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EU justice chief says that Google is undermining the right to be forgotten

Firm and critics accused of making ruling 'unworkable'
Mon Aug 18 2014, 16:07
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THE EUROPEAN UNION (EU) Justice Commissioner Martine Reicherts has accused Google and other critics of the 'right to be forgotten' ruling of blurring the issues and overexaggerating its problems in order to make it appear unworkable.

Unworkable is a word that we have come to associate with the European Court of Justice's whiteout ruling on web content, and we have heard it described that way by a number of parties.

However, according to EU Justice Commissioner Martine Reicherts, there is a lot of smack being talked about compliance and it has to stop.

"Just as work on the data protection reform has picked up speed and urgency, detractors are attempting to throw a new spanner in the works. They are trying to use the recent ruling by the European Court of Justice on the right to be forgotten to undermine our reform," she said.

"They have got it wrong. And I will not let them abuse this crucial ruling to stop us from opening the digital single market for our companies and putting in place stronger protection for our citizens."

Reicherts said that opponents, and she named Google explicitly, have forgotten that with data comes responsibility, as opposed to just profit.

"Search engines such as Google and other affected companies complain loudly. But they should remember this: handling citizens' personal data brings huge economic benefits to them," she said. "It also brings responsibility. These are two sides of the same coin, you cannot have one without the other."

She is concerned that the chest beating and complaining will hold back data protection reform in Europe, and that this must not be allowed.

"Those who try to use distorted notions of the right to be forgotten to discredit the reform proposals are playing false. We must not fall for this. Indeed, we must keep working hard to ensure the new rules are adopted as soon as possible," she added.

"Europe needs them urgently to revive economic growth and job creation. And it needs them to make sure that the rights of its citizens are upheld and protected."

We have asked Google if it cares to comment on the speech. µ


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