Diritto & Internet

The Italian Privacy Authority affirms that the right to be forgotten must be weighed against the freedom of the press

Users can not invoke the right to be forgotten for recent events of significant public interest, but are entitled to the amendment of any supplemental texts automatically generated by a search engine which contains misleading information.

The Authority has expressed this ruling and has rejected the appeal of a user who had not obtained de-indexation from Google of a news item concerning a court inquiry in which he was involved. According to the user, the article contained information which was “extremely misleading and grossly prejudicial”, and which therefore could not be connected to him with any justification in Google’s search results.

The Authority rejected the request. The disputed news item in question is in fact a very recent one concerning an important judicial inquiry and reports the facts in compliance with the principle of the essentialness of information.

In this regard, the Authority pointed out that a person who believes himself to be the victim of misleading information about him, can contact the publisher to request rectification and integration of the information contained in the article.

Conversely, with regard to the summary texts automatically generated by Google to integrate search results, known as “snippets”, the Authority has recognized as legitimate requests for elimination of the texts not in line with the narration of the facts reported on the pages of the links to which they refer.

Although excluding “the possibility of editorial intervention by Google”, snippets carrying incomplete data, “effectively constitute processing of personal data and as such must be relevant, correct and not misleading.”

In the case under consideration by the Authority, the claimant had obtained from Mountain View modification of the snippet which connected him to more serious crimes than those for which he was under investigation. Google had in fact complied with the request and proceeded independently to delete the misleading summary generated by their algorithm.

 
 

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Scientific Director
Prof. Avv. Giusella Finocchiaro
Editorial Curator
Dott. Giulia Giapponesi