Right to be Forgotten: Europe's Cutting Edge Weapon to fight Google?

European Public Law: EU eJournal Vol 12, Issue 106

17 Pages Posted: 2 Oct 2015 Last revised: 27 Oct 2015

See all articles by Christopher Lytras

Christopher Lytras

Montanios & Montanios LLC; University of Sussex

Date Written: May 11, 2015


The "right to be forgotten" (RTBF) addresses a new and urgent problem in our modern society as it has become particularly popular after Mayer-Schönberger’s book “Delete” where he discusses the conflict between the fact that the human memory forgets, while the Internet does not and proposes the RTBF, giving an expiration date to the latter’s memory. Friedrich Nietzsche set it perfectly right:

"'I have done that,' says my memory. 'I cannot have done that,' says my pride, and remains inexorable."

Firstly, this paper will be discussing the notorious judgment of European Court of Justice (ECJ) Google Spain, that brought to the legal surface the RTBF, where the court thought that it had a right to "forget" "freedom of expression" from their judgment, as a result placing freedom of expression to the back-sit of the digital age, and the contradicting opinion of the Advocate General (AG) one year before the judgment.

Secondly, I would explain why the Google Spain case has open the flood gates and that the warning of the AG that the search engines will be bombarded by request for deletion from is now the reality. This will be achieved by disagreeing with A. Roughton, who considers in his article that RTBF has not been created by the Google Spain.

Thirdly, I will set out the subsequent development of the recent case law and the upcoming Draft General Data Protection Regulation that show that the world is at the dawn of the new privacy era leaving the freedom of expression to the side.

Fourthly, a proposal/recommendation will be set in order to make the RTBF workable in the modern age and not intervene with the other rights. This will be achieved only be having a high threshold, in order to apply the RTBF.

Fifthly, I will bravely make a correlation of the today’s situation with the RTBF. The author suggests that the recent aggressive stance of the EU against Google explains the actual reason why EU created the RTBF. EU is fighting American companies which have infiltrated the European economy and especially Google . But at the same time EU is sacrificing at the altar freedom of expression to the "god" of privacy in order to fight Google.

Keywords: EU data protection regulation, droit a l'oubli, RTBF, right to be forgotten, Google case, Google Spain, Mario Costeja Gonzalez, Privacy, Freedom of Speech, EU, Europe, social networking, Internet, social media, web browsing, website, computer, security, right to delete, right to oblivion

Suggested Citation

Lytras, Christopher, Right to be Forgotten: Europe's Cutting Edge Weapon to fight Google? (May 11, 2015). European Public Law: EU eJournal Vol 12, Issue 106. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2668479 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2668479

Christopher Lytras (Contact Author)

Montanios & Montanios LLC

Diagoras House, Panteli Katelari 16

University of Sussex ( email )

Sussex House
Brighton, Sussex BNI 9RH
United Kingdom

Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics