Brussels – The EU’s highest court has issued a ruling Tuesday on a case that has been dubbed the “right to be forgotten” on the Internet. The ruling means people can demand links and information leading to links be taken down by search engines and other companies that provide online links.
The Computer & Communications Industry Association represents a range of technology companies from telecommunications to Internet services and has advocated for decades against Internet censorship. The following statement can be attributed to CCIA Vice President James Waterworth who leads the Brussels office:
“This ruling opens the door to large scale private censorship in Europe. It may open the floodgates for tens of thousands of requests to have legal, publicly available information about Europeans taken out of a search index or links removed from websites. A decision about what is and is not in the public interest should be taken by qualified judges, not private censorship departments, which this ruling requires.”
“This will likely affect all companies providing links on the Internet.”
“This judgment goes beyond what we had before. If someone is libeled or defamed, they currently have right to have information taken down. What the court is saying is there is one standard for newspapers and another for Internet companies that provide links to information – including, for example, the original newspaper article.”
“While the ruling likely means to offer protections, our concern is it could also be misused by politicians or others with something to hide who could demand to have information taken down.”