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Spanish Company Tests 'Right To Be Forgotten' Against Google 200

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the with-a-side-of-bacon dept.
suraj.sun writes with an excerpt from an article over at Ars Technica: "Los Alfaques, a bucolic campground near the Spanish town of Tarragona, isn't happy with Google. That's because searches for 'camping Alfaques' bring up horrific images of charred human flesh — not good for business when you're trying to sell people on the idea of relaxation. The campground believes it has the right to demand that Google stop showing 'negative' links, even though the links aren't mistakes at all. Are such lawsuits an aberration, or the future of Europe's Internet experience in the wake of its new 'right to be forgotten' proposals? Legal scholars like Jeffrey Rosen remain skeptical that such a right won't lead to all sorts of problems for free expression. But in Spain, the debate continues. Last week, Los Alfaques lost its case — but only because it needed to sue (U.S.-based) Google directly. Mario Gianni, the owner of Los Alfaques, is currently deciding whether such a suit is worth pursuing."
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Spanish Company Tests 'Right To Be Forgotten' Against Google

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  • by Ambvai (1106941) on Monday February 27, 2012 @10:46PM (#39181861)

    The 'right to be forgotten' sounds fine-- if the campground wishes to remove all mentions of itself, then by all means, they can. But they can't pick and choose what gets eliminated based on their own criteria of 'good' and 'bad'.

    It rather reminds me of that Belgian newspaper who brought suit against Google to stop linking to any of their pages... and complained when Google did that and their traffic dropped through the floor. (Though they referred to it as some kind of hostile retaliation...)

  • by Capsaicin (412918) * on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @01:21AM (#39182507)

    It was only dismissed because they sued the wrong entity (a Spanish Google subsidiary rather than Google itself). The dismissal says nothing about the merits of the case, and it can be refiled against Google.

    IAAL, not one who understands European, but issues of jurisdictional standing etc are very much part of what I would consider the merits of the case.

    That Google's Spanish subsidiary could not be sued (apparently because it did not run the search engine, but only engaged in marketing) may turn out to be significant. Assuming Google has no other corporate presence in Spain, would the court enforce the judgment, nonetheless, against this subsidiary?! If not, and assuming a US court would not enforce such a judgment, that would rather limit the effect of this law as regards extra-national search engines, even where they have a Spanish corporate presence.

  • by mwvdlee (775178) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @01:28AM (#39182537) Homepage

    OTOH, the campground owner does probably have the right to sue the petrochemical company for financial compensation, and likely already has.
    Why should compensation for damages be more than actual damages?

  • by Omestes (471991) <omestes@g[ ] ['mai' in gap]> on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @02:16AM (#39182695) Homepage Journal

    A bigger question, though, is which is more important or relevant? Your vacation to Tienanmen Square, or the events that happened there? Also, from a search engine's perspective, which is more relevant to more searchers? Are more people trying to look up historic events, or planning a trip?

    My snarky answer (its late) is; your vacation plans are pretty much completely irrelevant next to the events in historical Nuremberg. Those events (the laws, and the later trials) effected far more of the world than your vacation ever will, and are vastly more important than you finding cheap lodging without having to type in a couple extra words into a search. Ditto for Tienanmen Square.

    Also, while I'm on the snark train, I don't feel one small shred of pity for the director of this camp ground. Sure, it sucks to be him, but that is life. Google generally ranks things according to relevance, and I'm guessing there is more interest (and hence more Page Rank) in the disaster than in his little camp ground. Nothing wrong with that. Google doesn't exist to ensure this guy stays in business or pulls a profit, nor should they.

"Our reruns are better than theirs." -- Nick at Nite