The case stretches back to 2009 when a Spanish man complained about outdated information on his personal finances that could still be found in Google search results. The results pointed to online reports of how his home had been repossessed due to his situatiuon.
He felt that since his situation has now changed, there was no legitimate reason for the link to still be in Google's search index. His first attempt to get the original article removed failed, as it was found to be "in the public interest."
He then took his case to the Spanish Data Commissioner who upheld the previous decision, prompting the man to seek help from the European Court of Justice.
Yesterday, ECJ Advocate General Niilo Jääskinen strongly backed Google in an issued opinion.
"Requesting search engine service providers to suppress legitimate and legal information that has entered the public domain would entail an interference with the freedom of expression," the Advocate General said. "It would amount to censorship."
The full court still has to make a final ruling on the case, but the opinion of the Advocate General has boosted Google's confidence that it will not have to alter its search results.
"We're encouraged because the case is key to free expression online. Advocate General Niilo Jääskinen argues publishers are responsible for the information they put online," William Echikson, Head of Free Expression, Europe, Middle East and Africa, at Google, said.
"Search engines have no control over the information posted by others. They just point to it."
Written by: James Delahunty @ 26 Jun 2013 5:07