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European court ruling protects privacy in Google search results - should U.S. follow suit?

by AirTalk®

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Google logo is seen on a wall at the entrance of the Google offices in Brussels on February 5, 2014. GEORGES GOBET/AFP/Getty Images

In a landmark decision for online personal privacy, an E.U. court ruled that Google must remove some links to personal information. The decision followed legal complaints, including one from a Spanish doctor who wanted a link related to a malpractice issue removed from Google’s search results.

The E.U. court is defending the right to be forgotten -- for outdated or irrelevent information to be pulled from search results. Legal analysts have said that the ruling may benefit everyday people, who can more directly influence what results come up when others, including potential employers, Google their name.

This may be especially relevant for younger people, who have grown up with photos and personal information posting online. Public figures may be less impacted by the ruling. Critics of the court’s decision have said that influencing Google’s search results is a form of censorship.

Who should be responsible for regulating personal information online? What can and should be “forgotten”? 


Jack Lerner, Clinical Associate Professor of Law and Director of the USC Intellectual Property and Technology Law Clinic, USC Gould School of Law

James Rule, researcher at the Center for the Study of Law and Society at UC Berkeley, is the author of "Privacy in Peril: How we are Sacrificing a Fundamental Right in Exchange for Security and Convenience."

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