Disclosure, Exposure and the ʻRight to be Forgottenʼ after Google Spain: Interrogating Google Search’s Webmaster, End User and Lumen Notification Practices
38 Pages Posted: 7 Jan 2020 Last revised: 5 May 2020
Date Written: December 18, 2019
This paper argues that Google’s essentially blanket and unsafeguarded dissemination to webmasters of URLs deindexed under the Google Spain judgment involves the disclosure of the claimant’s personal data, cannot be justified either on the purported basis of their consent or that this is legally required but instead seriously infringes European data protection standards. Disclosure of this data would only be compatible with the initially contextually sensitive context of collection where it was (i) reasonably necessary and explicitly limited to the purposes of checking the legality of the initial decision and/or bona fide research and (ii) was subject to effective safeguards that prevented any unauthorised repurposing or other use. Strict necessity thresholds would need to apply where disclosure involved special category data or was subject to reasoned objection by a data subject and international transfers would require appropriate safeguards as provided by the European Commission’s standard contractual clauses. Disclosing identifiable data on removals to end users would directly and fundamentally undermine a data subject’s rights and, therefore, ipso facto violate purpose limitation and legality, irrespective of a data subject claims rights in data protection, defamation or civil privacy. The public’s legitimate interests in receiving information on personal data removals should be secured through safeguarded scientific research that the search engines should facilitate and promote.
Keywords: Consent, Data Protection, Defamation, Freedom of Expression, Google, International Data Transfers, Lumen Database, Personal Data, Privacy, Private Information, Purpose Limitation, Recommendation 2018/334, Reputation, Right of Erasure, Right to Object, Scientific Research
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