The Data Protection Authority has ruled against an Icelander who wants to evoke his “right to be forgotten” by search engines, despite this being a part of European policy for nearly two years.
The Icelander in question contended that search results which come up from his name reveal news reports that he was given a probationary sentence for a financial crime he committed, and these search results have made it difficult for him to find a job.
Google argued that letting these results stand was in the best interests of the public good.
The Data Protection Authority of Iceland has stood by that argument, saying that news articles may be accessible through a search engine. Freedom of expression must always be balanced by and measured against the right to privacy, they ruled, but access to news stories of this nature are allowed to stand.
The right to be forgotten is a European policy designed to protect the privacy of individuals, and to allow slanderous and harmful material about them to “disappear” from search engine results. Google has reportedly been inundated with right to be forgotten requests, numbering in the hundreds of thousands.