The Oblivious Oblivion: A Critique on the EUCJ's Right to Be Forgotten

11 Pages Posted: 26 May 2016

Date Written: November 25, 2015


Since the rather controversial pronouncement by the Court of Justice of the European Union (hereinafter referred to as EUCJ) on the curious case of Mr. Gonzalez and Google, and the right to be “forgotten,” has led to seeing the role of internet search engines in a completely different light. It is observed that the Google/Costeja case refer to a multitude of issues in relation to the Data Protection Directive (hereinafter referred to as the DPD). Firstly, whether Google act in the capacity of a controller under Article 2(b) and (d) of the DPD, secondly, does Google Spain SL is an establishment for the purpose of Article 5 of the DPD – the territorial application and finally whether right to be forgotten is an extension of right to privacy guaranteed by the Charter.

The purpose of this paper is to first critique the characterisation of the said search engine as a controller and the examine alternatives to Court’s approach. The paper will then proceed to examine how the approach taken by Court endorses a form on internet censorship as a means of safeguarding privacy of a data subject. Accordingly, the paper will examine whether the claim to privacy complies with Nissenbaum’s normative framework of contextual integrity and concluding the lapses in the balancing test undertaken by Court which eventually trumped right to privacy over freedom of information.

Keywords: Google Spain, Privacy, Data Protection, Costeja, Contextual Integrity, Right to Be Forgotten

JEL Classification: K00, K39

Suggested Citation

Wickramasinghe, Sanduni and Wickramasinghe, Sanduni, The Oblivious Oblivion: A Critique on the EUCJ's Right to Be Forgotten (November 25, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Independent ( email )

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics