the outcome, however, the European Union is expected to draft legislation later this year that could include a “right to be forgotten” provision and allow individuals to have certain information deleted from the search indexes or websites.