LORDS

The Right to be Forgotten

The House of Lords EU Sub-Committee on Home Affairs, Health and Education conducted an inquiry on the recent judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on the right to be forgotten.

Status: Inquiry concluded and Report published.

Background

On 13 May 2014, the CJEU made a ruling on the applicability of the provisions of the 1995 Data Protection Directive to search engine results.

Key issues

The CJEU adress four key issues in its judgment:

  • the material scope of the Directive, i.e. whether it applies to search engines;
  • the terroritorial scope of the Directive, i.e whether it applies to Google Spain, given that the parent company is based in Silicon Valley, San Francisco;
  • the responsibility of search engine operators; and
  • the concept of the 'right to be forgotten', i.e. the right of an invidual to insist that his or her history be removed from accessibility via a search engine.

The CJEU ruled in its judgment that search engine providers are data controllers in respect of the processing of personal data carried out by the search engine.

The CJEU concluded that web user have the right to directly request from the search engine the deletion of the links to web pages containing information breaching their rights under the Directive, even if the publication of the information on the web pages in question is lawful in itself.

Google has already responded to the ruling by creating a 'right to be forgotten' online search removal request for the deletion of search results. Press reports suggest that over 10,000 requests per day have since been submitted.

News

Publications

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    Glossary

    • Reports and associated evidence - reports and evidence featuring written submissions and corrected oral evidence published at the conclusion of Committee inquiries. Evidence is periodically updated over the course of an inquiry and is not finalised until the relevant Report is published.
    • Uncorrected oral evidence - transcripts of oral evidence not yet approved by the Committee or witnesses.
    • Other oral evidence - corrected transcripts of oral evidence, usually taken for scrutiny purposes or for ad hoc/regular evidence sessions with Ministers.
    • Evidence - written submissions and corrected oral evidence published for scrutiny purposes or for ad hoc/regular evidence sessions with Ministers.
    • Responses to Reports - Government Department and European Commission responses to reports.
    • Call for Evidence - request to submit evidence to a Committee inquiry.
    • Correspondence - correspondence received and sent by the Committee excluding ministerial correspondence.
    • Correspondence with Ministers - Ministerial correspondence received and sent by the Committee.
    • Progress of Scrutiny - records the decisions taken by the EU Committee on European documents that have been deposited in Parliament for scrutiny.

Members Interests

Members' interests in relation to this inquiry

The Members of the Sub-Committees have declared the following interests in relation to this inquiry:

Members are required to register any financial and non-financial interests that a reasonable member of the public might think would influence their actions in Parliament. The full text of the Register is available online: